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Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity Third Edition/Expanded Paperback – Aug 1 1993
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Top Customer Reviews
Bradbury (who turns 82 this year) is a writer of enormous output. In this series of essays, the author lets us in on many of his secrets, but the bottom line is this: If you love what you do, and are excited about it, nothing can stop you. Much of Bradbury's writing is connected with his childhood experiences and memories, which allows him to jump into writing like a kid jumping into a swimming pool on a hot summer day. Bradbury recounts many of his writing experiences and influences in the book and they are all fascinating. I can't imagine any writer (or lover of stories) who would not enjoy this book. It can be read in an afternoon, but savored for a lifetime. Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for a real treasure.
Many writers have put out many memoirs about their writing lives. They've done a good job of covering the "what" (their subject matter, genre, form, influences) and the "how" (techniques, style, business, schedules), but none have done better than Bradbury at getting to the meat of the "why" of writing. I'm returning to writing after a long absence caused in part by the fact that it just became a drudgery every single day. After dabbling again for a while, I picked up this book and remembered why, as a child, I was drawn to writing in the first place. Bradbury was truly an artist.
I bought this book in Miami Beach. I picked it from among other writing-related books when I opened it and saw a chapter entitled "Drunk, and in Charge of a Bicycle."
This book is not about writing mechanics or technique. It forces you to face two absolute requirements for being a writer:
(1) You must love to write and do it every day, and
(2) You must use your own voice.
According to the author, the desire for fame, money, or literary elitism is as useless as a computer without software. (I would suggest that it's more like a program without a computer. Whatever.)
The last chapter, and the concluding poems, are inspiring. Mr. Bradbury knows that writers despise untruths. I finished his book in two evenings. When I put it down I said, "Yeah." Next morning I would be up dark and early. Writing is hard. Everything else is harder.
And it's all because of books like this.
Zen in the Art of Writing is classic Bradbury: the crisp, short sentences, the vivid mental imagery, the amazing insights into his own writings -- all of it. This book uplifts me, moves me and fills me with awe.
It is, without a doubt, the best book on writing I have ever read.
Why? Because what he shares seems as pertinent to me as if he wrote it FOR me. Example: Page 17. One day, he discovered that his story titles were nothing more than a list of nouns, such as The Lake. The Night. The Monster. The Town Clock. The Carousel. The Crowd.
Such simplicity. Yet, after reading this book I found myself creating my own mental list of titles the same way. Suddenly, just about anything seemed ripe for a story, and infused with some hidden, dark meaning.
The Man on the Corner. The Empty Room. The Ten Foot Oak Tree. The Noise in the Basement. The Tea Leaf. The Knight and the Bishop.
I don't know why it works for me, but it does. Each of those "titles" (that I just came up with as I'm writing this) could be fleshed out into a story. For some reason, when I see things as nouns, my imagination is uncorked and I begin to feel the urge to explore the thoughts invoked.
Try it sometime.
Another example: The chapter "How to Keep and Feed a Muse." Priceless. Magical. He shares ways to awaken the sleeping giant within...and set pen to paper with stellar results.
If you're a writer, you need this book. If you're a lover of Bradbury, you need this book. If you just want to know how one of the 20th century's most lauded authors achieved that status, you need this book.Read more ›
This is really a collection of essays, mostly from introductions to other books. However, don't let that detract from their message. To write you must, simply, write. Write until it hurts, and don't stop just because you feel insecure.
Bradbury's style won't work for everyone. He uses free-association to begin his stories. He simply types a word and goes from there. Not all of us can do that, but his passion and love for his work comes through the pages. He also encourages writers to find their own voice through practice, and to write until grammar and story structure become unconscious.
This is a relatively quick read and one that will remain with you long after you finish it.
"Now, go, and do likewise."
Most recent customer reviews
The thinking person's alternative to any self-help writing book by other well-known authors.
Ray Bradbury is eminently qualified to spin such a work and he does so elegantly... Read more
I just recently picked up a copy of this book and having read others like "Writing Down The Bones" by Goldberg and "Becoming A Writer" by Brande. Read morePublished on Aug. 3 2001 by Kristi
As a writer, this has helped me immensely find that creativity that I had never lost, merely scared off and misplaced. Kudos to Bradbury, a true artist in the field.Published on June 3 2000 by Lexy Wolfe
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