The Art of writing

I’m focusing this week–on my blog and on twitteron writing.

The act of writing.

The art of writing.

The work of refining manuscripts and pursuing publication.

Today celebrates the Art of writing.

Tomorrow features thoughts on publishing, querying, and all the work and preparation surrounding that, including some wisdom from (my!) agent, Rachelle Gardner. (You see, she’s having this amazing webinar on Thursday at 1pm EDT about queries, elevator pitches, taglines and all the ways you sell your work to agents and editors. Click here for more information about that!)

Thursday features two awesome poets, Maureen Doallas and Curtis Honeycutt: 1) because they’re poets, 2) that makes them really cool and 3) poetry is sorely underrated.

Friday offers a re-cap of the week.

Perhaps I’ll throw in some other surprises along the way.

But today, I want to share a piece from a new favorite book I discovered last week. The book, on the craft of writing, is Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing.

For Tuesdays Unwrapped and all you writers out there, I extend this poem of Mr. Bradbury’s.

Bradbury uses poetry in a way which chisels deep into the heart and explains what I was trying to say last Friday, about how writing is an art . . . difficult, at times . . . causing parts of us to die . . . but ultimately bringing life to us and (even better!) those around us.

May Bradbury’s poem inspire, tug, twist, and embrace the crevices and shadows of your soul, that you might find a way to breathe through your pen.

We Have Our Arts So We Don’t Die of Truth, by Ray Bradbury

Know only Real? Fall dead.
So Nietzsche said.
We have our Arts so we won’t die of Truth.
The World is too much with us.
The Flood stays on beyond forty days,
The sheep that graze in yonder fields are wolves.
The clock that ticks inside your head is truly Time
And in the night will bury you.
The children warm in bed at dawn will leave
And take your heart and go to worlds you do not know.
All this being so
We need our Arts to teach us how to breathe
And beat out blood; accept the devil’s neighborhood,
And age and dark and cars that run us down,
And clown with Death’s-head in him
Or skull that wears Fool’s crown
And jingles blood-rust bells and rattles groans
To earthquake-settle attic bones late nights.
All this, this, this, all this—too much!
It cracks the heart!
And so? Find Art,
Seize brush. Take stance. Do fancy footwork. Dance.
Run race. Try poem. Write play.
Milton does more than drunk God can
To justify Man’s way toward Man.
And maundered Melville takes as task
To find the mask beneath the mask.
And homily by Emily D. shows dust-bin Man’s anomaly.
And Shakespeare poisons up Death’s dart
And of gravedigging hones an art.
And Poe divining tides of blood
Builds Ark of bone to sail the flood.
Death, then, is painful wisdom tooth;
With Art as forceps, pull that Truth,
And plumb the abyss where it was
Hid deep in dark and Time and Cause.
Though Monarch Worm devours our heart,
With Yorick’s mouth cry, “Thanks!” to Art.

8 thoughts on “The Art of writing

  1. Thank you for the shout-out, Amy. I’m honored.

    I also have the Bradbury book. It sits beside Strunk & White and a half-shelf of other good books on the art of writing.

  2. Absolutely wonderful. I actually needed to hear those words about writing. Needed some inspiration to finish my book. Hope to do that on vacation next week. Thank you for that inspiration.


  3. Ray Bradbury is a favorite FAVORITE of mine. He’s a science fiction poet, and he’s so so insightful. Thank you for sharing this, it’s a new favorite. It’s like T.S. Eliot said, “mankind cannot stand too much reality”.

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