Ray Bradbury? Erica Jong? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: The science fiction luminary Ray Bradbury relied deeply on his intuitions and his imagination to compose lyrical prose. He believed that creativity was obstructed by over-thinking and intellectualizing. The following two statements have been attributed to him:
- Self-consciousness is the enemy of all art.
- Thinking is the enemy of creativity.
Are these quotations genuine? Would you please help me to find citations?
Quote Investigator: In 1962 Ray Bradbury wrote an essay titled “The Queen’s Own Evaders, an Afterword” which discussed his seven month sojourn in Ireland where he succeeded in his primary goal of co-authoring the screenplay of “Moby Dick”. Bradbury also learned about the Irish people which later inspired the short play “The Anthem Sprinters”. His essay featured musings on the creative process. Bradbury stated that an artist should not attempt to explain an artwork while it is being created. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1
To try to know beforehand is to freeze and kill.
Self-consciousness is the enemy of all art, be it acting, writing, painting, or living itself, which is the greatest art of all.
In 1971 Bradbury addressed the opening banquet of the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Press Association held in Park City, Utah. He presented guidance for writers: 2
The speaker said television is the place you learn how to be mediocre. You learn from it, you grow from it, you learn how not to do things.”
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. You cannot intellectualize creativity. You can think about something before or after — but not during,” he declared.
These two citations provide solid evidence that Bradbury employed both of the statements mentioned by the questioner. Further, the citations below show that he reiterated these observations later in life.
- 1963, The Anthem Sprinters and Other Antics by Ray Bradbury, Chapter 5: The Queen’s Own Evaders, an Afterword by Ray Bradbury, (Essay date: July 31, 1962), Quote Page 154, Apollo Editions: The Dial Press, New York. (Verified with scans) ↩
- 1971 April 16, The Salt Lake Tribune, ‘Instill Fun,’ College Writers Urged (Special to the Tribune), Quote Page 4B, Column 6 and 7, Salt Lake City, Utah. (Newspapers_com) ↩