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Zen in the Art of Writing

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"Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a land mine. The land mine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together. Now, it's your turn. Jump!" Zest. Gusto. Curiosity. These are the qualities every writer must have, as well as a spirit of adventure. In this exuberant book, the incomparable Ray Bradbury shares the wisdom, experie "Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a land mine. The land mine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together. Now, it's your turn. Jump!" Zest. Gusto. Curiosity. These are the qualities every writer must have, as well as a spirit of adventure. In this exuberant book, the incomparable Ray Bradbury shares the wisdom, experience, and excitement of a lifetime of writing. Here are practical tips on the art of writing from a master of the craft—everything from finding original ideas to developing your own voice and style—as well as the inside story of Bradbury's own remarkable career as a prolific author of novels, stories, poems, films, and plays. Zen in the Art of Writing is more than just a how-to manual for the would-be writer: it is a celebration of the act of writing itself that will delight, impassion, and inspire the writer in you. Bradbury encourages us to follow the unique path of our instincts and enthusiasms to the place where our inner genius dwells, and he shows that success as a writer depends on how well you know one subject: your own life.


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"Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a land mine. The land mine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together. Now, it's your turn. Jump!" Zest. Gusto. Curiosity. These are the qualities every writer must have, as well as a spirit of adventure. In this exuberant book, the incomparable Ray Bradbury shares the wisdom, experie "Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a land mine. The land mine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together. Now, it's your turn. Jump!" Zest. Gusto. Curiosity. These are the qualities every writer must have, as well as a spirit of adventure. In this exuberant book, the incomparable Ray Bradbury shares the wisdom, experience, and excitement of a lifetime of writing. Here are practical tips on the art of writing from a master of the craft—everything from finding original ideas to developing your own voice and style—as well as the inside story of Bradbury's own remarkable career as a prolific author of novels, stories, poems, films, and plays. Zen in the Art of Writing is more than just a how-to manual for the would-be writer: it is a celebration of the act of writing itself that will delight, impassion, and inspire the writer in you. Bradbury encourages us to follow the unique path of our instincts and enthusiasms to the place where our inner genius dwells, and he shows that success as a writer depends on how well you know one subject: your own life.

30 review for Zen in the Art of Writing

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity is a collection of essays by Ray Bradbury and published in 1990. The unifying theme is Bradbury's love for writing. Essays included are: The Joy of Writing (1973) Run Fast, Stand Still, Or, The Thing At the Top of the Stairs, Or, New Ghosts From Old Minds (1986) How To Keep and Feed a Muse (1961) Drunk, and in Charge of a Bicycle (1980) Investing Dimes: Fahrenheit 451 (1982) Just This Side of Byzantium: Dandelion Win Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity is a collection of essays by Ray Bradbury and published in 1990. The unifying theme is Bradbury's love for writing. Essays included are: The Joy of Writing (1973) Run Fast, Stand Still, Or, The Thing At the Top of the Stairs, Or, New Ghosts From Old Minds (1986) How To Keep and Feed a Muse (1961) Drunk, and in Charge of a Bicycle (1980) Investing Dimes: Fahrenheit 451 (1982) Just This Side of Byzantium: Dandelion Wine (1974) The Long Road to Mars (1990) On The Shoulders of Giants (1980) The Secret Mind (1965) Shooting Haiku in a Barrel (1982) Zen in the Art of Writing (1973) ...On Creativity (No Date Given) This book attempts to give creative ideas and inspiration to writers. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هشتم ژانویه ماه سال 2017میلادی عنوان: ذن در هنر نویسندگی؛ ری بردبری؛ مترجم: پرویز دوایی (دوائی)؛ تهران، موسسه فرهنگی هنری جهان کتاب، 1389 در 110ص؛ شابک9789642533602؛ موضوع: ذن؛ خلاقیت از نویسنگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م ری بردبری: شاعر «آمریکایی»، و نویسنده ی گونه‌ های «خیال‌پردازی»، «وحشت»، و »علمی تخیلی» بودند؛ «بردبری» را در کشور ما، بیشتر با اثر نامدارش «فارنهایت 451»، می‌شناسند؛ اثر نامدار دیگر ایشان: «حکایت‌های مریخ» است، «ذن در هنر نویسندگی»، از نوشتن و ریزه کاریهایش میگوید، نسخه ی فارسی کتاب در هشت فصل است، و در یکصد و ده صفحه: «کودک درونم»؛ «رمان دوپولی نسخه ای برای زیستن»؛ «نوشتن ...»؛ «نشاط نوشتن»؛ «ذن در هنر نویسندگی»؛ «اندر آداب نگهداری از فرشته الهام»؛ «بر دوش غولها»؛ و «شراب قاصدک»؛ نقل از همین کتاب: - البته که هنوز غم و حسرت (نوستالژی) بچگیهایم را دارم! همچه که شروع به بزرگ شدن کردی با مسائلی روبرو میشوی که از عهده شان برنمیآیی؛ ( صفحه 10)؛ در این دنیا دو تا حرفه ی شریف هست: پزشکی و نویسندگی؛ پزشک تن را درمان میکند و نویسنده جان را؛ ( صفحه 11)؛ آدم برای پول یا شهرت نمینویسد؛ مینویسد تا زنده بماند؛ (صفحه 11)؛ پایان نقل تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 15/03/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    WHOOP! POW! Ray Bradbury's book on writing is BAMMO! The man's enthusiasm leaps off the page, and if nothing else, that exuberance will carry you with a full head of steam straight from this book and into your own book. Reading Zen in the Art of Writing is like having the best kind of encouraging friend pat you on the back while shouting "YOU CAN DO IT!!!" Although some of his ideas and style is dated, there's still a great deal to be absorbed herein, after all, he is one of the best American wr WHOOP! POW! Ray Bradbury's book on writing is BAMMO! The man's enthusiasm leaps off the page, and if nothing else, that exuberance will carry you with a full head of steam straight from this book and into your own book. Reading Zen in the Art of Writing is like having the best kind of encouraging friend pat you on the back while shouting "YOU CAN DO IT!!!" Although some of his ideas and style is dated, there's still a great deal to be absorbed herein, after all, he is one of the best American writers of the past century. Keep at it and write with the electricity that runs through you, that seems to be the words of wisdom Bradbury wants you to take away from Zen in the Art of Writing, a title that made me a reluctant reader. The application of zen, or maybe I mean its popularized conception, to the mechanics of writing had me worrying that it would be too much about spiritualism (I know, I know...) or that the approach to the craft would be meditative in technique. The only thing Bradbury wants you, the writer to meditate about is how best to get off your ass, stay off your ass, and keep on writing. Now stop reading reviews and get to it!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Orey

    Read this if you're a huge Bradbury fan and want to read more about him and the famous things he wrote. It's not great if you're looking for practical information for aspiring writers or advanced tools for writers who want to improve their craft. I'm a Bradbury fan, so I liked the book. But overall, it felt pretty out of touch for aspiring writers today. I guess it's valuable as a statement of how things used to be in the writers market? In terms of writing advice, it kind of boils down to "be i Read this if you're a huge Bradbury fan and want to read more about him and the famous things he wrote. It's not great if you're looking for practical information for aspiring writers or advanced tools for writers who want to improve their craft. I'm a Bradbury fan, so I liked the book. But overall, it felt pretty out of touch for aspiring writers today. I guess it's valuable as a statement of how things used to be in the writers market? In terms of writing advice, it kind of boils down to "be imaginative as you can and work super hard!" It's not bad or anything, but if you're specifically looking for a helpful or just inspiring book about writing, you can pretty easily do better than this. Edit: I've been thinking about this book again, and I got one specific tool out of it that I think is worth sharing. There's a chapter where Bradbury states that for a long time he'd start a short story on Monday, keep working on it all week, and then send it out on Saturday. That's a very fast timeframe for most of us, but Bradbury was a legendarily fast writer. The tool I got: a short story can be written in a small set duration of time, and that you can send it out and move right on. You can treat short stories like a work week: start on Monday, end on on Saturday. I know it it sounds a little basic, as tools go, but I found it really grounding. Sometimes writing can feel endless, especially when working on a novel. But this book reminds us that we can always set aside a week (or two, or three, or whatever we need) to write a full short story to completion. Thanks, Bradbury.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    There are a lot of reviews written about this short but excellent book written in the tradition of Stephen King's "On Writing", or the other way around, given that Bradbury wrote his tome first. Yet there is an energy in this book that is infectious and it points the finger to us as writers to say - "get serious about this art or get out." His prescriptions for writing are no less demanding: 1) Write one short story a week for 5 years. Perhaps after this rigour, some good stuff might come out (Br There are a lot of reviews written about this short but excellent book written in the tradition of Stephen King's "On Writing", or the other way around, given that Bradbury wrote his tome first. Yet there is an energy in this book that is infectious and it points the finger to us as writers to say - "get serious about this art or get out." His prescriptions for writing are no less demanding: 1) Write one short story a week for 5 years. Perhaps after this rigour, some good stuff might come out (Bradbury wrote one short story a week for 10 years before writing "The Lake"). Quantity leads to quality. 2)Engage in word association games to provide plots 3) Let events simmer for years - 20 to 30 years is okay - before writing about them 4) Draw from childhood where most of the skeletons in the closet lie. And yet there were lines of inspiration that I have memorized for use when I am at my lowest: "We(writers) are trying to release the truth in all of us" "Slanting for the commercial or literary markets are unhappy ways for writers to live in the world" On writing - "you grow ravenous", "you run fevers". "You must stay drunk on writing so reality does not destroy you" He also lived at a time when he could sell his prodigious output to pulp magazines, even as an emerging writer at the age of 24, for $20-40 per story, way back in 1944 - enough to make a living off his work. I've seen going rates for stories these days as low as $10.00; sometimes reward is just the honour of being published - inflation seems to have gone in reverse in the publishing business, at least, where writer compensation is concerned. This is certainly an inspiring book for today's aspiring writer to keep by his side as a testament to a great author who was totally dedicated to his craft and who consequently reaped the rewards of that total immersion.

  5. 4 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

    I LOVE Ray Branduty. His style. His insight. His vision. His everything. Probably it all was summed up nicely by himself in his ZEN of Writing. This volume is full of zen, hands down. Lots of incredible insight. Lots of wonderful essays on how Ray Bradbury became the visionary we've all come to know and respect and love and look up to. Hands down one of the finest books on writing ever. Worthy of 500 stars and more. A lot MORE! (I've no idea how come I've read this one just now and not ages befor I LOVE Ray Branduty. His style. His insight. His vision. His everything. Probably it all was summed up nicely by himself in his ZEN of Writing. This volume is full of zen, hands down. Lots of incredible insight. Lots of wonderful essays on how Ray Bradbury became the visionary we've all come to know and respect and love and look up to. Hands down one of the finest books on writing ever. Worthy of 500 stars and more. A lot MORE! (I've no idea how come I've read this one just now and not ages before. A treasure I stumbled upon at random.) A fav for years to come. Respect. And Zen. Q: Since then, 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. (c) Q: "What's that dinosaur doing lying here on the beach?" I said. My wife, very wisely, had no answer. (c) Q: First I rummaged my mind for words that could describe my personal nightmares, fears of night and time from my childhood, and shaped stories from these. (c) Q: I was amused and somewhat astonished at a critic a few years back who wrote an article analyzing Dandelion Wine plus the more realistic works of Sinclair Lewis, wondering how I could have been born and raised in Waukegan, which I renamed Green Town for my novel, and not noticed how ugly the harbor was and how depressing the coal docks and railyards down below the town. But, of course, I had noticed them and, genetic enchanter that I was, was fascinated by their beauty. Trains and boxcars and the smell of coal and fire are not ugly to children. Ugliness is a concept that we happen on later and become self-conscious about. Counting boxcars is a prime activity of boys. Their elders fret and fume and jeer at the train that holds them up, but boys happily count and cry the names of the cars as they pass from far places. And again, that supposedly ugly railyard was where carnivals and circuses arrived with elephants who washed the brick pavements with mighty steaming acid waters at five in the dark morning. (c) Q: In other words, if your boy is a poet, horse manure can only mean flowers to him; which is, of course, what horse manure has always been about. (c) Q: Literary history is filled with writers who, rightly or wrongly, felt they could tidy up, improve upon, or revolutionize a given field. So, many of us plunge forward where angels leave no dustprint. (c) Q: But the subliminal eye is shrewd. (c)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Paperback

    Short version: This is the best writing book I have ever read. Long version: This isn't going to be a very eloquent review. Good books on writing are difficult to find. For several of my classes, professors have assigned books about writing techniques, and all of them have been terrible. Some of them have graphs, others have ways of mapping out character development, but generally these books try to break writing down to its skeletal form and make a biology lesson of it. It ends up being overly Short version: This is the best writing book I have ever read. Long version: This isn't going to be a very eloquent review. Good books on writing are difficult to find. For several of my classes, professors have assigned books about writing techniques, and all of them have been terrible. Some of them have graphs, others have ways of mapping out character development, but generally these books try to break writing down to its skeletal form and make a biology lesson of it. It ends up being overly technical and discouraging for new writers. Bradbury's book, on the other hand, deals more with how your imagination can work for you. He starts off Zen by stating that you only need two things in writing: "zest and gusto." According to him, once you lose your zest for writing, your stories will fall apart. He insists on writing what you're passionate about, and suggests ways of keeping your passion going. This may seem like common sense, but it's the most helpful advice I've ever received from a How-To writing book. (One piece of advice he offers is to put your nightmares in your stories. He says that if you're writing suspense, what scares you will scare your readers. He gives examples of how he drew on his fears and translated them into his novels. I tried it, and it definitely worked for me.)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Virginie

    I have to start with a confession: this is my first book by Bradbury. It could seem strange to begin with this essay/memoir, but I wanted to see what he had to say about the writing process. Now, I want to read his novels even more, because he talks about creativity the same way I do. He seems touched by the same things I am. My 3* rating may be difficult to understand. In fact, I had to skim through some less interesting parts... but there were also some treasures among those essays, so it was t I have to start with a confession: this is my first book by Bradbury. It could seem strange to begin with this essay/memoir, but I wanted to see what he had to say about the writing process. Now, I want to read his novels even more, because he talks about creativity the same way I do. He seems touched by the same things I am. My 3* rating may be difficult to understand. In fact, I had to skim through some less interesting parts... but there were also some treasures among those essays, so it was totally worth it! I discovered a very interesting person behind the words I read. And I'm sad knowing he passed away almost ten years ago... I feel like I just found someone I could have been friend with, but we're living in two different eras. I'm sure Bradbury could have turn this idea into a short story in a couple of hours!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gerhard

    “There is only one type of story in the world. Your story.” There is a wonderful scene early on in Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, which I am reading at the moment, where Atticus is reading ‘The Martian Chronicles’ by Ray Bradbury. His father takes a rather dim view of such “mostly white-authored genres”, pointing out that Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter, for example, was “A Confederate officer” (Gasp!) “I do love them,” George agreed. “But stories are like people, Atticus. Loving them doesn’t “There is only one type of story in the world. Your story.” There is a wonderful scene early on in Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, which I am reading at the moment, where Atticus is reading ‘The Martian Chronicles’ by Ray Bradbury. His father takes a rather dim view of such “mostly white-authored genres”, pointing out that Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter, for example, was “A Confederate officer” (Gasp!) “I do love them,” George agreed. “But stories are like people, Atticus. Loving them doesn’t make them perfect. You try to cherish their virtues and overlook their flaws. The flaws are still there, though.” This exchange reminded me of another book I finished recently, ‘Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction’ by Alec Nevala-Lee, which is a depressing forensic account of the misogyny, racism and other prejudicial behaviour associated with Campbell as editor and his coterie of writers. Interestingly, Bradbury was way too esoteric a writer for the pages of Astounding, so Campbell passed on the opportunity of publishing one of the most influential writers in any genre, period. A fascinating tidbit I learnt from ‘Zen in the Art of Writing’ is that one of the first reviews of ‘The Martian Chronicles’ was by none other than Christopher Isherwood, who recognised it immediately as a future classic. What I loved about this book is that it is far more than a ‘how to’ writing guide. Actually, its advice in that regard is rather esoteric, with Bradbury (unhelpfully) pointing to his habit of writing one story a week for a decade! Quantity will eventually deliver quantity, he espouses (calculating that he wrote about a million words before producing his first halfway decent story, ‘The Lake’, which appeared in 1944 in Weird Tales.) No, the true value of this collection of essays, culled from Bradbury’s extensive career – covering his novels and play and screenplay writing, and a generous dash of his poetry – is that it is a window giving a bright view onto my own personal Golden Age of SF. And as Bradbury says, quite prophetically: While our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalise us amidst it all.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

    What a fantastic book, and a quick read to boot.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    Nothing particularly new is told but Ray writes with such a passion and gusto that the book becomes a joy to read. References to stories and novels that I have not read abound and hence it was difficult to follow the train of thought. The poems at the end were a real bonus.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    "You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." "You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you."

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heidi The Reader

    Ray Bradbury, a titan author of American science fiction, shares remembrances and anecdotes from his lifetime. Within the essays, Bradbury shares both his passion for writing and the methods with which he accomplished it. "And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right. ... Secondly, writing is survival." pg 12, ebook From his childhood days in Waukegan, Illinois, to penning screen plays in Ireland, B Ray Bradbury, a titan author of American science fiction, shares remembrances and anecdotes from his lifetime. Within the essays, Bradbury shares both his passion for writing and the methods with which he accomplished it. "And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right. ... Secondly, writing is survival." pg 12, ebook From his childhood days in Waukegan, Illinois, to penning screen plays in Ireland, Bradbury mined his life experiences with his subconscious mind and unearthed, so to speak, the stories that he wrote. "And when a man talks from his heart, in his moment of truth, he speaks poetry." pg 32, ebook Bradbury also highlights the importance of writing at least a little bit every day. Through his habit of writing an essay a week, Bradbury cranked out hundreds during his lifetime. Though he admits not all of them were brilliant, each one brought something to his experience, whether that was honing his craft or creating avenues towards other brighter stories. Recommended for aspiring authors or any reader who is a fan of Bradbury. This book shines a spotlight on both the man and his creations.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Bedlam

    Meh, it’s good but…. “Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings” from Shirley Jackson is better.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    I believe one thing holds it all together. Everything I’ve ever done was done with excitement, because I wanted to do it, because I loved doing it. The greatest man in the world for me, one day, was Lon Chaney, was Orson Welles in ‘Citizen Kane’, was Laurence Olivier in ‘Richard III’. The men change, but one thing remains always the same: the fever, the ardor, the delight. This is probably the one thing that I envy the most about Bradbury: his talent to express his enthusiasm with words, his un I believe one thing holds it all together. Everything I’ve ever done was done with excitement, because I wanted to do it, because I loved doing it. The greatest man in the world for me, one day, was Lon Chaney, was Orson Welles in ‘Citizen Kane’, was Laurence Olivier in ‘Richard III’. The men change, but one thing remains always the same: the fever, the ardor, the delight. This is probably the one thing that I envy the most about Bradbury: his talent to express his enthusiasm with words, his unapologetic pride in being a dreamer, his faith that we can learn from the past and that we can use literature and poetry not as a means to escape from reality, but as a tool to make our dreams come true. My rating for this collection of autobiographical essays that cover decades of lectures and interviews and book launchings has more to do with my fanboy credentials than with any perceived value to students of creative writing, but I am myself feeling unapologetic about singing Bradbury’s praise. About the time I finished highschool, forced to confront the fact that I had no idea what I want to do with my life, I toyed with the idea of becoming a writer. I was a voracious consumer of books and cinema, absorbing all these fictional worlds, and thought that if they can do it, maybe so could I. One of the very first essays in this Bradbury collection explains why my plans never got off the ground: Bradbury can later talk at length about his enchanted childhood memories or about his own passion for reading and watching movies or about ways to lure and capture the elusive muse of artistic inspiration, but the true secret of his success is discipline and hard work. For more than fifty years, he got up every morning and wrote one thousand or two thousand words. Later in the day, he came back and rewrote everything several times, until he was satisfied with the phrasing and the structure. He did this all on his own, year after year, with little commercial or publishing success. But it was the thing that he loved most in the world, and he kept at it until he became better, until the distance between an idea and its expression on paper was erased. For all his long career, Bradbury ignored both critics and praise, struggling to remain true to his inner vision, to his balancing act between childhood innocence and bleak visions of the future, to his faith that we as humans are not victims of predestination but we have the power to shape our own destinies. “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.” [a rendition of ‘I Did It My Way’ is appropriate here] Biographical details and the way they are reflected in the opus of the author are all fascinating in themselves, but the real focus of the exercise is creativity, that most elusive of the arrows in a writer’s arsenal, and this is where the term ‘ZEN’ from the title of the collection comes into play. You, me, and anybody on this planet could and should be a writer, should be able to express his or her personality in words, give back a little of the treasure chest of experience and emotions gathered over a lifetime. “If it seems I've come the long way around, perhaps I have. But I wanted to show what we all have in us, that it has always been there, and so few of us bother to notice. When people ask me where I get my ideas, I laugh. How strange -- we're so busy looking out, to find ways and means, we forget to look in.” What the orientals have to teach us is that contemplation is just as important as action. Action in writer’s terms means getting up each morning and putting down your ideas, your dreams and nightmares on paper. Contemplation is looking at the meaning of what you are doing, gazing at your own experience and trying to make sense of it in the larger social and emotional context. ‘Zen’ is that special ingredient that Westerners seem to ignore or gloss over and it means inner peace and beauty, patience and generosity, the place where ideas trump action and plot. “Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.” or, in another place, “I thought you could beat, pummel, and thrash an idea into existence. Under such treatment, of course, any decent idea folds up its paws, turns on its back, fixes its eyes on eternity, and dies.” Just be yourself, be honest and diligent and the muse will come to you when least expected, just like a stray cat that will run away if you try to force it, yet will come back in curious earnest if you turn your back to it and engage in something interesting. Everything and anything could be a source of inspiration, from the works of other authors and poets, to the most mundane of household items. Your task is to entice the muse with everything that surrounds you, trash and treasure alike. Your task is to care deeply about the world you live in, to be curious and engaged in life, to understand your past and your future and your role in it by constantly questioning established thinking and ready-made answers. “Ours is a culture and a time immensely rich in trash as it is in treasures.” Authors are part of the world and not some detached, esoteric minds dwelling in ivory towers. Some of the harshest words in the essays are reserved for high-brow authors who cater to elitist literary magazines and despise low-brow popular entertainment for the masses. I don’t want to spend too much time refuting their existential angst, probably because I had enjoyed some of their output. Much more fascinating in this collection for me is the way Ray Bradbury’s career, starting in the early fifties and going on into the nineties, is a mirror of the public’s initial disdain of speculative fiction as pure escapism and low-brow literature, not worthy of academic consideration, transformed through the talent of Golden Age authors into the most pure and honest expression of our modern age woes and aspirations. Librarians were stunned to find that science-fiction books were not only being borrowed in the tens of thousands, but stolen and never returned! “What’s in these books that makes them as irresistible as Cracker Jack?” For Ray Bradbury the answer to this dilemma is in the issues these authors tackled in their high adventure yarns, going back to the fundamental myths and legends of our racial memory, such as Joseph Campbell or Mircea Eliade were teaching about in university courses. The children sensed, if they could not speak, that the entire history of mankind is problem solving, or science-fiction swallowing ideas, digesting them, and excreting formulas for survival. You can’t have one without the other. No fantasy, no reality. No studies concerning loss, no gain. No imagination, no will. No impossible dreams: No possible solutions. For Bradbury, Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Vonnegut Jr and the others, speculative fiction was never about entertainment or escapism – it was about our common future and the way only by imagining it today we can bring it about tomorrow. >>><<<>>><<< And his advice for prospective writers: be true to yourself, work hard every day to bring your dream to life, don’t sweat it if the going gets rough and at all times, keep a good hold on your sense of wonder : it’s your most precious asset. We never sit anything out. We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out. - - - - “Go, children. Run and read. Read and run. Show and tell.”

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Another update 5/19/20: Bradbury suggests reading poetry every day. Even if you don't get it, try. I don't get it. Still trying. Every day. Reading Whitman. Update 5/16/20: The best advice comes back to me when I need it, although I can't recall when I want it, such as writing a review (get my lazy bones in a notepad while I read). Two things have come back to me: 1. Bradbury gives the stages in beginning: Work-Relaxation-No Thinking. This applies to writing, but applies to everything requiring eff Another update 5/19/20: Bradbury suggests reading poetry every day. Even if you don't get it, try. I don't get it. Still trying. Every day. Reading Whitman. Update 5/16/20: The best advice comes back to me when I need it, although I can't recall when I want it, such as writing a review (get my lazy bones in a notepad while I read). Two things have come back to me: 1. Bradbury gives the stages in beginning: Work-Relaxation-No Thinking. This applies to writing, but applies to everything requiring effort. The advice has helped me with a new job. 2. Movies. Bradbury watched movies. He recommended watching good and bad, learning from both, and creating cinematic replication through poetic expression. ------------------- Inspiration. Catch Bradbury's love and passion to write. Learn to step out of your car after work and resist an urge to sprint upstairs to grab your laptop, or your pen and paper. It starts there. Why do I read? Love, passion. Why do I write? How can I know if I don't practice writing? Something in me, like Kafka trapped in my soul, since as a child I walked into the elementary library and felt the way I imagine Moses felt when a burning bush spoke to him in a dry wilderness of failure. I haven't practiced in years. Only old prose poetry once in awhile. So why write? The desire remains, like fragrance and smeared lipstick fading from my neck. An answer. I have found a world to play in. I learn. I create. I build. I fall in love. I learn passion. I learn the classic, sacred cliche: fire. Bradbury explains where to go in my present experience. I recommend this to any and all writers on every level. Bradbury has it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    A short, (obviously) gorgeously written little collection of essays on the topic of writing. If you are looking for a practical guide, this is not the book for you: I think that in collecting those little snippets, Mr. Bradbury was looking for to inspire and encourage rather than to actually give a master class on writing. In fact, it seems evident to me reading it that his own process was so spontaneous that he could not have given much practical advice had he been pressed to. Mostly, these essay A short, (obviously) gorgeously written little collection of essays on the topic of writing. If you are looking for a practical guide, this is not the book for you: I think that in collecting those little snippets, Mr. Bradbury was looking for to inspire and encourage rather than to actually give a master class on writing. In fact, it seems evident to me reading it that his own process was so spontaneous that he could not have given much practical advice had he been pressed to. Mostly, these essays are made to assure people interested in writing that they should write about what they feel passionate about, keep exploring the stuff that excites them as it will create a subconscious mulch from which ideas will eventually grow, and that genre literature is just as important as so-called literary fiction. I underlined many eloquent and inspiring passages that I will probably need to re-read a few times in my attempts at finally squeezing a story out of my brain; but it gets 3 stars because as lovely as it is to read, I really wished Mr. Bradbury has written advice that was a bit less lyrical and a bit more practical for aspiring writers of speculative fiction. Oh, also, there's nothing in here about Zen in the Buddhism sense of the word ;-)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kate Savage

    Do I want to try to write like Ray Bradbury? No, I don't think so. But I once sat in that middle school English class listening to a cassette tape with the gravelly-voice narration of The Veldt and thought the shudder in my spine was some holy spirit saying I had found the apex of the literary arts. And anyway I'm desperate and will take advice anywhere. Here's a list of his most compelling pointers: 1) Write every day. 2) Make a list of nouns that get at you in some way. These will be the centers Do I want to try to write like Ray Bradbury? No, I don't think so. But I once sat in that middle school English class listening to a cassette tape with the gravelly-voice narration of The Veldt and thought the shudder in my spine was some holy spirit saying I had found the apex of the literary arts. And anyway I'm desperate and will take advice anywhere. Here's a list of his most compelling pointers: 1) Write every day. 2) Make a list of nouns that get at you in some way. These will be the centers of the stories you write (Bradbury's own lists include "THE MEADOW. THE TOY CHEST. THE MONSTER. TYRANNOSAURUS REX. THE TOWN CLOCK. THE OLD MAN. THE OLD WOMAN. THE TELEPHONE. THE SIDEWALKS. THE COFFIN. THE ELECTRIC CHAIR. THE MAGICIAN." And of course: "THE THING AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS.") 3) Experience whatever you can. You're feeding your subconscious, which is your muse. 4) Read poetry every day. 5) Make your readers use all of their senses (which will make the most far-fetched stuff believable) 6) Write FAST. Bradbury's own schedule at some point was: write a 1st draft of a story on Monday, 2nd draft on Tuesday, 3rd on Wednesday, etc., and mail it off at noon on Saturday. Bradbury wrote the first draft of Fahrenheit 451 on a library typewriter that cost 10 cents every 30 minutes. He would feed it a dime and race to spit out as much as possible with the clock ticking. 7) Don't be embarrassed. Or anyway act in spite of your embarrassment. You won't write and maybe you'll do away with yourself if you try to hide the shameful bits that make you feel alive. For Bradbury this is the thrill of the circus and interstellar space and dinosaurs. Snobbery will destroy you. This also means writing without concern for the market or literary praise. Most of this advice is given in the first three essays. The remaining made me begin despairing: did the time spent building Disney's gee-whiz World of the Future addle Bradbury's dystopianism, torque him into someone a little too nauseatingly happy? Give me Bradbury the crank over Bradbury the booster any day. It doesn't seem very motivating to write if you think that the best that could happen is you'll make it big and begin to believe, dewy-eyed, in Disney and America and progress.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Barbara (The Bibliophage)

    No one writes quite like Ray Bradbury. Perhaps that’s an understatement, but as I was reading Zen in the Art of Writing, I was again reminded of his brilliance. He has impeccable control of the English language. But at the same time, his sentences are playful and colorful. His thinking is philosophical and, at the same time lighthearted. “But ideas lie everywhere, like apples fallen and melting in the grass for lack of wayfaring strangers with an eye and a tongue for beauty, whether absurd, horri No one writes quite like Ray Bradbury. Perhaps that’s an understatement, but as I was reading Zen in the Art of Writing, I was again reminded of his brilliance. He has impeccable control of the English language. But at the same time, his sentences are playful and colorful. His thinking is philosophical and, at the same time lighthearted. “But ideas lie everywhere, like apples fallen and melting in the grass for lack of wayfaring strangers with an eye and a tongue for beauty, whether absurd, horrific, or genteel.” Picking up this book, at this moment was kismet for me. As I said out loud to someone recently, I’d like to write more and maybe even get paid for it again. In this collection of essays, Bradbury reminds me that I have to do my work first. Writing a thousand words every day is a given. And Bradbury talks about what it was like for him to develop the discipline. But he also describes how he created writing prompts based on his world, past, present, and future. “When people ask me where I get my ideas, I laugh. How strange—we’re so busy looking out, to find ways and means, we forget to look in.” Full review at TheBibliophage.com.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    If you're looking for the book that finally teaches you everything you ever wanted to know about writing - the book that will finally give you the key to the famous author's success - this one isn't for you. On one hand, no such book exists. On the other, Ray Bradbury's "Zen and the Art of Writing" is less about the craft and mechanics of writing than one man's passion and zeal for good old-fashioned fun stories. Bradbury has been criticized for being overly sentimental and rightfully so. At tim If you're looking for the book that finally teaches you everything you ever wanted to know about writing - the book that will finally give you the key to the famous author's success - this one isn't for you. On one hand, no such book exists. On the other, Ray Bradbury's "Zen and the Art of Writing" is less about the craft and mechanics of writing than one man's passion and zeal for good old-fashioned fun stories. Bradbury has been criticized for being overly sentimental and rightfully so. At times this book reads like a wistful eulogy for his lost childhood, and that his writing career has always been in pursuit of that. But even if that's true, so what? Bradbury has left us with some classics, and while this book may not be all that insightful or instructional, it reflects a man's (or a boy's)passion for what he does - about looking at the ordinary and seeing the extrordinary, and if that doesn't inspire you to take up your own pen, typewriter, or laptop, nothing will.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Meh. I was bored. I know I am committing a sacrilege by saying that this book was boring. The book is a collection of essays on the craft of writing Bradbury wrote over the years for various publications. Bradbury comes off self-aggrandizing and pretentious. The most interesting part of the book were his inspirations for his greater known work. Don't get me wrong, I like Bradbury but just not this book. I'm well aware others may disagree but my two cents are being proffered for free. Meh. I was bored. I know I am committing a sacrilege by saying that this book was boring. The book is a collection of essays on the craft of writing Bradbury wrote over the years for various publications. Bradbury comes off self-aggrandizing and pretentious. The most interesting part of the book were his inspirations for his greater known work. Don't get me wrong, I like Bradbury but just not this book. I'm well aware others may disagree but my two cents are being proffered for free.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    Will review later. A nice set of essays on writing.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Larraine

    "Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a land mine. The land mine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together. Now, it's your turn. Jump!" I'm not sure what prompted me to read this book. There's a part of me that's always wanted to write, but I've lacked the self discipline. Of course, I also lack self confidence. Unlike most writers, I have never felt the need to write every day. At least, I didn't think I did. I remember being asked to write "Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a land mine. The land mine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together. Now, it's your turn. Jump!" I'm not sure what prompted me to read this book. There's a part of me that's always wanted to write, but I've lacked the self discipline. Of course, I also lack self confidence. Unlike most writers, I have never felt the need to write every day. At least, I didn't think I did. I remember being asked to write a story in school. My teacher gave me a good grade and said it was very imaginative. That was the last time we ever got that assignment. It didn't make me write. When I was a little girl, I would fill the blank pages of books with drawings - usually ballerinas. I was obsessed with ballerinas despite being tall and chunky and not in the least graceful. Unfortunately, my writing and illustrations were unappreciated by my parents especially my father who accused me of wasting my time drawing "dolls." I wish I had read this book years ago. Who knows what I could have accomplished. Maybe nothing. Maybe something. Maybe everything. I went through my scifi phase when I was in college and in my early to mid 20's. That included reading Ray Bradbury who is less science fiction than a sort of fantasy, but not the fantasy that's big nowadays. His was sometimes gentle, sometimes raw with a lot simmering under the surface. I devoured the Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man and Something Wicked This Way Comes and Fahrenheit 451 and so much more. Yet one of my all time favorites is his very sweet and wonderful Dandelion Wine. I also remember a story called The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit that was so utterly enchanting. I got a copy of this slim little book of essays from our local library and read it in one sitting, sipping coffee, water, eating lunch, having a snack. The essays were written over many years and express Bradbury's views on writing and creativity. You won't really be satisfied unless you stop trying to be a "money writer" and write just for the pure abandonment and joy. (I wonder how many people are doing that right now.) There was no Pulitzer Prize for literature announced this year. Is it because there are no good writers? Or is it because publishers would rather not take a chance with literature? (Chickens and eggs, anyone?) If I knew a young person who had ambitions to write - actually I do know one right now - I might give them a copy of this book. (If I can find a copy at a cheap price, I may send her one!) In the essay, "Drunk and In Charge of a Bicycle," Bradbury talks about how one project lead to another, all starting with his love of dinosaurs. From noting that a collapsed pier looked like a dinosaur to writing a story of a dinosaur who hears a fog horn and thinks that it is another dinosaur and dies of a broken heart to being asked by John Huston to write the screen play for Moby Dick after Huston read that story, to reintroducing a new translation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea which led to his conceptualizing the entire second floor of the United States Pavilion at the New York World's Fair in 1964 which, in turn, led to Disney asking him to help with Epcot Center designs. Phew! How can you NOT love this imagery: "Bees do have a smell you know, and if they don't, they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers." (Having just returned from Longwood Gardens, I can especially appreciate that image!) I love his passionate explanation of why science fiction is relevant. It is a "History of Ideas," he says. And he's RIGHT. Very often, I will see something or hear something and remember a short story or novel I read that predicted what I'm seeing now. (And it's not always pretty either, but it's true.) He tells the writer not to be tempted by literary reviews or the money that may be available in mass circulation. (Not an easy temptation to walk away from which is, perhaps, why pseudonyms were born!) Ask yourself "What do I REALLY think of the world, what do I love, fear, hate?" Then he advises that you put it all on paper. In his early days, he wrote a bunch of words that intrigued him. They became his starting points. Can you imagine him as your creative writing teacher. He would probably get in big trouble and wouldn't last long, but if you had him for a few glorious months, who knows what you could write! The last chapter, "On Creativity," is a series of poems. One of them is called Troy: "My Troy was there of course, thought people said not so....Go Dig the Troy In You!" Optimist that he is, Bradbury seems to think that we all have Troy in us waiting to be dug up. What a wonderful thought that is!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Ray Bradbury is one of my favorite authors, when I was a kid I devoured his books of short stories and novels. I'd never come across this book however, which I picked up not to become a writer but to better understand how an author weaves the magic that he does. In one of the books essays INVESTING DIMES: FAHRENHEIT 451 I have spun more stories, novels, essays, and poems about writers than any other writer in history that I can think of. I have written poems about Melville, Melville and Emily Dic Ray Bradbury is one of my favorite authors, when I was a kid I devoured his books of short stories and novels. I'd never come across this book however, which I picked up not to become a writer but to better understand how an author weaves the magic that he does. In one of the books essays INVESTING DIMES: FAHRENHEIT 451 I have spun more stories, novels, essays, and poems about writers than any other writer in history that I can think of. I have written poems about Melville, Melville and Emily Dickinson, Emily Dickinson and Charles Dickens, Hawthorne, Poe, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and along the way I compared Jules Verne and his Mad Captain to Melville and his equally obsessed mariner. I have scribbled poems about librarians, taken night trains with my favorite authors across the continental wilderness, staying up all night gabbling and drinking, drinking and chatting. I warned Melville, in one poem, to stay away from land (it never was his stuff!) and turned Bernard Shaw into a robot, so as to conveniently stow him aboard a rocket and wake him on the long journey to Alpha Centauri to hear his Prefaces piped off his tongue and into my delighted ear. I have written a Time Machine story in which I hum back to sit at the deathbeds of Wilde, Melville, and Poe to tell of my love and warm their bones in their last hours… But, enough. As you can see, I am madness-maddened when it comes to books, writers, and the great granary silos where their wits are stored. Now I understand why out of all the books that I read my favorite book is a book about books. Bradbury infected my young mind with a love for reading and his favorite subjects wound up becoming my favorite subject for a book. I have 81 books currently on goodreads with the label books-about-books. Most I have rated 4 stars or higher, only two rated lower then 3 stars. Well at least now I realize where I picked up the obsession.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leo Robertson

    Bradbury was a good-natured mad man and a hard worker. I haven't read a single thing of his fiction that I have yet liked, but he does have some good advice: "It is a lie to write in such a way as to be rewarded by money in the commercial market. It is a lie to write in such a way as to be rewarded by fame offered you by some snobbish quasi-literary group in the intellectual gazettes." "You just say, 'Well, hell, I don't need depression. I don't need worry. I don't need to push.' The ideas will fol Bradbury was a good-natured mad man and a hard worker. I haven't read a single thing of his fiction that I have yet liked, but he does have some good advice: "It is a lie to write in such a way as to be rewarded by money in the commercial market. It is a lie to write in such a way as to be rewarded by fame offered you by some snobbish quasi-literary group in the intellectual gazettes." "You just say, 'Well, hell, I don't need depression. I don't need worry. I don't need to push.' The ideas will follow me. When they're off-guard and ready to be born, I'll turn around and grab them." "If you can find the right metaphor, the right image, and put it in a scene, it can replace four pages of dialogue."

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Rollins

    #20for2020 Book of Essays Finally got around to this and absolutely adored it. Bradbury clearly illustrates in these essays that we can only write if we creep past the gate keepers and their snobby critiques. Very encouraging! Nothing Zen about modern attempts to can writing instruction. If it’s in a can it’s modern not classic. Loved his poetry to. All this from a man without the validation of a degree. GO PANTHER-PAWED WHERE ALL THE MINED TRUTHS SLEEP Not smash and grab, but rather find and keep #20for2020 Book of Essays Finally got around to this and absolutely adored it. Bradbury clearly illustrates in these essays that we can only write if we creep past the gate keepers and their snobby critiques. Very encouraging! Nothing Zen about modern attempts to can writing instruction. If it’s in a can it’s modern not classic. Loved his poetry to. All this from a man without the validation of a degree. GO PANTHER-PAWED WHERE ALL THE MINED TRUTHS SLEEP Not smash and grab, but rather find and keep; Go panther-pawed where all the mined truths sleep To detonate the hidden seeds with stealth So in your wake a weltering of wealth Springs up unseen, ignored, and left behind As you sneak on, pretending to be blind. On your return along the jungle path you've made Find all the littered stuffs where you have strayed; The small truths and the large have surfaced there Where you stealth-blundered wildly unaware Or seeming so. And so these mines were mined In easy game of pace and pounce and find; But mostly fluid pace, not too much pounce. Attention must be paid, but by the ounce. Mock caring, seem aloof, ignore each mile And metaphors like cats behind your smile Each one wound up to purr, each one a pride, Each one a fine gold beast you've hid inside, Now summoned forth in harvests from the brake Turned anteloping elephants that shake And drum and crack the mind to awe, To behold beauty yet perceive its flaw. Then, flaw discovered, like fair beauty's mole, Haste back to reckon all entire, the Whole. This done, pretend these wits you do not keep, Go panther-pawed where all the mined truths sleep.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kogiopsis

    All due respect to Mr. Bradbury, but quite frankly I don't really see the point of this book. The thing is that doing something and teaching others how to do it are vastly different skills, and they don't necessarily overlap. I spent the past year tutoring kids in reading, and the first thing I learned was how difficult it was to translate a skill that came naturally to me into something that would help beginners. Ray Bradbury was clearly someone for whom writing came naturally (he has a lot to s All due respect to Mr. Bradbury, but quite frankly I don't really see the point of this book. The thing is that doing something and teaching others how to do it are vastly different skills, and they don't necessarily overlap. I spent the past year tutoring kids in reading, and the first thing I learned was how difficult it was to translate a skill that came naturally to me into something that would help beginners. Ray Bradbury was clearly someone for whom writing came naturally (he has a lot to say about books or stories 'finishing themselves' in the course of a day), but the advice he has to offer here is, at best, vague. From what I can tell, his main points - repeated throughout the book - are this: 1. Write what you know, a catechism which is often misinterpreted to mean 'write your own limited experiences endlessly'. Bradbury, instead, is talking about using your own experiences and strong emotional reactions to fuel your writing, regardless of what exact resemblance it may have to what you experienced. 2. Have passion for what you do. He is emphatic and uncompromising when it comes to the idea that you have to write every day for years, probably decades, before achieving substantial success. While these specific recommendations don't apply to everyone (not everyone who writes wants to work exclusively or predominantly in short stories), the general idea is definitely applicable. It is here where I think Bradbury comes through clearest, because his own passion for the craft comes through even when his advice seems muddied. 3. Get out of your own way. The titular essay of this collection, 'Zen in the Art of Writing', is close kin to the advice given during NaNoWriMo to 'turn off your internal editor'. Bradbury advocates working, but not being wound up about it, until the words simply begin to flow on their own. Nowadays, this is an actual, recognized psychological concept. One minor annoyance: though this is unsurprising for the time, Bradbury treats male as a universal default throughout the text. Everything is about 'the man' or 'the boy', including one sentence in which he refers to the reader, specifically, as a man: ...so you are that precious commodity, the individual man, the man we all democratically proclaim, but who, so often, gets lost or loses himself, in the shuffle. (Emphasis mine.) Later, he references a book by Dorothea Brande, saying that it details "many of the ways a writer can find out who he is and how to get the stuff of himself out on paper". Now, I get that male-default is an archaic writing convention only recently overturned, but assuming that the writer-persona is inherently male in a description of a book written by a woman seems particularly rich. Several of the essays in this book are just about the genesis of particular works, which might be interesting if Bradbury were a little more reflective on the topic, but he glosses over a lot of the mechanical aspects of writing. I suspect this book may be more interesting to people who are seeking inspiration and motivation as writers; if you're looking for actual craft tools, it's not a very rich resource. There are some great quotes, though: We never sit anything out. We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Sherriff

    This is an antidote to the current belief in writing to market, that if you just know your tropes, put in the hours and market like there's no tomorrow, you too will be a success. Bradbury says phooey to that. In these 11 essays and selection of poems -- yes, poems -- Bradbury articulates a business model, er, I mean philosophy, that focuses on trusting and feeding your subconscious, then producing work you are passionate about that will find a market because it is good, dang it. And if it doesn This is an antidote to the current belief in writing to market, that if you just know your tropes, put in the hours and market like there's no tomorrow, you too will be a success. Bradbury says phooey to that. In these 11 essays and selection of poems -- yes, poems -- Bradbury articulates a business model, er, I mean philosophy, that focuses on trusting and feeding your subconscious, then producing work you are passionate about that will find a market because it is good, dang it. And if it doesn't, repurpose it or just hold on to it until the market changes. I went through each essay and tried to summarise the take-away points (I hope that reductionist approach doesn't have Mr Bradbury turning in his grave). And here's what I gleaned: 1. Write what you love or hate, not what you think sells. 2. Collect lists of nouns that you brainstorm. These nouns and their odd associations are a shortcut to your subconscious where all your best stories and ideas are stored. 3. Feed your muse. Read poetry! Creativity likes contrasts, not more of the same. 4. Write at least 1,000 words every day. That's one short story a week. Sell two short stories a month and that's a living (or it used to be if you are frugal). 5. The first draft of Fahrenheit 451 was written over nine days on a university library typewriter that cost 10 cents for 30 minutes to rent. 6. You can make your own life experiences into as rich a story as you like. With imagination and a lively subconscious (that you feed with stories and experiences) you have all the raw materials to build a great story from. 7. The Martiian Chronicles was outlined in a night when a NY editor said to Bradbury he had a bunch of short stories, but no novel. The moral of the story is, take your chances and push your luck when the chance arrives. Oh, and work quickly. 8. Don't let anyone tell you genre fiction is unimportant. Science fiction is popular because it is an exercise in problem solving the intractable dilemmas of the present. 9. You may think you've wasted years doing nothing much, but your subconscious has been awake the whole time taking notes. Your job is to find those notes. 10. Screenwriting is metaphor. Ideas are like cats. Stop trying to herd them and they will come to you of their own accord. 11. Work, relax, don't think. That is the zen in writing; a way to enter your creative subconscious. (what folk today have called entering the flow state). Download my starter library for free here - http://eepurl.com/bFkt0X

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Read this while sitting in the basement of the Camden, NJ courthouse, wearing my Juror badge, and trying not to hear CNN's droningly repetitive news coverage (although, have you seen the image of all the dead birds in Arkansas? Jesus, the plagues have begun) and I picked it because it was pocket-sized and figured to be an easy read. Which it was. Not to say it was particularly fulfilling or interesting. There are a handful of pages in here that have legitimate, useful writing advice, although mo Read this while sitting in the basement of the Camden, NJ courthouse, wearing my Juror badge, and trying not to hear CNN's droningly repetitive news coverage (although, have you seen the image of all the dead birds in Arkansas? Jesus, the plagues have begun) and I picked it because it was pocket-sized and figured to be an easy read. Which it was. Not to say it was particularly fulfilling or interesting. There are a handful of pages in here that have legitimate, useful writing advice, although mostly for novices and not for people like me who have been through the whole creative writing workshop wringer. But, okay, fine, there's some good stuff in there. The rest is overwrought in a very Bradburian way, and littered with exclamation points, usually punctuating sentences about how amazing it is to be writing. The stories behind his writing kind of cheapen the actual work a bit, ie- "Did you know that in the [Irish] cinemas each night just an instant before the Irish National Anthem is due to explode its rhythms, there is a terrible surge and outflux as people fight to escape through the exits so as not to hear the dread music again? It happens. I saw it. I ran with them. Now I have done it as a play. 'The Anthem Sprinters.' " Forgive me if I suggest that that play is probably terrible. But I know Bradbury is a little hit-and-miss by design anyway and the whole point of this book seems to be to just share the infectious energy of loving writing, and in that respect it succeeds, kind of. The terrible poetry at the end, though, that was a mistake.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hákon Gunnarsson

    I’ve been meaning to read this for quite a while. I like Ray Bradbury’s writing, so a book about writing by him sounds interesting. And it is. The essays that make up this book were written over the course of some 30 years, which means they weren’t written as a whole so there are some repeated thoughts, and stories as one might expect. For example, the story of how The Martian Chronicles came about gets told more then once. But Ray Bradbury writes with such passion about writing that one can’t he I’ve been meaning to read this for quite a while. I like Ray Bradbury’s writing, so a book about writing by him sounds interesting. And it is. The essays that make up this book were written over the course of some 30 years, which means they weren’t written as a whole so there are some repeated thoughts, and stories as one might expect. For example, the story of how The Martian Chronicles came about gets told more then once. But Ray Bradbury writes with such passion about writing that one can’t help being swept along for the ride anyway. Did I learn a lot from this book? No. It’s not that kind of book on writing, not the kind that will tell you write this way or that, and you’ll get to where you want to go. No, it’s more an expression of Bradbury’s enthusiasm for the subject, than a writing guide. The closest he comes to an actual advice for young (yeah, that doesn’t include me, but maybe I’ll take it to heart anyway) writers is that he tells the reader to write one short story a week, and if the writer will stick to that for long enough, he or she will find the authentic voice. That is actually good advice. Mostly though I just enjoyed this for the stories of how Ray Bradbury became a writer. I think I’ll read it again someday, maybe soon or at least soon-ish, just for the infectious enthusiasm.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    I spent my college years reading Ray Bradbury, but probably haven't read anything of his since. My loss. Reading Bradbury again, in this case his writing memoir, Zen in the Art of Writing, reminds me both of that time – and also gives me a peak at his views on creativity and his writing process. What's his process? He sums it up as:WORK. That’s the first one. RELAXATION. That’s the second. Followed by two final ones: DON’T THINK! (p. 103) Bradbury worked hard, day in and day out. He is credited w I spent my college years reading Ray Bradbury, but probably haven't read anything of his since. My loss. Reading Bradbury again, in this case his writing memoir, Zen in the Art of Writing, reminds me both of that time – and also gives me a peak at his views on creativity and his writing process. What's his process? He sums it up as:WORK. That’s the first one. RELAXATION. That’s the second. Followed by two final ones: DON’T THINK! (p. 103) Bradbury worked hard, day in and day out. He is credited with 27 novels and 600 short stories – as well as plays and screenplays. The man was prolific. Bradbury was also passionate and excited, relaxed and mindful in his writing. As he said,If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer. It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled for the avant-garde coterie, that you are not being yourself. You don’t even know yourself. For the first thing a writer should be is — excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms. Without such vigor, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches; God knows it’d be better for his health. (p. 2)Bradbury's excitement is infectious – I chose to read Zen in the Art of Writing at bedtime rather than the novel I was reading. When that happens, it says something. I finished Zen in the Art of Writing during the middle of the night and was thinking about a friend's dislike of science fiction (which I think she conflates with space opera). Her loss. As Bradbury observed: All science fiction is an attempt to solve problems by pretending to look the other way....Science fiction pretends at futures in order to cure sick dogs lying in today’s road. Indirection is everything. Metaphor is the medicine. (pp. 77-78)Science fiction helps us see doors rather than only walls. An observation. Many of the reviews of Zen in the Art of Writing are in Arabic, where he seems to be resonating with readers and writers. I'm not sure what this means, but it's interesting. I'm not surprised he resonates there, but Zen in the Art of Writing deserves to resonate to the same degree here.

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