Ray Bradbury - not a recent photo, but how I remember him...“The first thing you learn in life is you’re a fool. The last thing you learn in life is you’re the same fool.” ― Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

Another one of my heroes. Gone. Poof.

I cut my teeth on The Martian Chronicles about the same time I was voraciously reading everything in our school library’s science fiction collection (yes, I read them all, even the rubbish). I couldn’t get enough of Ray’s writing, initially about Mars and other exotic places, then I realised he wrote things that didn’t as easily fall into the classification of sci-fi.

And I’m glad I did.

Dandelion Wine by Ray BradburyThe one that’s stuck with me was Dandelion Wine, which means I probably read it at the right time, although The Illustrated Man also comes to mind. I loved his tales of small-town America, probably because I grew up somewhere like that, too (although my wife suggests I haven’t grown up yet). That’s not forgetting Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes or I Sing the Body Electric, or any of his other collections, way too numerous to mention.

His writing still has the power to scare the bejezus out of me. If you don’t believe me, go read “The Veldt” and I think you’ll agree.

As I started writing my own stuff, I also came to appreciate his support for new authors and the advice he gave has been inspirational and worth repeating. I posted this the other day, but I think it bears repeating

“My tunes and numbers are here. They have filled my years, the years when I refused to die. And in order to do that I wrote, I wrote, I wrote, at noon or 3:00 A.M. So as not to be dead.” from the introduction to The Illustrated Man

I never got to meet Ray and for that I feel regret – his voice and talent will be very much missed. Safe journey, Ray.

 

Ray Bradbury died june 5, 2012 at the grand age of 91