I’m reading Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing, which is a collection of his essays. He mentions frequently the source of his story ideas, tracing them back to childhood loves and events. In that sense, he shows that he started writing his stories years, even decades, before he typed them out.
“I was in love, then, with monsters and skeletons and circuses and carnivals and dinosaurs and, at last, the red planet, Mars.
From these primitive bricks I have built a life and a career. By my staying in love with all of these amazing things, all of the good things in my existence have come about.”
And in another essay:
“Do not, for money, turn away from all the stuff you have collected in a lifetime.
Do not, for the vanity of intellectual publications, turn away from what you are—the material within you which makes you individual, and therefore indispensable to others.
To feed your Muse, then, you should always have been hungry about life since you were a child.”
With that in mind, this past week, I’ve thought a good bit about my childhood interests—my “primitive bricks”. At first glance, I don’t see evidence that I fed my Muse the seeds that grew into Brevity. Maybe I just need to look deeper into my first loves. Or maybe that novel was an aberration. Maybe my next novel should be completely different.
What do you think about Bradbury’s thoughts on childhood loves being the true well from which you draw your story ideas?