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Posts tagged "ray bradbury"

Feb 04, 2013


“Writer—Dan Chaon”  directed by Ted Sikora.   Disturbing revelations throughout!  

Nice video of Dan talking about his correspondence with Ray Bradbury, the midwest landscape, the pain of throwing away writing, and using autobiography in fiction.

He really pays forward the generosity he received from Bradbury — I used to live in his neighborhood in Cleveland and he was way nicer to me than I deserved, having coffee with me a few times and inviting me to events at Oberlin. It really meant a lot.

Oh, and he’s a fucking awesome writer. If you like novels, get Await Your Reply, if you like short stories, get his new book, Stay Awake.

Jul 26, 2012

A bag of nouns

In my favorite writing book, What It Is, Lynda Barry explains how to make a “Word Bag”—a word bag is basically just a bunch of nouns that you write down and stuff in a bag and pull out randomly when you need to begin a piece of writing and you’re not sure where to start. (Here’s Lynda, taking you through the exercise.)

Turns out, this is pretty much how Ray Bradbury got started, too.


In Zen in the Art of Writing, you wrote that early on in your career you made lists of nouns as a way to generate story ideas: the Jar, the Cistern, the Lake, the Skeleton. Do you still do this?


Not as much, because I just automatically generate ideas now. But in the old days I knew I had to dredge my subconscious, and the nouns did this. I learned this early on. Three things are in your head: First, everything you have experienced from the day of your birth until right now. Every single second, every single hour, every single day. Then, how you reacted to those events in the minute of their happening, whether they were disastrous or joyful. Those are two things you have in your mind to give you material. Then, separate from the living experiences are all the art experiences you’ve had, the things you’ve learned from other writers, artists, poets, film directors, and composers. So all of this is in your mind as a fabulous mulch and you have to bring it out. How do you do that? I did it by making lists of nouns and then asking, What does each noun mean? You can go and make up your own list right now and it would be different than mine. The night. The crickets. The train whistle. The basement. The attic. The tennis shoes. The fireworks. All these things are very personal. Then, when you get the list down, you begin to word-associate around it. You ask, Why did I put this word down? What does it mean to me? Why did I put this noun down and not some other word? Do this and you’re on your way to being a good writer. You can’t write for other people. You can’t write for the left or the right, this religion or that religion, or this belief or that belief. You have to write the way you see things. I tell people, Make a list of ten things you hate and tear them down in a short story or poem. Make a list of ten things you love and celebrate them. When I wrote Fahrenheit 451 I hated book burners and I loved libraries. So there you are.

Jun 15, 2012

Reading advice from Ray Bradbury in the May 1971 Wilson Library Bulletin (via)

Reading advice from Ray Bradbury in the May 1971 Wilson Library Bulletin (via)

Jun 06, 2012
If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape.
— Ray Bradbury (via criterioncollection)

(via adamnorwood)

Jun 07, 2010
I’m completely library educated. I’ve never been to college….You can’t learn to write in college. It’s a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do—and they don’t. They have prejudices. They may like Henry James, but what if you don’t want to write like Henry James? They may like John Irving, for instance, who’s the bore of all time. A lot of the people whose work they’ve taught in the schools for the last thirty years, I can’t understand why people read them and why they are taught. The library, on the other hand, has no biases. The information is all there for you to interpret. You don’t have someone telling you what to think. You discover it for yourself.
— Ray Bradbury, from an interview with The Paris Review (via)

Jun 19, 2009
Libraries raised me….I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.
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