When This Occurs, Pack Up Your Dinosaurs and Leave the Room

Zen in the Art of Writing“I learned that I was right and everyone else was wrong when I was nine. Buck Rogers arrived on the scene that year, and it was instant love. I collected the daily strips, and was madness maddened by them. Friends criticized. Friends made fun. I tore up the Buck Rogers strips. For a month I walked through my fourth-grade classes, stunned and empty. One day I burst into tears, wondering what devastation had happened to me. The answer was: Buck Rogers. He was gone, and life simply wasn’t worth living. The next thought was: Those are not my friends, the ones who got me to tear the strips apart and so tear my own life down the middle; they are my enemies.

“I went back to collecting Buck Rogers. My life has been happy ever since. For that was the beginning of my writing science fiction. Since then, I never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”

— Ray Bradbury, from Zen in the Art of Writing

Dreams are a funny thing. Listen to them, and you’ll inevitably encounter ridicule. Listen to the wisdom of the masses, and yes, you become normal, part of the pattern, part of the tapestry that makes up the background of history. But you also become boring and forgotten. Ah, but to ignore the detractors and listen to your own dreams. That is where the artistry in the tapestry comes in, for it is those things which jump out of the pattern, the seemingly improbable, yet inevitable black swans which make the tapestry come alive. Remember: The failures in life are remembered for their failures. The successes are remembered for their successes. And the rest, the majority of people in the middle? Why, they’re simply forgotten.

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