Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ray Bradbury On Training

I'm sure it was never Ray Bradbury's intention to talk about strength training, but much of his message could just as easily apply to an aspiring strength athlete as it does to budding writers. The following passage is from the preface of Ray Bradbury's "Zen In The Art Of Writing". I have changed the words "write" and "writing to "train" and "training" respectively. 

Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You

So, with no further ado - Ray Bradbury on why training is important:
First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is gift and a privilege, not a right. We must earn life once it has been awarded to us. Life asks for rewards back because it has favored us with animation.

So while our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all.

Second, training is survival. Any art, any good work, of course, is that.

Not to train, for many of us, is to die.

We must take arms each and every day, perhaps knowing that the battle cannot be entirely won, but fight we must, if only a gentle bout. The smallest effort to win means, at the end of each day, a sort of victory. Remember the pianist who said that if he did not practice every day he would know, if he did not practice for two days, the critics would know, after three days, his audiences would know.

A variation of this is true for strength trainees. Not that your style, whatever it is, would melt out of shape in those few days. But what would happen is that the world would catch up with and try to sicken you. If you did not train every day, the poisons would accumulate and you would begin to die, or act crazy, or both.

You must stay drunk on training so reality cannot destroy you.

For training allows just the proper recipes of truth, life, reality as you are able to eat, drink, and digest without hyperventilating and flopping like a dead fish in your bed.

I have learned, on my journeys, that if I let a day go by without training, I grow uneasy. Two days and I am in tremor. Three and I suspect lunacy. Four and I might as well be a hog, suffering the flux in a wallow. An hour's training is tonic. I'm on my feet, running circles, and yelling for a clean pair of spats.

- From Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You by Ray Bradbury


Pete Bush said...

As a writer and a lifter, that was a motivating read. I often feel as if I have missed a week of training when I have to lay out of the gym for one scheduled day, whatever the reason.

Boris said...

Thank you Pete. It's tough to stay away if you're like me and training is therapy...

Pete Bush said...

So true.

Josh said...

Another great post Boris. Yet another book to add to my "to read" list.

Boris said...

Thanks Josh - I think you'll like it. It's a collection of essays and IMO anyone who likes Ray Bradbury and has an interest in the writing process would like it.