“I started writing every day. I never stopped.” -Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury and me at the Festival of Books, 2007 (I think)

Nano is going, and Ray Bradbury died today. It strikes me that the story I’m currently writing has something to do with the kind of stories that he wrote, and he has everything to do with the kind of stories that I love. I still remember picking The Martian Chronicles out of a paperback rack, interested in the golden cover; reading the book took me out of my life in the best way possible. Then there was just the concept of The Illustrated Man: the vagrant with the living tattoos: “Sometimes at night I can feel them, the pictures, like ants, crawling on my skin. Then I know they’re doing what they have to do. I never look at them any more. I just try to rest. I don’t sleep much. Don’t look at them either, I warn you.” Dark addictive stuff.

So, to celebrate the body of his work, some Bradbury quotables:

“Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.”

“Important thing is not the me that’s lying here, but the me that’s sitting on the edge of the bed looking back at me, and the me that’s downstairs cooking supper, or out in the garage under the car, or in the library reading. All the new parts, they count. I’m not really dying today. No person ever died that had a family.” -grandmother, Dandelion Wine

“Make me feel.”

Really close to home so will be a short entry. Attended a talk given by Jane Espenson at work today; I learned a couple of things. 

1. I was able to concentrate best on what she was saying while I played a bubble shooter game on my phone. If I tried to do the polite thing and actually stare at her while she spoke, I started getting twitchy and thinking about her hairstyle…the spot on the wall behind her…the shade of her pants…the color of the microphone…on and on. I think it’s because I’m actually quite visually oriented as a person, so if my eyes aren’t occupied by an ongoing semi-dull but some-focus-required task, I will get crazy schizo and my interest will drift. I heard what she said so much better while I was playing my game. Perhaps this is the same principle as doodling. But I don’t really attend lectures anymore the same way I did in school, so very few opportunities to confirm this hypothesis.
2. She described the Joss Whedon storytelling technique as “1) make me feel 2) get something across 3) this has to affect the protagonist” and a few others that I’m forgetting. Oh yes, something about putting sadness in humor and humor in sadness. To quote Cheryl Strayed, “a bit of sully in your sweet.” I must review the video when it goes up on YouTube. But it struck me as important and probably good to know for all different sorts of storytelling.