Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Live at Fever Pitch"

A few nights ago, I had the great pleasure of spending about 60 mins watching an invigorating YouTube video where author, Ray Bradbury, talks to beginning writers about writing. But he didn't just talk about writing. He talked about life. About living it with passion. He talked about doing what you love.

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
Spending 1,000 nights filling your head with ideas, with metaphors, with experience, with words, will help us shape our own. It will help us dig into our own sub-conscious, our own experiences and buckets of metaphors. It will expand our voice.

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


  1. Fabulous - thank you for sharing!

  2. Love this! I'll have to make some time to sit and watch the video, it sounds amazing. I've read ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING by Bradbury, fantastic book! Now I'm inspired to check out more. Thank you Becky! <3

    1. Oh, I am going to have to buy that book, Bonnie! Thank you for telling me about it. ;)

      Hope all is going well with you. :) <3

  3. Hi Becky, I only have time for one little 'inspiration' today so I chose to read your post. Thanks!! Your notes are informative, entertaining(some days I crave a little bit of irreverance among word usage) and yes, even inspirational. I will do some reading and a bit of writing before I crawl under my pink sheets tonight. Next spurt will be to watch the video. I do need to kick it up a knotch with writing skills on my blog. I love your tips! If you get time, now that you are famous and award winning,(said with a smile)can you stop by and give me a few bits of personal advise/observation? I can handle it! Still so pumped about your new award badge! Sending good vibes from the Minnesota winter to help you feel a cool breeze. Becky

    1. HI Becky!
      I am SO sorry it has taken so long to reply to you. I actually have tried a few times, but each time, my browser froze!

      Anyway - I really love your blog and your photos. I will stop by soon and give you some personal advice if you really want it, but not to sure I'm too qualified to do so!!

      Thank you for all your good Minnesotan vibes! :)

  4. Hi Becky, thank you so much for this great post. It took me a few attempts to watch this video completely, but once I did manage to watch it all I found it to be very inspiring. I love how Ray talks about doing the things we love and loving the things we do. That is what I'm doing with my writing/blogging. I really have little clue as to what I'm doing or any writing rules, yet I'm having so much fun and I was thrilled to hear him say that it's all about having fun. Now I know I am doing what feels right and the rest will come eventually where I will learn to become a much better writer. Probably a lot of that will come from his prescription for me in a 1,000 nights of reading poetry, an essay, and a short story. I'm going to get started with one thing and build up from there. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Suzanne! I agree: it's so cool listening to him talk about how what we do should bring us joy and be fun. I loved that also. :-) It validates what we're doing, I think, doesn't it?

      I tried to follow the prescription for a few nights, but after about 5 nights, I didn't keep it up. I like your idea of narrowing it down a bit: maybe staring off with just poetry or just essays or just short stories. ;) Or just one of those a night! lol

      Thank you!


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