Andrew Stuttaford at NRO brought this short Ray Bradbury essay to my attention. Bill Allen and I interviewed Bradbury for a couple of hours back in 1967 (I think it was), he was most engaging then and he still is at age 83 (his birthday was yesterday). May he live long and prosper, and, please, continue to write! Here is a piece of the essay:
"Some five years back, the editors of yet another anthology for school readers put together a volume with some 400 (count ’em) short stories in it. How do you cram 400 short stories by Twain, Irving, Poe, Maupassant and Bierce into one book?
Simplicity itself. Skin, debone, demarrow, scarify, melt, render down and destroy. Every adjective that counted, every verb that moved, every metaphor that weighed more than a mosquito - out! Every simile that would have made a sub-moron’s mouth twitch - gone! Any aside that explained the two-bit philosophy of a first-rate writer - lost!
Every story, slenderized, starved, bluepenciled, leeched and bled white, resembled every other story. Twain read like Poe read like Shakespeare read like Dostoevsky read like - in the finale - Edgar Guest. Every word of more than three syllables had been razored. Every image that demanded so much as one instant’s attention - shot dead.
Do you begin to get the damned and incredible picture?"
And here is a short essay from last year where he wished himself a Happy Birthday.
And, if you’re up to it, you might want to read The Veldt.