Saturday, July 11, 2015

Zen in the Art of Writing

Zen in the Art of WritingZen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sum it up in a sentence (or two): Ray Bradbury shares his writing advice sprinkled in with a history of his writing/publishing endeavors.

First thoughts: Not the most enlightening writing book I've read by a respected author (that honor probably goes to Stephen King), but I got a few useful tidbits out of it. I wish Bradbury's intro lasted longer and he spent less time heralding the creation of his many stories. Maybe if I was strictly a Bradbury fan I would care, but I checked Zen out for the writing part, not the stories behind the stories part.

Differences: Lots of comparisons have been made between Zen and King's On Writing. My take: King is self-effacing. Bradbury is self-congratulatory.

Favorite quotes (there are actually quite a few, once you get past the schmaltz):
"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." -pxii

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

"The first thing a writer should be is - excited." -p4

"What are the best things and the worst things in your life, and when are you going to get around to whispering or shouting them?" -p5

"Do not...turn away from what you are - the material within you which makes you individual, and therefore indispensable to others." p42

"We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled.
The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." -p120

Final thoughts: Again, I would've liked more of the preface and less of the self-involved essays. While a few behind-the-scenes anecdotes were interesting, I'm not sure if this book was the place for them.

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