Ray Bradbury on Writing

Ray Bradbury wrote one of my favorite quotes ever–I had it framed and it was in my classroom when I taught 7th & 8th grade and in my office for the decade I taught freshman comp at Penn State. It makes me smile whenever I read it (especially the part about sniffing books like perfume and wearing them like hats) and I’d like to share it with you.

To sum it all up, if you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling.

You must write every single day of your life.

You must write dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next.

You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfume and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.

I wish for you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime.

I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you.

May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories–science fiction or otherwise.

Which means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.

(Ray Bradbury, “How to Be Madder Than Captain Ahab.” Quoted by William Safire and Leonard Safir in Good Advice on Writing. Simon & Schuster, 1992)

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