It was really a great treat to have a chance to read two great treatises on writing.They were:
1)Anne Lamot’s ” Bird-By-Bird” and 2) Ray Bradbury’s “Zen in the Art of Writing.”
Both were unique works of style and pomp and I thoroughly enjoyed reading both of them.Being a writer, I consider it as a great honour and privilege to review those works.
However, both the workd differed in their format and style.While “Bird-By-Bird” was a full fledged book on writing containing a number of chapters on the nuances of writing and publishing, the other book, “Zen in the Art of Writing” was only a collection of articles that were published by Ray Bradbury in various years.However both of them were worthy of their money value and equally good in their content and treatment.
Let us review the books one by one.
1)Anne Lamot’s ‘Bird-By-Bird”
It is a comprehensive book on writing, whose contents have been divided into number of chapters that describe her life time experience on writing beginning from her childhood,how she grew up into a writer, her tussle with the publishers in getting her books published, her experience in conducting writing workshops, her interaction with her students in the course of her teaching writing, the value of forming writing groups, the value of reading, on writing practice, getting their works read by others, submitting their works for publication and on the writers tryst with the agents and publishers.
In a way Anne Lamot was lucky that her father was also a writer and so writing was in her genes.It was Anne’s father in the course of his advice to his daughter to make her attempts on writing ‘Bird -By-Bird’, that was later on adopted by Anne as the title for her book on writing.Again but for her father’s advice Anne would not have read poems that went a long way to sharpen and beautify her writing.It impelled her to devour as many books as possible, besides reading Shelly, Keats, Milton and others to read poetry.
Anne Lemot’s method of taking notes on anything important that she comes across was unique.In fact, she devoted a whole chapter called ‘ writing index’.that were spread and made available wherever she went in her house.Her writing indexes were available at her writing table, dining table, at her bath room, in her car and at her pant pocket.In fact her writing indexes were useful to provide writing threads, to write dialogues in her book and to recollect her old memories.
When Anne Lemot explained her tryst with her editors before getting her books published, we cannot but pity her as well as admire her at her great determination, unflinching devotion to writing and her tremendous hardwork.Having received a huge sum as advance, Anne Lemot had almost broke down into tears, when her book was rejected by the editor and recommended for rewrite.Keeping herself aloof, regaining her confidence, Anne worked in her book and scrpulously revised it.At last Anne Lemot had her last laugh when the editor accepted it for publication.So Anne Lemot quite beautifully explained, how difficult it was to get your book published until the editor approves it and accepts it.
Another unique chapter in the book was jealousy.Anne Lemot beautifully explains how it was quite natural that writers were jealous against each other.Of course, Anne Lemot was not an exception.When a writer, who was inferior in producing quality content, boasted over telephone, how her book fared well in the market and how her income soared greatly within a short period, Anne Lemot, being human, was really jealous of her and it clearly reflected in the telephonic conversaton that went on between them.
Anne also beautifully explained how an author after finishing a book, should get it published by engaging a publishing agent and also explained about the reaction of the agent as well as the publisher and also about the need of patience while dealing with them.
Thus Anne Lemot’s ‘Bird-By-Bird’ provides an enjoyable read with a unique and very useful content for a writer.Anne Lemot who was born in 1954, has a son namely Sam and she resides in California,US.
2)Ray Bradbury’s “Zen on the Art of Writing”:
Ray Bradbury’s ‘Zen on the Art of Writing’ provides an intersting read.The Book despite being a complilation of number of articles, explains the nuances of writing quite interestingly.
Ray Bradbury was a child prodigy and his memory power was amazing.No wonder, he wrote his first short story at the age of twenty and his story was accepted and published.Ray received $ 20 as reward for his first story.Ray was born in 1920 and died in 2012 and during the period Ray wrote as many as 500 short stories that were published by almost all the leading magazines in the US.
Ray Bradbury was a short story writer, novelist, his famous novel being Fahrenheit 151.He also wrote a number of plays and he was a screen play writer too.He had been a screen play writer for a couple of Hollywood movies that were based on his stories.In fact, for writing the screen play of a movie that was based on his story, Ray Bradbury and his family had been to Ireland for a period of six months.Ray Bradbury took that opportunity to write about Ireland also.In short, Ray Bradbury was a versatile writer.He was an avid reader.His favourite authors were Hemingway, Shakespeare and a host of others and he also loved reading poems of his favourite authors.He was also interested in hearing music.
Ray Bradbury was primarily a sci-fi writer since his stories were based on science fiction themes.
Ray Bradbury’s formula to become a successful writer was quite tough and practically impossible.No doubt writing is quite tough.However,in order to become a writer, as Brad Bury suggested an aspiring author should write atleast an hour a day producing not less than 1000 words and it should be carried on for a period of ten years.Perhaps as Brad Bury suggested, a writer in order to become a successful writer should wage a decade old war.Besides, a writer should also read as much as possible, besides being a prolific writer.Apart from that a writer should be a close watcher and a keen listener.According to him, a writer should put his pen and flesh into his writing, which means a total involvement for a writer.Many of his short stories were born out of what he heard or what he saw.Inspired by them,Ray Bradbury proceeded to write his first draft within hours.He was such an efficient writer.
That was why Ray Bradbury was always called for to write screen plays for the movies that were shot based on his stories.Even Ray Bradbury’s short stories were filmed without deviating what contained in them.However, Ray Bradbury had some reservations on the Hollywood movies that were shot on the basis of his novels or plays deviating from his stories.
Though Ray Bradbury’ s suggestions to become a writer were note worthy, still it cannot be applied to a late bloomer.Of course, there were late bloomers who began their writing career in their late 40s, 50s or 60s and they too had shined contributing significantly to the world of literature.However, Ray Bradbury’s pinpointed ideas for becoming a successful writer have universal appeal and application.No doubt, any one who embraces his ideas for becoming a successful writer, the success is guaranteed, as if it is written on the wall.