Ray Bradbury’s advice for “mental hygiene.”

            The death of science fiction and fantasy writer, Ray Bradbury, last week prompted many tributes and reruns of interviews.  The NPR program, “Fresh Air,” ran an interview with him where Bradbury spoke of reading for our “mental hygiene.”  He grew up reading the Bible and classic works of literature.  He suggested that we read a poem, an essay, and a short story each night before bed.  Then he felt we’d feel positive and creative thoughts swirl through us.  We wouldn’t rely on the easy, pop psychological pablum—my words, not his—but would be elevated in our thinking, feeling, and acting.

            Literature is one of the foundations for my mental health, though aspiring to publish can trigger anguish and self-doubt. I often divide my life between pre-blind and post-blind, feeling that the first part was the more shallow half.  I credit myself with growth in self-awareness and world-awareness, if not wisdom.  Then I slam into some gaff I’ve made and wonder if I’ve grown at all in these many decades.

            How many more blunders would I make if I weren’t a reader?

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About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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