(un)common ground

a commonplace book

Writing as Inoculation

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Ray Bradbury, “How to Climb the Tree of Life, Throw Rocks at Yourself, and Get Down Again without Breaking Your Bones or Your Spirit: A Preface with a Title Not Much Longer than the Book,” Zen in the Art of Writing (1994)

Bradbury continues: “For writing allows just the proper recipes of truth, life, reality as you are able to eat, drink, and digest without hyperventilating and flopping like a dead fish in your bed.”

This in a discussion of the writer’s need to write as constantly as living (”Not to write, for many of us, is to die.”). The passage makes an odd antithetical relationship between intoxication and reality, casting reality as an assassin (he talks about writing as a micro-dosage of arsenic to build immunity). Not quite “therapy,” according to Bradbury, writing is to him a way of manipulating life in order to “put up with the horrors that afflict us directly in our families and friends, or through the newspapers and T.V.”

Writing as manipulator, as immunity-builder, as instrument to withstand life’s horrors–a compelling set of metaphors.


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This entry was posted on July 26, 2015 by and tagged , .
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