6 Jun 2012

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

My small tribute to one of the truly great ones: Ray Bradbury 1920-2012

I have a copy of Ray Bradburys essays on writing in my book shelf: Zen in the Art of Writing (1990). When I despair of writing, tired of trying to come up with something new, fed up with looking for the «good idea», I pull it out. It's a small book, just 174 pages, loaded with inspiration.

In his essays he writes stuff like this: Your Thing at the top of your stairs in your own private night ... may well come down.

The first of his books that I read was The Illustrated man. The guy who slept beside a fire, covered in tattoos that lived their own lives and told stories (nobody with a tattooed body these days, come even close to beeing that interesting). Fahrenheit 451 was another amazing read. What book would I choose to memorize if I lived in a society that burned books? (For me it was Jane Eyre then and now).

I found his books at my local library where I went almost every day and read at least one book before going home, loaded with ten others.

I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”

Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't "try" to do things. You simply "must" do things.”

On e-books:
I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can't really put a book on the Internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the Net, and I said, 'If you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell, then we'll talk.' All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don't want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket.” Fahrenheit 451

I learned from him that if I wanted to be a writer – and I did – I had to write every day – I was already doing that back then and I do it today: Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and every other «Eve» there is. If I don't write my pages every day, I get restless and snap at people. Usually someone comes and stick a notebook and a pen under my nose, or gently pushes me into the office, turns on the computer and quietly close the door behind them. They may also bring coffee ...

If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. 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.”

I have to read his books again now.

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