Ray Bradbury told an audience at the San Diego Comic Con in 2010 that the secret to life is being in love—in love with life, with who you are and what you do. It was something the great writer reiterated in the documentary film A Conversation with Ray Bradbury.
“The things that you do should be the things that you love; and things that you love should be things that you do.”
It’s sound advice from a writer who said he was as a “Zen Buddhist” from the moment he was born.
“I live in the middle of existence, there are no perimeters, all I have to do is be.”
Bradbury also said something similar about writing: “Don’t think about things, just do them.” He believed over intellectualizing damaged the creative force.
“I never went to college — I don’t believe in college for writers. The thing is very dangerous. I believe too many professors are too opinionated and too snobbish and too intellectual, and the intellect is a great danger to creativity … because you begin to rationalize and make up reasons for things, instead of staying with your own basic truth — who you are, what you are, what you want to be. I’ve had a sign over my typewriter for over 25 years now, which reads ‘Don’t think!’ You must never think at the typewriter — you must feel. Your intellect is always buried in that feeling anyway.”
Bradbury also described himself as a “Martian” and he advocated for the colonization of the Moon, with ambitions to populate Mars in 300 to 400 years time. From Mars, he hoped humans would travel on to the outward reaches of the universe. He was pleased that so many NASA astronauts had been inspired by reading his fictions. In the same way, Bradbury himself had been inspired to write by reading Edgar Rice Burroughs, Edgar Allan Poe, the Prince Valiant comics, and the poet Alexander Pope.
He loathed the Internet, and had no truck with eBooks or on-line publishers, claiming books were not just filled with great stories, but were important receptacles for our senses (the feel of the paper, the scent of the page), that kept safe good memories. Something the digital world, he believed, fails to do.
As can be seen from this conversation, Ray Bradbury was one of those very precious writers, whose infectious enthusiasm for life inspires and makes everything just that little bit better.