My journey in a new direction

Ray Bradbury and His Joy of writing

Posted by BarbaraZ on January 20, 2013

I had the opportunity to hear him speak many years ago as a part of a class I was taking. His message to us was to ‘believe’, to never lose sight of the child that exists in all of us. His joy of writing came through his words, expression and manner of speaking. He spoke of taking flight within one’s life, exploring new ‘worlds’, not letting your life to become stagnant. He left a strong impression on me, not just about writing, but about living life.

His main points during the talk included:

  • Keeping Joy of life alive.
  • Never losing sight of the child within you.
  • Believing in yourself
  • Look always to the future
  •  Be free, not bound by others beliefs and thoughts

I did two drawings. One was the quick non-stop pen drawing below. It was done at the end of the lecture, as we were in line to go up and meet him. Along the side of the drawing I wrote the words he spoke that touched me the most.  I couldn’t afford to purchase a book for him to autograph, so when I reached him, I nervously handed him the quick sketch. He looked up at me… he looked at the sketch… then proceeded to give me an A+ as well as his autograph.

My sketch that was done as I was waiting in line to meet him.

My sketch that was done in line while waiting to meet him.

My art, drawing and photography, has been of the visual mode. I have done woodcarving, clay sculpture, and photography. The method of expression is different. With the carving and clay sculpture, it took many steps to reach an expression presented through a single form. With photography, one click creates a single image. Of course, with digital software of today, more manipulation can be done, but it is still a single image that speaks for the artist.

With writing, it is the combining of many words in a unique manner that becomes a special expression. A mood, personalities, plot, environment and circumstances are combined to take the reader on a journey.

“And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right. We must earn life once it has been awarded us. Life asks for rewards back because it has favored us with animation. So while our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all.”

For Bradbury, writing was something he had to do daily. For him, an hour of writing was like a tonic. “Not to write, for many of us, is to die.” “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. Now it’s your turn. Jump!” He said he wrote at least a thousand words a day ‘from the age of 12 on.’

He started to make lists. He first made lists of his loves and hates. Later he began to make lists of titles and nouns. He called these lists the provocations that make it possible for his better work to surface. Down the road came lists that dealt with the night, nightmares, darkness and objects in attics. He states:

Where am I leading you? Well, if you are a writer, or would hope to be one, similar lists, dredged out of the lopside of your brain, might well help you discover you, even as I flopped around and finally found me.

He would choose a noun and start a prosy poem and it would eventually turn into a story! Characters would appear and he would let them finish the rest of the tale for him. He explored the attics of his grandparents as well as their basements. Death, fear, fantasy, graveyards all attracted him. Nouns relating to these subjects started him rapidly writing. Carnivals and his experiences with them were another source of great inspiration for him.

There is so much that I read in the Zen in the Art of Writing that I could go on and on. If you have a chance, pick it up. His vocabulary is so full of description, his thoughts run from one subject to another… showing the relation of thought and feelings. Most of all is the excitement he felt when putting words together to create his vision from within.

I believe one thing holds it all together. Everything I’ve ever done was done with excitement, because I wanted to do it, because I loved doing it.

Afterwards we all had to write a report on his lecture, using any format we wished. I did mine through a colored pencil drawing on plain newsprint, the image shown here. Again you can see the words that reached out to me.

The words I wrote at the bottom say:

In order to motivate your listeners, you the teacher must renew yourself. You must stay in touch with that inner you– the child.  Believe in yourself and enjoy what you do.  Be Free, open to change. Be Joyous!

This was my final report after attending the lecture by Ray Bradbury

This was my final report after attending the lecture by Ray Bradbury

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4 Responses to “Ray Bradbury and His Joy of writing”

  1. Harvee said

    Amazing! What a picture and signature to treasure, Barb! I do love his stories!

    • BarbaraZ said

      Thank you for your comment, Harvee. It was indeed a joy to listen to his wisdom. His zest for life was so apparent.

  2. fsmum said

    I hadn’t heard of him or if I have, I have forgotten! Thanks for sharing this. Wise words in there.

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