“Every day for 70 years” – Ray Bradbury on persistence, libraries and more

Ray Bradbury has written more than 500 published works – — short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, television scripts, and verse. Some of his most-beloved books are mine as well – Dandelion Wine, Farenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes are the first few that come to mind. Here Ray talks about persistence, libraries and sensation vs. thought in an interview at the end of the most recent edition of Farenheit 451.

I believe that if you do your work everyday, at the end of the week or at the end of the month or at the end of the year, you feel good about all the things you did. It’s based on reality, not a false concept of optimism. So if you behave well, if you write well every day, and act well, at the end of the year you’ll feel good about yourself.

DR: Do you still write every day?

RB: Every day for seventy years.

Ray on the importance of libraries…

Let’s imagine there’s an earthquake tomorrow in the average university town. If only two buildings remained intact at the end of the earthquake, what would they have to be in order to rebuild everything that had been lost? Number one would be the medical building, because you need that to help people survive, to heal injuries and sickness. The other building would be the library. All the other buildings are contained in that one. People could go into the library and get all the books they needed in literature or social economics or politics or engineering and take the books out on the lawn and sit down and read. Reading is at the center of our lives. The library is our brain. Without the library, you have no civilization.

How sensation substitutes for thinking…

The whole problem of TV and movies today is summed up for me by the film Moulin Rouge. It came out a few years ago and won a lot of awards. It has 4,560 half-second clips in it. The camera never stops and holds still. So it clicks off your thinking; you can’t think when you have things bombarding you like that. The average TV commercial of sixty seconds has one hundred and twenty half-second clips in it, or one-third of a second. We bombard people with sensation. That substitutes for thinking.

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