I'm currently finishing up Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. There's no doubt about it: I'm a huge maven of the much-missed man. He wrote Fahrenheit 451 in nine days which just leaves me saucer-eyed, numb of tongue, and fully flattened.
I do get the sense that, very early on in his life, Mr. Bradbury bravely removed all of his writers' tools from his capacious arsenal and dismantled the wall between the Idea Place in his head and the piece of paper in his typewriter. Speedily dismantled, I imagine, in one glorious, dust-making blow. All of his opinions and fancies and turns of phrase flow with such pizazz and bounce that you feel as if he's right there, talking to you and not censoring a damn thing.
This is a trait in writing I admire and aim for myself. I want to write like I think, or talk, even. Well, I apply some final polish and a bit of snip-snip, of course, because otherwise the result is just a big ol' messy thought splat on the page. But harnessing the energy and fizz and effervescence that is in all of our heads when we think thoughts is a good aim for anyone who writes anything. And attempting to deliver that energy to the page, and deliver it fairly unfettered, is always my end game.
You know those long metal tongs that people in Hazmat suits wield when they're gently moving a test tube or vial of steamy gooey matter? That's how I like to pretend I move my ideas from brain to book. I move stuff from one place to another without mucking with it more than I must. Not that it is so precious or perfect -- ha ha ha, wiping my eyes, ohhhh no -- just I don't want to create too many false roadblocks along a story's route.
I KNOW. I'm practically Walter Mitty some days, with the ridickity fantasies. But we should all honor our most baroque daydreams, as they help us illustrate our daily tasks but in dramatic, often silly, totally fun form. Ultimately, I believe a little outlandish daydreaming helps us greet our everyday to-dos with more enthusiasm and funky flair.
So, what's on your fall reading list?
I want to read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which sounds right up my alley. Also, I still need to get Eleanor & Park, which I hear is so charming and romantic and smart and I want all of that in my hands now.
Bill Bryson, who is waaaaay up there in my pantheon of Writers I Gush Over Who Do That Thing Where How They Write Seems To Be How They Talk, has a book coming out all about the summer of 1927. What!? I like this book and I haven't even read it yet. It is reaching out to me and making me like it ahead of it actually being published. Truth.
And Gail Carriger has a new book coming out, too: Curtsies & Conspiracies. The world she's created, in and out of her books, is jewel-box exquisite and perfectly realized. She answered a tweet of mine, too, last year, regarding a steampunk exhibit here in California! Heart palpitations.
So, what books will you try out this autumn? Or spring, of course? (Hi, Melbourne!)