bradbury-338x300Part VI of my series on books that have influenced me as a writer.

Bradbury, Ray. The Zen in the Art of Writing. Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1990. Print.

As so many of Bradbury’s words, The Zen in the Art of Writing is an electric tour through the heart and mind of a writer as he explores his craft. This is a collection of loosely-connected essays that has provided me with great advice on construction of story. It has also given me a collection a lines which I still return to for clarity about the writing life. Bradbury defines writing as “to gently lie and prove the lie true.” (xv) He describes the great writers of the past as “the children of the gods. They knew fun in their work. No matter if creation came hard here and there along the way, or what illnesses and tragedies touched their most private lives.” (2) He challenges writers to write with passion: “If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer . . . You are not being yourself. You don’t even know yourself. For the first thing a writer should be is—excited. Without such vigor, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches.” (4) And we’re only on page four at that point! This is book I return to when I hunger to find the passion in writing. Even a few pages of this short work has me standing at my desk shouting to the heavens, “I’m a writer and with my words, I’ll take the world!”