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As the twig is bent? Does your writing reflect your inner child?

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.

He writes:

“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?

35 thoughts on “As the twig is bent? Does your writing reflect your inner child?”

  1. Hello! I finally got the Bradbury book on order. I think it is a very interesting book with good suggestions for a writer. He must have been an interesting little kid! I keep the book handy in the car as I’m doing a fair bit of driving around for my son due to car issues. so I’m reading it in chunks and rereading. ( Congrats on your son’s PHD!!!)
    I think your blog writing also mirrors the very thoughtful reflections at the very core of who you must be as a writer. Your writing inspires reflection.


    1. I got the book from the library, AEOF, so I’ll have to trust that I remember what I should from reading it once. I know it’s made me question the direction my writing should go, but in a sense that would almost be starting over, so I have to think long and hard.

      I’m very proud of my son.

      Thank you for the encouragement by letting me know my blog posts have inspired reflection. Though, I suspect that reflection might sometimes be only, “What the heck???” 😉


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