Wednesday, June 06, 2012

In Memorium: Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

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"The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me. The feeling I have every day is very much the same as it was when I was twelve. In any event, here I am, eighty years old, feeling no different, full of a great sense of joy, and glad for the long life that has been allowed me. I have good plans for the next ten or twenty years, and I hope you'll come along." --Ray Bradbury

Sam Weller, Bradbury's biographer, quoted Bradbury as saying he would sometimes open one of his books late at night and cry out thanks to God.

"I sit there and cry because I haven't done any of this," he told Weller. "It's a God-given thing, and I'm so grateful, so, so grateful. The best description of my career as a writer is, 'At play in the fields of the Lord.' "

Me again: What an amazing outlook. Can you imagine if we all had this kind of perspective on our work?

Farenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dandelion Wine, The Illustrated Man, "The Fog Horn": all works that have influenced my thinking and have stuck with me since I first read them. ("The Fog Horn" was adapted into the movie The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.) He even penned the screenplay for John Huston's version of Moby Dick and wrote for The Twilight Zone.

I can still remember, for example, how I felt the first time I read The Martian Chronicles and came across the "twist" that threw the astronauts for a loop--if you've read it, you'll know what I mean. Only later did I read the book again and realize the deeper social issues that Bradbury was trying to convey. Obviously, as a book-lover, you can imagine what Farenheit 451 has always done for me.

His biographer was quoted today on the news that "a star has gone out of the Universe." The sky is certainly a bit darker today.

I would like to think that he's on Venus right now, riding his way across the face of the Sun (from our perspective).

Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for everything.

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