Zen in the Art of Writing - Ray Bradbury
Zen in the Art of WritingI find myself reviewing another book with the words 'The Art of' in the title.

This is a curious but very interesting book which came as something of a surprise. Those of you familiar with Ray Bradbury's work will probably know him for his novels and short stories, often with a science fiction theme.

In this book Ray talks of the creative process. The book is actually a collection of essays written over a period of over twenty years. Though he describes creativity directed at the process of writing, the lessons and ideas have a much broader relevance.

Ray reveals some how-to's including the simple idea of capturing key words to describe ideas in a notebook. He describes how sometimes these key words have lay dormant in his notebook, even for decades, before they have been the spark for a story, almost as if as keys they waited for him to realise the ideas they represented.

For me however the main feature revealed is the immense passion associated with creativity. The book exudes this passion through the use of sometimes exquisite language which captures the essence of a life of creative change.

“I have not so much thought my way through life, as done things and found out what it was and who I was after doing it.”

On later realising why he chose particular names for characters in a story, he writes "What a sly thing my subconscious was to name them thus. And not to tell me,"

On ideas he writes "I'd thought that you could beat, pummel and thrash an idea into existence. Under such treatment, of course any decent idea folds up its paws, turns on its back, fixes its eyes on eternity and dies."

This isn't the usual management fare at all, but I offer it as something to read that captures something of the true magic of creativity. Enjoy the feeling as new neurons are sparked into life by its messages and style of approach.

Steve Unwin
April 2006.