Monday, January 28, 2008

Zen in the Art of Writing


If there’s a better book on the craft than Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury, I don’t know what it is. You don’t have to be a Bradbury fan to savor this fantastic book on how to jangle your muse out of lethargy. Most writers I know, regardless of what genre they work in, have read this book numerous times. It energizes one to the point that simply sitting at the keyboard gets one excited, and hence the title.

And while we’re on the subject of Bradbury, I think people are mistaken when they regard him as only a sci-fi writer. His novels Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes are lyrical and beautifully written. They’re not “space tales”; rather, they delve into issues of fear, courage, love, the human heart, and childhood.

Not many people realize how versatile Bradbury has been during his career. He did much screenwriting for television and wrote the screenplay for the original Hollywood production of Moby Dick. He started writing it while in a taxi in London, one of the great stories in Zen in the Art of Writing.

Picture: Public Domain

9 comments:

Sarah Hina said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Billy! I've been feeling that lethargy lately, and need a shot in the arm. :)

(I'm also embarrassed to admit that I've never read any Bradbury. Shhh...don't tell anyone. ;) )

Lane said...

You've sold it and I'm off to order it now. Feeling in the need of something inspirational. Thanks!

Billy said...

Sarah, your secret is safe with me :)

Lane, you're welcome! I've never met anyone who didn't like it. I hear he expanded the book a few years back.

Julie said...

Should be easy to pick up here in one of the major outlets - sounds as if it would be a useful point of reference.

Billy said...

Julie, I think there's something in it for everyone. I realized after reading this book that writers can take themselves far too seriously and that when one gets "stuck" that there's a different mindset to try. Grist for the mill.

writtenwyrdd said...

I love that old typewriter.

I haven't experienced that particular book Billy, but yesterday Charles Gramlich gave it a low grade in his post on books on writing. Obviously, tastes differ. I think I'll have to check it out just to read his viewpoints on various things-- all in the interest of learnign a bit more about the genre's beginnings.

Billy said...

Written--yes it is a cool typewriter, isn't it LOL.

Lane said...

Got the book yesterday morning and it was read by lunchtime. Inspiring? You bet.

'Work.
Relaxation
Don't think!'

'Tell the truth'. How simple but great is that?

Thanks for the recommendation:-)

Billy said...

Lane, so glad you love the book. People don't get the "don't think" part, but to me it makes a lot of sense. Now stop thinking and write -:)