The road ends, but the journey continues...

Ray's Zen

One hot, humid evening, late last summer, I scrounged the few books I had left on my bookshelves (in my passive-packing,* some of the first items to be packed were ‘books I can do without for now’). I spied my paperback copy of Ray Bradbury’s, Zen in the Art of Writing, and promptly plucked it from the shelf. Thumbing through the pages, I realized its time had come for a re-read.
A compilation of essays Mr. Bradbury wrote at various times about creativity and the act of creating, this is a book I picked up in the late 90’s and wrote on the title page “…deciding to write notes in the margins of this book…3/2000.” How cool to do a re-read with my own ‘notes’ alongside this book as well.
Before beginning my re-read, I skimmed through the various essays and noticed those handwritten notes ended after the essay titled, Just This Side of Byzantium: Dandelion Wine. I don’t remember why I stopped there but I do know that those ‘notes’ were written during a very dynamic time in my life. Perhaps quitting there was more an indication of satisfaction in what I had already read, or maybe just that I had reached the essay which discussed my favorite novel of his, Dandelion Wine.
No matter.
I do know that I whenever I read such essays I substitute any specific genre of the arts reference with my catch-all word, (he)art. In this case from Ray’s point of view, writer is replaced in my reading mind with, (he)artist.
Here’s a quote from the first few pages of this compilation of essays with my replacement word inserted after the slash.

 “…if you are a writer/(he)artist without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer/(he)artist.…How long has it been since you wrote a story where your real love or your real hatred somehow got onto the paper? When was the last time you dared release a cherished prejudice so it slammed the page like a lightning bolt? 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?”
~Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

Life seems more complicated now with social media spouting out meanness in the name of ‘passion’, but (he)art is (he)art – a very different thing altogether.
Ray’s admonition must not be ignored by us creationists (interesting use of that word,no?)
…regardless of what the twitterers are twittering about!

Use your gift, (he)artists!

*update forthcoming on hold until after COVID-19 plays out?

26 Comments

  1. Andy

    I’ve read a few Bradbury novels but never this-thank you I will seek this out.
    The last book I read about writing was Stephen King’s, well, On Writing!

  2. Mary J Puckett

    I would amend that to “use your gift for good”. I like Ray Bradbury, too.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, in this day and age, that implication needs to be listed out as you have just done, Zippy!

  3. Marie

    Oh, boy, more books to read! One reason why I find it hard to let go of books is because I also make notes in the margins. It’s a fun way to reminisce…at least when my notes make sense

    • laura bruno lilly

      HA! Yeah, a few I had to think real hard about what I meant…Nice to meet another margin-note writer!

  4. tierneycreates

    Well I never heard of that Ray Bradberry book before and I want to check it out! I hope this works I always have trouble liking and responding to your post I don’t know what’s going on with my WordPress

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks Tierney for persevering on making a comment here…if you ever want to get through to me and WP doesn’t work for you, feel free to use the Contact form on the Contact page and I’ll send on my real e-address.
      Meanwhile, it seems many have never heard of this particular RB book…so you’re in good company!
      Stay safe/well.

  5. Mariss Stevens

    Your post and the quotation from Zen and the Art of Writing has made me pause. Ah yes, gusto. What a lovely word and what a boon if one has it. It seems to be easier to conjure when playing with fabric. Words are more difficult, slippery, recalcitrant when one is trying to write IMHO.
    I like your use of the word creationist. Another one for creating art is maker. Hmmm, interesting

    • laura bruno lilly

      Glad to pass on the inspiration from Mr. Bradbury…and introduce a ‘new’ word to describe the maker community.
      I expect you’re doing a lot of ‘making’ during these current ‘nesting’ times, eh?
      Stay well.

      • Mariss Stevens

        Yes, stitching away. Also doing more reading. (Sorry for the late reply — for some reason your comments don’t land in my WordPress or email inbox.)

        • laura bruno lilly

          Thanks for letting me know! Please keep me informed on this via personal email especially if it continues. I’ve read on some other blogs I follow they’re having the same problems so maybe these glitches will be resolved by WP? We’ll see, right?

  6. Janis

    I thought that I had read all of Bradbury’s books, but I guess not. Although I shudder at the thought of writing in any book other than a textbook (it’s a phobia I’ve had since childhood), I love that you were able to reread the thoughts of the way back you. Much (he)art to you!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Much different than re-reading old journals, ya know?
      (He)art back atchya, Janis!

  7. Jill Weatherholt

    I’m glad to hear you saved Ray’s book, Laura. It’s definitely one to revisit again and again.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Good books are like that, aren’t they?
      Stay well, dear one.

  8. Marty

    I really, really, REALLY like how you’ve appropriated “creationists” for your own purpose here. Well done. Seriously. 😉
    This is the second blog I’ve read in as many days about notes (or letters) found from years before. It, of course, is spawning something in my own head, which is what bloggers are supposed to do for one another. So thank you. It must have been quite something to read those 20-year-old notes from yourself!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yeah, us bloggers do do that!
      Oh, and BTW: I’m really, really really happy you got the whole ‘creationist’ word-thing…
      😎

  9. Ally Bean

    I feel like the word ‘passion’ is being used as an excuse now, as if one cannot rise above his or her emotions to do the right thing for many people. I like thinking of a writer as a heartest. That’s clever and a more generous way to engage with your passion.

  10. Laura

    Terrific quote that you have chosen to share, Laura! I admit, I have not used passion enough in the various aspects of my life! I really ought to slow down and figure out a few things. 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Getting after those UFOs like you are is a great start!!!!

  11. Jane Chesebrough

    It would be great to get these time down on paper, so I will dig out my journal, which is still packed from the bed bug crisis after being in the freezer a few days. What a great quote from Ray Bradbury! I like “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg as well, Have a good day.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Actually the ‘bed bug crisis’ life situation (ick, poor you) would make for a great segue into our ‘new normal’ crisis…write (and click photos) on, girl!

  12. L. Marie

    Amen to that, Laura! What a great quote by Ray Bradbury! Creation without passion usually generates a tepid response. As many know, you have to bleed on the page or whatever you’re creating. I struggle over some stories because they cut deep as I’m writing them.

    • laura bruno lilly

      …thank you for ‘using your gift’, L.Marie…

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