Tag Archives: ray bradbury

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury Title: Zen in the Art of Writing
Author: Ray Bradbury
Publisher: Joshua Odell Editions
ISBN: 9781877741098
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 176
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

Writing is not easy. Writing is not difficult either. It is perhaps the single most surreal experience. I write as well but not as often as I would like to. I keep stalling it. I do not put pen to paper when I should. I think most of the time I am just scared of how it will turn out. I am not confident of my skills and I should not doubt myself anyway but I do. Maybe that is why there are writers out there and then there are some of us who could learn a lesson or two from their lives.

“Zen in the Art of Writing” by Ray Bradbury was one book that I was waiting to read since a very long time. I wanted to but it ended up being just too expensive to pick up, till I finally did at the Flipkart Big Book Sale – BookMarkit at about eighty-four rupees.

What is this book? Why did I want to read it?

Well, for one this book is about writing by the master himself, Ray Bradbury. It is a collection of eleven essays and all centered on the craft and art of writing. Bradbury is one of my favourite writers. I think I have read almost everything that he has written, so there was no way that I was not going to read this one. Reading this book made me see my writer in a different light. It made me appreciate his craft a lot more than I would have done, had I not read this book.

What does Mr. Bradbury do in this book?

He takes on the process of writing. He urges people to go out there and write. He speaks of his experiences with writing and how that helped him become what he is – a celebrated writer. Ray Bradbury talks of how he listed nouns one after the other and they became ideas for his short stories and the very titles of his stories. The core of the book is also about how he came upon ideas for his stories and books and how to become a writer you cannot let go of your imagination and spirit.

There is a lot to take away from this book on writing than there is perhaps in any other book. Ray analyzes writing not as work but love and how that can enrich the creative process. There are lessons on success and failure and how it will not be easy for a writer all the time (although it does seem quite simple in today’s time and age given every second person is a writer). He takes apart the concept of muse, of how the writer should let ideas be and let ideas chase him, of how important it is to write and not have guidelines such as “I will write thousand words a day” and many more that an emerging writer can contemplate and work on.

All said and done, I highly recommend this book not just to writers but for everyone who might want to know how to live life.

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Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity, Expanded

387 Days of Short Stories: Day 2: Story 2: The Whole Town is Sleeping by Ray Bradbury

Title: The Whole Town is Sleeping
Ray Bradbury
Taken From: Dandelion Wine
First Published: 1950s

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury always knows how to do it best. His stories are not all science fiction oriented and neither are they all based in fear or supernatural. He somehow knows how to evoke fear in simple words and plot. Bradbury’s stories evoke terror like no other. This was again the second time I was reading this story and it managed to have the same effect on me, like it did earlier.

“The Whole Town’s Sleeping” is about a town and a murderer who is haunting its women – the Lonely One they call him and it is the story of an evening where three single women head out to watch a film, knowing that the Lonely One is out and large and it is of the consequences of being out, while the whole town is sleeping.

As usual, with all his stories, Bradbury creates an element of suspense. The scene and the atmosphere are created till the very end of the story and bam, there is a punch-line waiting for the reader. The ravine and its monstrosity are depicted stunningly and so is the night and the scenes – the lonely clock, the moon, the drugstore and the cinema hall are macabrely described. The reader’s imagination goes on to a different level while reading this story and I would urge everyone again to read this story.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

It’s the temperature at which paper burns said the first page of the book and I knew it having read it earlier, and yet I chose this book to be re-read. It has only instilled my faith further in the power of words and what can they do. Writers such as Bradbury and Orwell who have written on the totalitarian society and how a group of people stand and fight it, may be somewhere at some point done the same and that is what which amazes me.

I first read this novella (190 pages and yes I am aware that the technical definition would not allow it to be classified it as a novella, however I chose to call it that) when I was 16 and was enthralled by it. Guy Montag’s transformation from a fireman who burns books and takes pleasure in it to the one who savors the written word and wants to save books and thereby his soul is brilliant. Bradbury did not dream the future when he wrote Fahrenheit 451, the future actually was here. Right now. Look around you. Aren’t we burning books by banning them anyway? I am sure in certain parts of the world people are not at liberty to read (Afghanistan being one such place). I wonder how my life would be if someone were to barge in my house and burn down my books. I would either kill myself or the person in the bargain. It would be the latter in all probability.

What I loved about the book this time, is that I understood the layers involved, which I hadn’t earlier. It is not only about book censorship, it is about censorship period. The part in the book when Guy is raving mad at a bunch of women who think nothing beyond their husbands and “families” who can now be viewed on huge TV Screens and how he reads poetry to them and one of the women starts crying. I would like to believe that the tears were for a lost tradition amongst them. That of reading. The joy of thinking. The freedom to speak without editing a word.

I can say one thing though – Books can never be extinct. Try as you might. Try hard if you will. Just try.