Saturday, June 09, 2012

Live Forever!

"Zest. Gusto. How rarely one hears these words used. How rarely do we see people living, or for that matter, creating by them. Yet if I were asked to name the most important items in a writer's make-up, the things that shape his material and rush him along the road to where he wants to go, I could only warn him to look to his zest, see to his gusto."

That's the start of Ray Bradbury's essay "The Joy of Writing," in which the master reveals how he did it. Actually, and in words more poetic than this, he distills writing down to this: If you love to write, and you want to be a good writer, then write. Write every day, and keep writing until you get good at it.

I've been tinkering around the edges of a book called The Imaginary Revolution for, oh, at least four years, when I assigned the tale to the works of my erstwhile alter ego, B.W. Richardson. But truth to tell the story has been in my mind a lot longer than that. For it to still be in my mind and not out in the world on the day Ray Bradbury died – Ray, to whom my lead character's name is an obvious homage – is not just embarrassing, it's shameful. Because this is the kind of story I have wanted to tell all my life.

"Live Forever!" said Mr. Electrico to young Ray Bradbury, and the books are how he will fulfill that directive. Another way is through the thousands of writers who became writers inspired by the zest and gusto in his work.

I always thought I would write an essay when Ray Bradbury's mortal vessel finally ran out of steam, but a better idea came to me. For several weeks I considered telling the story of the Imaginary Revolution through the words of Raymond Kaliber himself, and not as a novel but as a series of blog posts. Still, I let the idea just sit there in my mind. Sitting down to write this week, I realized the world does not need another essay about how great and influential a writer Ray Bradbury was. The way to celebrate the life of Ray Bradbury is to write, write every day, and keep writing until I get good at it.

Wednesday, I learned Bradbury was dead.

Thursday, I launched the blog.

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