rip Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury is responsible for my reading habits. I was always somewhat of a reader as a kid.  My first character obsession in grade school was Danny Dunn and his inventive adventures.  Surely,  the most exciting event of the school year was ordering books from the Scholastic Book service.  Recess paled in comparison to the joy of the book order arriving in the classroom and seeing two or three new books piled on my desk.

One day in the junior high school library – the place to go socialize and listen to smuggled in rock records during study hall  – I saw this book cover on a revolving rack of paperbacks, and in that instant, my life completely changed.  I devoured Ray Bradbury’s magical words and was transported to Mars on glistening rockets; travelled to other places and dimensions where strange, wonderful, and sometimes unnerving things happened.  From that pointon I read everything Mr. Bradbury had written, collecting his short story collections like a beached guppy re-entering the lake.  The Martian Chronicles, I Sing The Body Electric, Something Wicked This Way Comes, S if for Space, R is for Rocket

My desire to read everything…everything…came into full bloom.  The Bradbury spark kindled (pun intended) the joy of the written word that stays with me to this day.  I had the good fortune of seeing Mr. Bradbury speak at a writer’s conference about ten years ago and he was everything I expected.  He spoke about the ups and downs of being an author with humor and intelligence, and ended his speech with a magically seamless transition into a story as only he could tell one, using words to transform the listener to another place and time.  This was his gift.  The fact that he shared it with everyone is a treasure not to be lost in time.

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13 Comments

Filed under Books, celebrities, life, writing

13 responses to “rip Ray Bradbury

  1. He was my first love as a kid after Beatrix Potter! In school, we wrote our favorite authors and asked for a signed autograph or “anything.” Kids proudly displayed theirs. I was the only one who never got CRAP. I sent a second letter because I thought maybe it got lost in the mail. I knew that they have assistants who deal with this and the “autographs” are imprinted–still. I got shite. He’s always called somebody who was such a great inspiration to other writers. I told him about how I lived in the same place Laura Ingalls Wilder spent her childhood but I didn’t dream of “being her,” I wanted to be like him.

    I’m happy he meant a lot to you. When I broke up with Bradbury, I moved on to Philip K. Dick, who I think was a superior author (although I never foolishly put my faith in “heroes” again). PKD is some mind-blowing stuff! I’d say Harlan Ellison is better but his stuff freaked me out so much I’m almost afraid to type his name ;P

    • I have read only one PKD novel and need to read more before forming a complete opinion. Ellison rocks….

      • Indeed! I was lucky to have come upon PKD before seeing BladeRunner (and had never read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep). I read a collection of short stories and then went in search of more. It was over my head a lot of the time but as I aged, my goodness! Different from Ellison, mind you, but much more elegant and thoughtful than most of the genre. A genius, I’d say.

      • I read “Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said” which I admit having some trouble warming up to..I think I was expecting more bizarreness, so I need to adjust for his other works.

      • No, no. IMO PKD is a master of making a normal “near future” or is this reality or is that reality kind of thing. I’m a fairly clever gal for how I pass myself off as…It’s almost elegant scifi?

  2. bradbury’s “dandelion wine” kept me sane during a semester long tour of the most depressing works every produced by american writers. it was the only book that semester that didn’t make me contemplate suicide.

    you’ve brought back the wonderful memories of school book orders. oh, the joy of those days!

    RIP mr bradbury.

  3. Quite a long and full life. How awesome that you got to hear him speak.

  4. One of my favorites was Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine. He programs a computer to complete his assignments not realizing that was harder than just doing the work. That may be why I ended up writing code…

    I also remember ordering paperback books at school. The aroma of books brand new from the printing plant ranks right up there with mimeograph.

    Bill

  5. Martian Chronicles is my favorite all time book, second only to the first book of Dune.

    Ray Bradbury was one of the all time great writers. He’ll never get the recognition he deserves because he wrote SciFi.

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