Tag Archives: writing

How to Feed Your Muse: 7 Writing Tips From Ray Bradbury

A young Ray Bradbury, head in the clouds, imagining Martians.

Is writing a chore for you? It doesn’t have to be.

The man who wrote about a future in which firefighters burn books to prevent negative ideas from spreading has some positive words for writers.

Whether you write a blog, advertising copy, marketing materials, novels or science fiction, the challenge is to keep your writing fresh and inspired. If you already understand how storytelling helps make great copy, you’ll want to know this master storyteller’s tips for rediscovering the joy of writing.

Ray Bradbury discusses his techniques for cultivating writing inspiration in a collection of essays entitled Zen in the Art of Writing. “Ideas lie everywhere,” he says, “like apples fallen and melting in the grass for lack of wayfaring strangers with an eye and a tongue for beauty, whether absurd, horrific, or genteel.”

Wow. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Here then, are 7 writing tips from Ray Bradbury. Continue reading

Ray Bradbury, The Writer Raised By Libraries

Ray Bradbury is 90 years old today, and although his body is failing him, his imagination hasn’t yet. In honor of the occasion, Los Angeles is kicking off a weeklong celebration of his life and work.

The author of such classics as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, and Something Wicked This Way Comes has been honing his craft since his teens. At age 14, a precocious Bradbury persuaded George Burns to let him write for the Burns & Allen comedy show. Since then he’s produced more than five hundred published works—short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, television scripts and verse.

Raised on Ray

I grew up reading Bradbury’s short stories and novels, starting with The Martian Chronicles, and had the privilege of meeting him 20 years ago when he spoke at the San Juan Capistrano Library. A captivating storyteller, he talked about the inspiration he drew from libraries, books, and comics dating back to Buck Rogers in the 1920s. I still have a cherished photo of me posing with my “buddy” Ray.

Future blogger meets futuristic author: Me and my "buddy" Ray Bradbury, 1990.

“Libraries raised me,” Bradbury recounted in a New York Times story detailing his efforts to save a local institution. “I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.” Continue reading

Taco Bell Wants More $2 Bills. Grammarians Want Accuracy!

Next time you're at Taco Bell, ask the cashier to give you change in $2 bills. See what happens.

Taco Bell sez, “Yo quiero… dos dólares.”

The fast food chain recently ran an ad in USA Today with an open letter addressed to the Federal Reserve. Taco Bell is asking the Fed to circulate more $2 bills for its new $2 meal deals: “We want to make sure there are enough $2 bills in circulation to meet the pending demand.”

Taco Bell's ad in USA Today: "Hey Fed, We’re Gonna Need A Lot More $2 Bills."

The Washington Post snarkily comments, “concerned or bored customers may also sign a petition of support on Facebook (how predictable).”

A Facebook petition can get Betty White on Saturday Night Live, but it probably won’t motivate the Federal Reserve. Is it enough to motivate you?

Be careful what you advertise.

The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics columnist, Sudeep Reddy, wryly implies that Taco Bell should be careful what it wishes. Since the demand for currency circulation largely comes through transactions (not Facebook petitions), Reddy concludes, “That means people need to request more $2 bills from their banks—or, say, from a local fast food restaurant—if they want more in circulation. Perhaps Taco Bell can complicate the lives of its cashiers and store managers by forcing them to use $2 bills more often. That should put an end to this marketing campaign fairly quickly.”

Perhaps coincidentally, there’s an email urban legend about a Taco Bell customer who had trouble using a $2 bill at the restaurant. Continue reading

Save Are Teachers!

A mind is a terrible thing to waist.

Is are children learning?

Not so much right now. At least not English.

My kids’ teachers are on strike. So now each school day is a choice between whether to attend and do mindless busy work that won’t count toward their grade, or stay home with endless distractions and parental nagging.

(Well, duh! Of course, the kids want to stay home! For them, it’s a holiday.)

Our local school district here in Southern California is not the only one experiencing a strike. This particular news story involves a different state halfway across the country. Continue reading