My Thoughts On Ray Bradbary

I was saddened to hear that short story writer, novelist, and screenwriter Ray Bradbury had passed away. I have read a few of the many tributes penned online to this literary icon and I thought I would share a few of mine. I hadn’t heard much about the legendary writer recently with his passing we lose a great writer, but we still have his books and can explore his worlds anew just by picking up a copy of The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, or The Illustrated Man.

I don’t normally read science-fiction. There are a few sci-fi writers I read, but Bradbury in my estimation was and I believe will remain the greatest sci-fi writer of all time. His works are different. They are not what you might think of when you think sci-fi, but all of them flung the reader into adventures in other worlds and other times. He was a visionary because he wrote his story his way and didn’t stray from his vision.

I first began reading him, because when I was 18 there was a girl I liked and she loved his stories and so I picked up a copy of the Martian Chronicles and I was hooked from the first line–One minute it was Ohio winter, with doors closed, windows locked, the panes blind with frost, icicles fringing every roof, children skiing on slopes, housewives lumbering like great black bears in their furs along the icy streets.

I read many of his stories and novels not nearly all of them. I still pick up his books to this day to get lost in his word play. I have also read his ode to creative writing: Zen and the Art of Writing. I learned more about writing and creativity from this small volume than I have from any other book. This book is a treasure-house for both the writer and the reader in all of us. If you want to learn more about writing in a fresh way this would be a good read and if you want to read about how one excellent writer went about creating magnificent stories this would also be a good read.

Publishers Weekly said of this book “Science fiction master Bradbury occasionally sounds like a Zen sage (‘You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you’), but for the most part these nine lightweight, zestful essays dispense the sort of shoptalk generally associated with writers’ workshops. The title piece aims to help the aspiring writer navigate between the self-consciously literary and the calculatingly commercial. Other essays deal with discovering one’s imaginative self; feeding one’s muse; the germination of Bradbury’s novel Dandelion Wine in his Illinois boyhood; a trip to Ireland; science fiction as a search for new modes of survival; and the author’s stage adaptation of his classic novel Fahrenheit 451. Eight poems on creativity round out the volume; noteworthy are “Doing Is Being” and “We Have Our Arts So We Won’t Die of Truth.” 

The thing I liked the most about Bradbury and the thing I believe that will endure the test of time is his originality and his authenticity. He didn’t try to write like anyone else or write the typical story or novel. He wrote from his heart and created personal art that appealed to a wide audience. He will be missed, but we can still pick up one of his books and enjoy the one-of-a-kind experience of a Ray Bradbury tale. His personal art remains and for that we can be thankful and happy.

Ray Bradbury: If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: “It’s gonna go wrong.” Or “She’s going to hurt me.” Or,”I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore . . .” Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.

Have you read Bradbury? If you have what is your favorite? If you haven’t you should pick one up and fall in love with this awesome writer?


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