Thoughts and Inspiration for Creative Writers

-from Chrysalis Editorial

Remembering Ray Bradbury

Posted on | July 12, 2012 | No Comments

We know how fresh and original is each man, even the slowest and dullest. If we come at him right, talk him along, and give him his head, and at last say, What do you want?…every man will speak his dream. And when a man talks from his heart, in his moment of truth, he speaks poetry.

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

 

 

I don’t know how many of you out there have read Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing but if you haven’t, you absolutely must pick up a copy. I’m rereading mine right now and it never ceases to both touch and inspire me.

Throughout the book, Bradbury discusses these primary writing necessities: zest/excitement, honesty/gusto, and a disregard of finances. He explains that in order to nourish one’s Muse, in order to fully utilize our rich and original storehouses of information, ideas, and word associations, we mustn’t allow ourselves to be silenced or closed off to certain topics simply because others laugh or judge them to be un-publishable.

Bradbury lived this belief, writing about everything from dark circus rides to dinosaurs (and then a few more dinosaurs) though these were not always the most lucrative stories he could have written (thank goodness for Weird Tales!).

Meditating on this advice and on his focus upon self-discovery through honesty in writing, an honesty that cannot come from tailoring every thought and idea toward the desires of a magazine or book publisher, I have come to wonder:

How can we stretch our moments of truth into whole stories of truth? What does it mean to discover or unveil truths in works of fiction? How can we celebrate the freshness and originality of each person, as Bradbury wrote, while maintaining the sadism Kurt Vonnegut said was necessary for every fiction writer to have when approaching characters, plots, and conflicts? And, of course, how can I survive financially just on my writing, get my writing published, without selling my Muse down the river?

What do you think? Have you ever felt as though you were being forced to tell a story a certain way or to not tell a certain story at all? Or have you ever written a story that jolted you sitting back in your desk chair in awe of your own rush of artistic, beautiful (perhaps even painful) honesty? That’s happened to me a few times, and what a rush, what a thrill! It’s one of the reasons I’ll always go back for more, go back and write again, listen to the spirit of Ray Bradbury whispering in my ear.

Contributed by K.C. Mead, Editorial Assistant, Chrysalis Editorial

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