In the preface to Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury explores what writing teaches us.
He says that more than anything, it “reminds us that we are alive.”
In the midst of draining, depressing, stressful days, writing—which Bradbury broadens to “our art”—helps restore life to us. It’s a way to regain stability after getting knocked flat by the death of a loved one or staring in disbelief at the doctor delivering the diagnosis.
If we were to expand the list of loss and suffering, it would never end. “The list is endless and crushing if we do not creatively oppose it,” he says. Writing pushes back against the darkness; it fights back and gives us hope that we can find a way to press in and through whatever we come up against.
Is writing therapy? Bradbury resists that word (“too clean, too sterile”).
Instead, he means “writing as cure,” revitalizing us in the midst of it all.
Writing cannot save us, but it can energize us. We write; therefore, we are alive.
“So while our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all.”
— Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
Source: Bradbury, Ray. Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity. Santa Barbara, CA: Capra Press, 1989. Print. (Library) (p. xii)
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