May you always walk on cloud nine
Today is George’s 71st birthday! I wish it were a national holiday. We could celebrate by sitting cross-legged while learning how to play sitar. However, I can’t sit cross-legged due to spinal fusion surgery so I’d have to stand and play the tambourine.
There are only a few songs that make you stop whatever you are doing or thinking and experience the moment. “Here Comes the Sun” does that for me. Of course, the majority of George’s songs does that to a fanatic like me but that song I’ve heard since the womb. Today’s kids have heard Mozart in utero. I heard the Beatles. So there.
Ray Bradbury died this week. and his death couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. I had been out of the routine of writing every day because as most insecure writers feel, I did not know if what I think means anything new or important.
A quote by Bradbury flashed through my mind a few days ago. Sometimes that happens before I learn of someone dying. I don’t think it’s a sixth sense, it’s more kismet. The quote is from Zen in the Art of Writing:
His routine was to write a thousand words in the morning (the landmine) then spend the rest of the day editing (putting the pieces together).
About 3 years ago I was mesmerized by an English teacher friend who had been corresponding with Bradbury for years. I thought I’d give it a try and send him two of my poems. He sent them back to me with this note scrawled:
He included the next item which is my favorite piece. It’s a brochure about Fahrenheit 451 in Spanish. You can see the ragged edges, where he cut it to fit into the envelope I included with my poems:
Here is the play he invited me to, Falling Upward:
Although I included an envelope, I mistakenly forgot to include a stamp. Luckily Bradbury had a stamp of Edgar Allan Poe, whom he referred to as “Ray’s Papa.”
In a story he tells on his website about how he became a writer, he talks about meeting a magician named Mr. Electrico at a carnival:
It was then, Bradbury said, that he knew he must lead the creative life. And through that creative life, he did exactly as Mr. Electrico commanded him.
Hi! I’m Flat Stanley! One day a billboard flattened me (don’t worry, there’s a happy ending) so I’m able to travel the good ol United States through snail mail. Thanks to my friends Bud, Mark, Tom, Gwen, Mary Katherine, Rowdy, Sarah, and Steve, here are pictures from my travels.
Special thanks to blogger Slim Paley for helping make the pictures look extra special!
I convinced these young men that Hunter was alive and well and within these 4 walls. They all got up to talk to him like teen girls with the Beatles in 1964.
I learned from the documentary that he had a sweet side which you can see in the way he touches his chin in an episode of To Tell the Truth. Both of his wives said he had a vicious side, like when he screams at one of them to find his g–damn medicine.
I also learned that Ralph Steadman, Hunter’s illustrator, is not a crazy person. I mistakenly thought so based on his work as you can see here:
He appears normal and well-spoken, like a nice gentleman you pass in the supermarket as shown here:
So to get over the dreaded writers block that possessed me over the holidays I’ll do what Hunter did with the Gatsby.
Instead of writing I rewrite.
I checked out classics from the library by authors like Bradbury, Faulkner, Conan Doyle, and Fenimore Cooper. What a way to feel like the author to retype their words, to see what they saw and what made them get it all down on paper. You don’t get that by just copy/pasting.
So because of Hunter sneaking into my dreams I remembered the most vital part of writing: rewriting. I’m ready for more trips into the subconscious as long as the Steadman drawings stay at home.