This delightful small work, written in 1990, has the tagline “Essays on Creativity”. You know Ray Bradbury, right? Author of Fahrenheit 451, and The Martian Chronicles, plus lot of other work in sci fi and the weird stories categories.
It is a collection of pieces on the topic of writing, one of the most delightful being his thoughts on a creative person’s muse, how to attract one and keep one. His writing is poetic and lyrical and even if you don’t give a greasy enchilada about the craft of writing, you should read it just for the joy of the words.
I am not going to give you a bunch of quotes here, because the book is short enough that I want you to read it for yourself. There is some wonderful advice in it about how to write; but it all boils down to observe, observe, observe, write, write, write.
Oh, OK. One quote, about people telling their personal stories.
As we can learn from every man or woman or child around us when, touched and moved, they tell of something they loved or hated this day, yesterday, or some other day long past. At a given moment, the fuse, after sputtering wetly, flares, and the fireworks begin.
On, it’s limping crude hard work for many, with language in their way. But I have heard farmers tell about their very first wheat crop on their first farm after moving from another state, and if it wasn’t Robert Frost talking, it was his cousin, five times removed. I have heard locomotive engineers talk about America in the tones of Thomas Wolfe who rode our country with his style as they ride it in their steel. I have heard mothers tell of the long night with their firstborn when they were afraid they they and the baby might die. And I have heard my grandmother speak of her first ball when she was seventeen. and they were all, when their souls grew warm, poets.
I urge you, if you love words, and love a pretty turn of phrase, and love how thoughts can morph from great lumpen things into graceful arcs of ethereal beauty, to read this book. You can even get it free, here.