This post, by Maria Popova, originally appeared on brain pickings on 6/7/12.
The literary hero in his own words.
What a tragic season it’s been for literary heroes who defined generations of readers and creators. Last month, we lost Maurice Sendak, and this week, Ray Bradbury — beloved author, champion of curiosity, relentless advocate of libraries — passed way at the age of 91. To celebrate his life and legacy, here are eleven of his most timeless insights on writing, culture, creativity, failure, happiness, and more.
On doing what you love, in this wonderful 2008 video interview from the National Endowment for the Arts:
Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you want, what you love. Imagination should be the center of your life.
We have our Arts so we won’t die of Truth.
On reading as a prerequisite for democracy, from the same 2008 NEA interview:
If you know how to read, you have a complete education about life, then you know how to vote within a democracy. But if you don’t know how to read, you don’t know how to decide. That’s the great thing about our country — we’re a democracy of readers, and we should keep it that way.
On creativity and the myth of the muse, in Zen in the Art of Writing:
That’s the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.
On creative purpose and perseverance in the face of rejection, in Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life:
[S]tarting when I was fifteen I began to send short stories to magazines like Esquire, and they, very promptly, sent them back two days before they got them! I have several walls in several rooms of my house covered with the snowstorm of rejections, but they didn’t realize what a strong person I was; I persevered and wrote a thousand more dreadful short stories, which were rejected in turn. Then, during the late forties, I actually began to sell short stories and accomplished some sort of deliverance from snowstorms in my fourth decade. But even today, my latest books of short stories contain at least seven stories that were rejected by every magazine in the United States and also in Sweden! So … take heart from this. The blizzard doesn’t last forever; it just seems so.