Saturday, 23 June 2012

Ray Bradbury's message

I am finally getting the time to look through the links I bookmarked after the death of Ray Bradbury, and have skimmed through what several people have said about him. Now on another day, I will no doubt have a different interpretation of what he said to us. But today, if I had to fix on a single message in a bottle that he was hoping would reach us, it would be this.

There was always this passion in the things he said, even in the interviews I saw him do he always seemed to be slightly manic and in love with life - like a friend of mine I talked to yesterday. I think he was urgently telling us to be in love with life too, to put everything into life like a love affair, to savour every bit of it. And the reason it is so urgent is that if you are not nurturing your life, if you are sitting there feeling bored, you are letting things slowly fester. You need to keep your joy alive, find new avenues for it, or you are in danger of losing (or at least temporarily mislaying) it.

This is why writing is often better than reading - you are forcing yourself to find something to talk about, and find the words for it, and then think again for better words for the same thing - if the first words you thought of were stilted. It struck me once - on a routine bus journey early one morning - that all the thoughts I had were unformed and lost forever the moment I had thought them. At least if I wrote everything down - what a pile of redundant verbiage that would make - but at least I would be articulating those thoughts. And in the act of writing something down you see your ideas far more vividly, warts and all, and start to refine them.

But do remember Bradbury's law, which I will state as - always be reaching for the sun in some way. It's close to my old school motto, actually, and something I've seldom even attempted to live up to.

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