He says he never worked a day in his life because he only did what brought him joy: writing.
Not only was I completely amazed that I had good enough internet connection - FOR AN HOUR! - to watch this video (I usually get 3 minutes max with YouTube!), I was blown away by Bradbury. I admit. I now have a big literary crush. On Bradbury.
I also have to admit that I actually haven't read his works...yet. (Cringy face.) I'm feeling ashamed of this after watching how impressive he was. He's down-to-earth. He talks about metaphor (oh, that's a fast way to get my heart pounding). He is true. I loved listening to his wisdom. I could've watched several more hours.
I began taking notes. I filled up a greeting card envelope with quotes. He said,
"Writing is a joy and celebration. Ignore authors who say it is hard work. To hell with that!"
Don't you love that?!
That's how it should be with everything, though, isn't it? We should feel joyous and alive. We are meant to. We should LOVE what we do. "Live at fever pitch," says Bradbury.
Some of his writing advice was to not start out as a novelist. He suggests spending a year writing one short story a week. That's 52 short stories. He promises that there will be a good story within those 52.
It's about practicing.
He suggests reading the following every night for 1,000 nights before going to sleep:
- One essay (on anything and to be sure to vary the subject matter)
- A poem (classics. He doesn't think modern poets are poets. I don't agree.)
- A short story
The idea that writers *must* read (a lot!) is not new. All authors and teachers say this. But I love that he gives a little prescription for it.
The last four nights, I've followed his prescription. I've dreamed of poetry and words.
A couple days ago, I wrote a metered, rhymed poem (lyrics, really) for the first time ever. (I don't actually feel a kinship with metered or rhymed poetry.) But I read metered, rhymed poetry before I fell asleep, so my mind must've been swirling with iambic pentameter. My lyrics might be a piece of shit, but at least I wrote something!
Another part I loved in the lecture was the idea that when you're doing what you love, what you're meant to be doing, you meet people you're destined to meet. Magic happens. Love that. And I believe that to be true.
Sadly, Bradbury passed away a few months ago. But at least we have the legacy of YouTube videos to learn from him. Nah, that's not true. We'll learn the most about him and from him by reading his short stories, his plays, his scripts, his novels, his poetry.
If you have about an hour to get completely blown away, watch him here. You won't regret it.
An Evening with Ray Bradbury, Point Loma Nazarene University. 2001