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Monday, April 27, 2015

My Favorite Dream: Writing With Love and Zest


Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Theater is a Sport, back after spring break.  My name is Bobby Keniston, and this is my own little piece of the internet where I talk about whatever's on my mind in the realm of theater.

Recently, I've been re-reading a great deal of Ray Bradbury and watching old interviews with him on YouTube.  What stands out most about this prolific writer (who not only wrote novels and short stories, but many plays and screenplays as well) is his incredible zest for writing and for life, and how he constantly used one to fuel the other.  To him, writing was inspired play, and he kept the words "Don't Think" taped above his typewriter to remind himself the importance of trusting his intuition and subconscious.

For those who are not familiar with Ray Bradbury, he was the great mind behind such books as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, The Halloween Tree, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and over 300 published short stories.  He wrote a number of plays, one of my favorites being The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, and wrote the screenplay for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick.
Here's the man himself, Mr. Ray Bradbury
I have been trying to write like Mr. Bradbury lately.  No, I don't mean by copying his style or his themes or plot ideas--- I mean, I have been trying to reconnect with the youthful sense of play in an attempt to write with zest again.

It's not always easy.  Writing can be difficult.  It's frustrating when the words won't come, when a sentence or a line of dialogue doesn't read the way you want it to, when you simply can't seem to communicate your thoughts, or when the tank seems completely empty, devoid of any ideas one could possibly care about.  

When this happens, one could do worse than to follow those two words of advice taped up on Mr. Bradbury's desk:  DON'T THINK.

While writing certainly flexes intellectual muscles, it is truly at its most rewarding when it is an emotionally engaging experience.  When the play or story you want to write comes flying out, and you laugh, love, and cry along with it.  If you have this investment, it is a safe bet that an audience may as well.  

When you're deep in the act of creation on a first draft, it is often beneficial to surf the tidal waves of inspiration and intuition, even if they seem dangerous.  Especially if they seem dangerous.  Too much thinking can kill a project before it has started to live.  Don't let that happen.  Remember, your brain is always there to switch back on for the act of rewriting.  

I can't tell you how many times I have to tell my mind to shut up (even now, writing this blog post, I've had to shush it more than once).  Every now and then, I close my eyes, take some deep breaths, and invite my characters to talk to me.  I visualize them, ask them questions.  They don't often steer me wrong.  Ray Bradbury once said that there is no need for writer's block, so long as you are willing to listen to your characters and your subconscious mind.  The more I read his work, the more I believe he is right.

So each day, for a few weeks now, I approach my notebook or computer, not with a sense of worry about what may come out today, but with a joyful anticipation of what I am going to create.  I am recapturing the "play" in "playwright".  

And I thank you, Ray Bradbury, for the inspiration.  

REMEMBER:  WHEN IN DOUBT, JUST STOP THINKING!  Breath, relax, and tell the story that needs to be told.

To learn more about my plays, CLICK HERE,  OR HERE, OR HERE, OR FINALLY HERE.

I've started a new blog!  I am writing a story a day for a year!  Each story will be between 100-250 words!  If you would like to read and follow, you can do so by CLICKING HERE.  

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