Ray Bradbury on Life, Writing and Love
Bradbury’s vibrant personality tells us of how he fell in love with literature for the first time and how books can teach us about love.
We all know Ray Bradbury. And if we don’t, we all should. Beyond his books —which are always eloquent references to the most important human subjects— there is this vibrant character that infects the world with good humor. Bradbury reinvigorates all the common, carpe diem places one hears about all the time. His advice is not a series of self-help suggestions, but imperatives to lead a fuller and healthier life. “The things you do must be the things you love, and the things you love must be the things you do,” he categorically states throughout his interviews.
If you’re going through one of those vague apathetic or disinterested moments, we recommend you watch this entire televised interview. His way of describing how he fell in love with books when he was a child can cure any symptom of everyday weariness. “When you go to a library”, he says, “it’s not the books that are waiting for you. Its people. All those people are waiting for you to read them and become them. If you read Charles Dickens, you become Charles Dickens.” Then, in the same way, if we read Bradbury, we are Ray Bradbury, and there must be few things more exciting than becoming him.
In another interview, Bradbury simply describes his creative process, and while at it he shares a detailed list with methods that we can easily imitate to make the most of our imagination:
The moment I have an idea I put it down on paper. When you go back to paper and read what you wrote you realize what you really think about something. […] If we act these tensions out we are constantly cleaning the river, as if it was an impurity in a river flowing down the mountain: when it’s travelled for 9 miles its pure. This is also the life of a man as it travels to the sea —our inevitable death, some day— purifies itself. It has to. Because if you do not purify it, these tensions remain inside and they turn against you… they destroy you.
Bradbury’s philosophy is so similar to Tao, Zen and children’s behavior that it has to be valuable. He encourages us to laugh when we think something is funny, to cry when we feel like it, to let our anger out when the moment calls for it.
A man who cannot laugh is a sick man. A man who cannot cry and free his tears is a sick man. A man who cannot be violent (through exercise, sports, painting, writing or acting) is a sick man.
Thus we have to laugh, cry and feel whatever the moment calls for, so that we our emotions don’t become fossils, and so that we do not crumble apart afterwards, like a pile of rocks.
“Everything we have in this world is our work”, Bradbury states. “We only belong when we do, we only have when we do, and we only love when we do. And if you wanted an interpretation of life and love, that’s as close as I’ll ever get”.
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