Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bradbury Bytes

...You are, in effect, dropping stones down a well. Every time you hear an echo from your subconscious, you know yourself a little better. A small echo may start an idea. A big echo may result in a story...  (Ray Bradbury, from The Writer's Archive 4/2008)

You just never know, do you? A scrap of dialogue that floats over from the next table in the restaurant where you're eating lunch. A quick glance that catches the sun glistening on the ripples of a lake where a duck just flew away. The sharp chemical scent that assaults you as you walk past the nail salon in the mall.

Two writers, two artists, will catch that same conversation, will see that sunlight, will smell the nail salon but maybe only one of them will hear that echo, will heed it and turn it into a poem. Or maybe they both will hear that echo but where one will turn it into a modern sculpture, the other will write a children's book.

It's about learning to listen for that echo, for what speaks directly to us, and how to give it shape and form and meaning for the rest of the world.


  1. A great reminder that a writer's life, in conjunction with our imagination, can afford us some of the best source material.

  2. Beautifully put. Inspiration is everywhere, and we all tell the same story a different way. ;)

  3. You've got to learn to listen to that echo, and then pick up your echo net and chase it around a bit until you catch it, then pin it to the page and surround it with classification and taxonomy.

    After which you may sell it, and embark on your next echo safari.

  4. I'm glad you all enjoyed this post! It always amazes me how two people can see, hear etc the same thing and yet see, hear etc different things.

    David, I love the idea of the "echo net" and "echo safari." :)

  5. Some of the best advice I received at the start of my writing career was to carry a journal so I could write down those inspirations when they come.