Zest and Gusto

Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Not to write, for many of us, is to die.” ~ Ray Bradbury

I am not really a science fiction fan, but Ray Bradbury was not just a science fiction writer. I am not proud of the fact that I am not a science fiction fan; it is just that my imagination is sometimes not pliable enough to stretch that far.  I mourn the loss this week of this prolific writer, whom I laud as a brave and creative soul.

In my much read paperback copy of  Bradbury’s “Zen in the Art of Writing”, he stated, “I have learned, on my journeys, that if I let a day go by without writing, I grow uneasy. Two days and I am in tremor. Three and I suspect lunacy. Four and I might as well be a hog, suffering the flux in a wallow. An hour’s writing is tonic. I’m on my feet, running in circles, and yelling for a clean pair of spats.”

The first chapter in his book is called the “Joy of Writing” and the first words in that first chapter are these: “Zest. Gusto. How rarely one hears these words used. How rarely do we see people living, or for that matter, creating by them.” His advice to writers—look to your zest, see to your gusto.

His book was fifty years in the making, his advice both wise and practical. He says that he is no “yogi, feeding on kumquats, grapenuts and almonds…beneath a banyan tree”, but presents the truths that worked for him. As a writer, I am naturally drawn to his book on writing, his advice a feast, his prose dessert for the soul.

In memory of Bradbury, pick up a book or two of his and relish his zest, enjoy his gusto. I have a friend who reads “Dandelion Wine” as a spring ritual every April. I may just follow suit.

Mr. Bradbury, I say thank you.  And good night.

Photo of Ray Bradbury.

Photo of Ray Bradbury. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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35 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. ahhh the nimble imagination of the sci-fi fan. I’ve not ready Dandelion Wine, but I’ve made many a batch each spring…thanks for the heads up. I’ll search it out at the library next visit.

  2. the library is a wonderful place–glad I introduced you to a book that you can match to your drink

  3. Mr. Bradbury wrote Ferenheit 451 …… Written in the 50’s…..a book that left an indelible mark in my memory…RIP Ray. Your post is a great tribute to quite an imagination.

  4. I read it in high school – it was unsettling was it not?

  5. I think my library just expanded…
    Thanks for pointing me in another direction I haven’t read…
    Take Care…

    • So glad I was of some service – both books are great

      • You were!
        though I have to build more shelves now since I have been blogging, so many books I need!
        Thanks again!
        Take Care

  6. Reblogged this on booksfromthelaundryroom and commented:
    Author, Ray Bradbury, passed away earlier this week…

  7. Sad news. I do admit, I haven’t read any of his books yet – though he has been on my ‘book list’ for years. This is the inspiration to head to the library! I love the quotes on zest and gusto, so perfect!

  8. Several Bradbury short stories were in the Literature book for sophomores at the high school where I taught. I was delighted to be reintroduced to them in my 40’s. They also caught the imagination of sophomore classes of today. Ray Bradbury’s works reinforced in me the idea that teenagers in the 21st century are not that much different from teenagers in the 1950’s!

    • very astute observation on your part – remember what they say – “…everything stays the same”

  9. […] Zest and Gusto (onthehomefrontandbeyond.wordpress.com) […]

  10. Great review! Thanks – I’ve never read any of his books so must look into this some time. By the way, I don’t seem to be getting mails for your posts, not sure why?

  11. Ah, just saw that I was following but not by email, Have sorted it out now I think!

  12. look to your zest, see to your gusto – thank you so much for this quote….inspiring!

  13. This does look like one to get. Thank you.

  14. Great review and wonderful to hear of a couple of other titles to consider, I loved what he says about writing and life, quoted in the article by Margaret Atwood “I realise what a trial I must have been to my friends and relatives. It was one frenzy after one enthusiasm after one hysteria after another. I was always yelling and running somewhere, because I was afraid life was going to be over that very afternoon.”

  15. A fitting tribute, full of zest and gusto!

  16. thank you – then I got my message across!

  17. I’m afraid I’m not a big fan of science fiction either, but a few. However, the book you just described does sound interesting. Great post!

    • Thank you and welcome to my blog– I just found you today on another person’s blog

      • I’m glad you like it. I will hopefully have some new posts coming soon. 🙂 Looking forward to more of your posts!

  18. I was not familiar with Bradbury or his works when I heard of the tragedy, but I still felt very crestfallen when I heard that such a beloved talented author had died. You have written such a beautiful, heart-felt tribute here! I love it! It makes me even more eager to learn more about Bradbury, and I am DEFINITELY going to read Dandelion Wine now! =)

    • – when I was in high school we had to read Farenheit 451 – I think I was in grade 10–it was decades later that I found Dandelion Wine and Zen in the Art of Writing – glad you enjoyed my tribute

  19. Wonderful tribute LouAnn … and thanks for the recommendation.

  20. 🙂 happy to be of service

  21. As a teenager, my experience of the opening chapter of Dandelion Wine was the first push in awakening to present moment awareness. Thanks for the reminder revisit this amazing author in my adulthood.

    • I am glad it brought back a good memory – present moment awareness is an important concept

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