I’m a huge fan of writing. I love to see the written word on a page. Whether it’s a printed page or an electronic page doesn’t much matter to me; I love it all. I’d even like to read something on a papyrus scroll someday.
In my humble opinion, the pinnacle of all human achievement throughout our history has been the ability to communicate effectively. There are not many who can do this. Sure, there are lots of people who try, and there are lots of people who “technically” communicate, but very few people can communicate effectively. That is truly a special gift – one you’re either born with as some are, or (as I suspect is far more common) one you earn by working your ass of day in and day out for years and years. It’s something you fight for with your time, your passion, your energy, your heart, soul, and mind.
In my mind, there are a few very special people in the whole wide world who stand out as the greatest communicators I’ve ever heard of. They are, in no particular order, and in no particular genre, as follows:
- Winston Churchill
- Christopher Hitchens
- Roger Ebert
- Stephen King
While their genres vary wildly, these are absolutely the most eloquent men I have ever discovered. And yet, they do indeed have one common element: they’re all writers. Yes, public speaking is a magnificent form of communication—(though I often despise the despicable sophistry that most politicians employ that perverts their gift)—yet it still, in my judgment pales greatly in comparison to the power of the pen. (Hitchen is a standout in once sense—you should completely ignore everything he ever said in his ridiculous debates about the origin of the earth. That was all just a show of political posturing… in his case, I’m only referring to his skills as a writer).
I don’t know anything about Ray Bradbury, and I only found out about him today because he passed away. He’s apparently a writer of some importance in a book genre that I don’t read. But I found this video today via a blog post celebrating his life now that he’s passed away. Watch this video—it will change your life. All his points are absolutely right on.
I am going to attempt to follow the “diet” for writers he prescribes. It’s positively brilliant. His speech is engaging, honest, funny, relevant, and inspiring. And he passes the test of a true champion for communication: he is speaking about writing, and it works. Also, note—he is not using any notes. It’s all from the heart. Here’s one of the best quotes from the video:
“Writing is not a serious business—it’s a joy, and a celebration. You should be having fun at it. …it is not work! I didn’t write things to benefit the world… I set out to to have a hell of a lot of fun. I’ve never worked a day in my life.” -Ray Bradbury
Ray’s speech is superb. Watch it, and be transformed.