“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.