Fahrenheit 451

Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

You may recall Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, which tells the tale of a hedonistic and anti-intellectual American society. While the novel’s title describes the flashpoint of paper, the approximate temperature at which it ignites and burns, it also refers to the fact that firemen in this futuristic city start fires, typically to burn books, rather than put fires out. Given that this is my 451st daily consecutive post, I find Thoreau’s quote on fire and writing (discovered serendipitously earlier today) and Bradbury’s book to be a delicious juxtaposition.

When creative inspiration comes your way, take the time to give it expression. A friend sent me a poem written by her brother written when their father passed away, obviously in a moment of deep feeling and I was touched by the lyrical nature of this non-writer’s verses. Another friend of mine posted a photo of his son’s Lego creation on Facebook the other day, the obvious product of uninhibited creative expression. In both cases the iron was struck while hot and both inflamed the minds of their audiences, though neither were aware of the effect they had on others touched by their work.

That which you create reverberates out through the minds and hearts of present and future generations. I wish that we could instill in our children a greater sense of ownership for everything they create, for in so doing it is likely that more care would be taken in relation to every thought, word and deed wrought in a lifetime.

Whether Bradbury imagined the hedonistic and anti-intellectual society or foresaw its coming I cannot be sure, but looking around I see evidence of both types of cancer everywhere I look in our society. At the same time, I meet people whose lives are dedicated to the revelation of original thought, creative inspiration and responsible living on a regular basis, a fact that comforts and encourages me as I seek to serve my fellows.

You are not here to leave a tepid impression on the minds and lives of those you come in contact with. You are here to magnify the infinite variety in the expression of life. But to inflame the minds of your audience you yourself must be ignited.

What are you waiting for?

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10 Responses to Fahrenheit 451

  1. happytobehere says:

    I’m up early on a day I could typically sleep in. Your blog stirred my creative spark. What is looking for a means of expression through me today? I’m not quite sure what it will be but I’m available and eager to bring it in!
    Thanks!

  2. Lady Leo says:

    Love the happenstance of your story today. Congrats on 451 blogs. I find your writing entertaining & educational but most of all inspiring to my soul.
    Thank you for your energy and dedication.

  3. Isabelle says:

    So often I’m inspired (deaily!) and many times, I think I don’t have the time or it’s not important enough (as there’s so mnay other things to do) to express it. I appreciated your emphasis on striking while the iron’s hot.

  4. Joshua says:

    I just had a vision of one of the “Fantastic Four”…..
    FLAME ON!
    May the fire in my heart be lit!
    Thanks Gregg.

  5. Colin says:

    There is definetly a timing to everything we do that, if achieved, allows our actions to be effortlessly extraordinary. It gives us a preternatural calm and focus, where we can really excel. Congratulations for a long string of amazing posts!

  6. Jordan says:

    Gregg! Too funny- I just shared this with Donna as well- but all weekend while I was at the BEM, the need for written expression kept coming into the forefront of my mind. I kept thinking to myself that I wanted to write, journal, blog… Something! I don’t know if it was the critical thought inspiring nature and positive energy flowing at the event or perhaps something else going on, but it was a thought that I continued to stifle and then continued to return. I needed to read this. Thank you for the reminder that this feeling is not something that needs stifled; it is a hot iron and it should be used accordingly!
    Thank you for the wisdom you share everyday. Whether it is a quiet reminder or something new, it is always knowledge an open heart is grateful to hear!

  7. Tanya says:

    Wow! Your timing is perfect. Last night the “heat in me” compelled me to write well past my bed time. Two inner voices spoke to me. One voice said, “go to bed, you have to get up early tomorrow!” The other voice told me to “keep writing” because I felt this intense burning to desire to write. I continued writing. Thanks for the continued inspiration!

  8. Pingback: The Quoting Project: 88 «

  9. Vladimir says:

    Thanks for your article, Gregg. I have recently written a piece on “Fahrenheit” (http://www.vladimirkokorev.com/195) and while searching the web for articles on the topic, I am kind of surprised at how revered this book is. The society that “Fahreneheit” is describing is not our society – no matter how hard people passionate about this book, like yourself, try to find the similarities. And it is not the society where we are heading. This book neither promotes free-thinking per se – but a very dogmatic vision based on a the sacrity of printed paper. It is preachy, unfunny and manipulative, kind of like a documentary by Michael Moore. My two cents, anyway.

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