Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012
The news this morning felt heavy on my heart. Via Twitter, I learned that author Ray Bradbury had passed away at the age of 91.
91 very productive years is one hell of a good life.
Even though I never met Mr. Bradbury in person (The Good Man did) I consider him to be an essential part of my own writing life.
Fifteen years ago I took my first few fitful steps into writing a full length novel. It was an effort that far transcended any type of writing or story crafting I’d ever done. I was tortured by demons, a flighty muse and painful, quavering self doubt. About halfway through the work, just attempting to put words on a page became massively frustrating.
Looking for inspiration, I went to my local library to see what was what. While prowling the aisles, my eyes traveled across a book title, “Zen in the Art of Writing.”
I read Mr. Bradbury’s essays on the art and magic of writing cover to cover and quite literally cried my eyes out the whole way.
Because his book unlocked something inside of me.
Something that will never be locked away again.
For that, I owe Ray Bradbury a deep debt of gratitude. He saved my (writing) life.
A few favorite quotes:
Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together.
My stories run up and bite me on the leg – I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off.
I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love remake a world.
Ray Bradbury in 1984. Photograph: Sophie Bassouls/Sygma/Corbis
Image from The Guardian and used here under Fair Use.