A graveled voice rang out from the podium as Bradbury posed the question. “How do I find my inspiration? Look around you. All of you inspire me.” Audience members leaned forward in anticipation.
In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time.
“It's lack that gives us inspiration," he said. "It's not fullness. Not ever having driven a car, I can write better about automobiles than the people who drive them. Space travel is another good example. I'm never going to go to Mars but I've helped inspire, thank goodness, the people who built the rockets and sent our photographic equipment off to Mars. So it's always a lack that causes you to write that type of story."
Again he swiveled his head and surveyed the audience. “Inspiration and creativity come from every day things,” he said. He admitted that his famous Fahrenheit 451 was inspired during the McCarthy era when everyone was paranoid. He was stopped on the street in Los Angeles by a policeman for no reason and asked why he was there. That incident and the advent of television and his concern about censorship moved him to write a novel about books being outlawed and burned in the future.
In fact, most, if not all, of his stories were inspired by past occurrences in his life. Some more obvious, others more subtle. But, the bottom line for inspiration for anything that you do, he encouraged, is simply this: “Love what you do, and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. Imagination should be the center of your life.”
Til next time!