Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ghostwriting and Ray Bradbury.

I am a huge, huge fan of Ray Bradbury. I go head over heels every single time I think back of the first sentence of Fahrenheit 451, "It is a pleasure to burn". I still wonder until today how one sentence can sound so beautifully crafted in my eyes, that just doesn't make sense, and yet I can't help it. Is it because it was written by Ray Bradbury? Is that it? Or it is because those words are so commonly used that we have forgotten its beauty once it is jotted down on paper? Nope, I still don't get it. All I know is that I was blown away by every word that Ray Bradbury jot down in that book.

I remembered there was this one time when I sat down and listened to his speech in this writing symposium, back when he was only around 80 years old, I think (I'm pretty sure). I was so moved by what he said because I could feel his love and his passion for his writing, which to me is just amazing. He has lived practically three-quarters of his life and he still believe in rediscovering, in going on adventure and he still believes in books. Whoa. I was like blown away by this burning pleasure in his eyes as he shared what he knew about the craft of words. And as he was telling about his love for words, he asked everyone in the audience what they were writing for. He asked what it was that kept you writing. Why did you even begin in the first place? And then he said more or less like this, "if it was money that you were after, you should leave this room right now". He said that you were done the minute you started writing for money.

At that moment, I didn't get what he was talking about. I knew to live from writing is a tough life, that you will hardly ever be able to eat from writing novels and that what Ray Bradbury just said was what other writers keep telling you about. But I didn't know what it meant. I didn't know until I was introduced to the world of ghostwriting.

Ghostwriting pays. And it pays you well. But without you realizing it, you become numb of what you write and that is what Ray Bradbury was talking about. The father of science fiction, for all I know, he told us that the secret to write well was to be so lost in it that you wouldn't even realize you're still alive. But when you ghostwrite, you become so lost, not in your burning love for this art, but because it's easy and you get money out of it. I don't know what Bradbury has to say about ghostwriting. I would love to have him do a speech on this, but unfortunately that's a bit too late, isn't it? And I just can't help to think of him calling all of us a disgrace for going into this "ghostly world". But then again, we'll never know.

So, is ghostwriting really a disgrace? A sin, perhaps? I don't know, I'm wondering about it too. I guess for now, call it what we want to call it. And you know what, after months (I think), I still find it sad that such a legend, a parent of so many writers in this world, has to leave our literary world in such a haste.

I love Ray Bradbury. I wish he was still alive.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Little Less Conversation.

Who said socializing with people was easy? That's what my best friend once said. And I figured, yeah, that's right, who said so? Because it's so damn hard to find someone who's as excited as you are to be caught up in a conversation about books. I know, right? I'm being impossible. Books are lame. Surely no one (Ermm, that's probably an understatement because there are a few, though not much) in the world would love to be talking about Tolkien, Dickens, let alone Rowling. Imagine sitting in a bar, sipping on some gin and hitting on a girl with: "Do you read books?". That has got to be the dumbest, weirdest pick-up line someone has ever thought of (or perhaps it's not so weird after all?).

Well, I don't go around talking to people in bars. I don't even go to bars. But I do have this habit of asking people, especially new people, whose habits I'm not familiar with, whether they do read books. It's like when boys ask other boys "Do you play ball?" or when adults sort of just blurt out "So, are you in college?". It's not something as personal as "Are you seeing someone", but somehow you get a glimpse of what kind of person he or she really is. It's like an old saying, you are what you read (or rather "you are what you eat"?).

It derives such an interesting conversation, whether the answer is yes or no. When they don't read books, you won't get it. Because they will go on and on about how boring it is to have to stare at pages of black letters, words, paragraphs, and how dreadful it is to have to spend days finishing a 700-page novel when you can finish it under 3 hours by watching its movie adaptation. But you won't get that because it's not merely staring, is it? Nonetheless, it's still an interesting conversation. You'll be arguing about how it's not just merely staring, it's being absorbed to a different world, and it will go on and on until you both decide, let's move on. Let's talk about football.

But when they do say yes, sparks will fly. You'll feel like the whole world doesn't exist anymore simply because you'll start screaming, "YES!! That's exactly what I felt when I read Bradbury!!" and he or she will scream back, "I KNOW! Have you read Steel? Oh, doesn't she just take your breath away!". And there'll be this adrenaline rush inside of you because you realized that someone gets it. Someone gets it that a sentence could really take your breath away. You won't be able to resist, to start jumping off from one book to another, this author to that poet, from Hogwarts to god knows where. It becomes less of a conversation and more like a journey to relive all those wonderful stories we came to know before.

Ah, the beauty of books. I think the only thing better than writing and reading is talking about writing and reading. Oh, and, just because I asked "Do you read books?", doesn't mean I think you're anti-social. It just means I'm curious.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Do You Have a Blog?

So, when I talk to people and we came to the subject of what are some of the things we like, what are we passionate about, what do we want to be years from now, it always come to writing. Well, obviously, right? I'm a writer, I love to write, so it will always come down to writing. And every time we touched this subject, people come up to me with this oh-so-popular question: Do you have a blog?

Okay, I get it. Writers, they blog, or at least most of them. I know that every writer I followed on Twitter has a blog and most of them are actively blogging, tweeting the links to their newest posts every now and then. Huge names from Amy Tan, Neil Gaiman to Paulo Coehlo all are active bloggers and I'm not surprised at all. They're writers and writers write a lot. They're going to want to have this platform where they can share whatever it is they have in mind and have real-time readers responding to what they have to say. In my case, it's true, I do write a lot, but I don't exactly demand readers to respond or somewhat communicate to me too what they have in mind (Although, that would of course be a lot of fun). So, do I have a blog?

I don't know. I'm not sure what I should answer when I do have a blogger account, I do have a blog page, I do have blog posts, I just haven't posted another one since I don't know when (most probably September 2012). But then again, I guess I do have a blog, an outdated one, I suppose, but I still do have a blog.