R.I.P. Ray Bradbury

This post was originally written on June 6, 2012.
I have just learned about the passing of writing legend and a true inspiration, Ray Bradbury. When I think of the way I mourn his death, it may seem cold but for me mourning has to be done with detachment. To explain further, I respect the passing of a man who was 91 and suffered from a long illness. I mourn the mind and genius of the man who changed literature with phenomenal works, such as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked This Way Comes.
Bradbury’s book, Zen in the Art of Writing, was one of two books that whispered in my mind that it was okay to pursue writing as a serious endeavor.
Words fail me, as I try to write this, figuring out just the right way to express how my love and reverence for the man as well as his work influenced and affected me, not only as a writer but as a reader as well. My love for the man may contradict my earlier statement about my not mourning the passing of his body but of his mind. However, this is just the way I view death. Death plays a huge part in the stories I write and I have respect for it. I do not like feeling the effects of death though. It’s as if my body and my mind don’t want to deal with the sensory overload that death throws at you. Is this making any sense? My apologies if it doesnt. I figure this is as good a place as any to just ramble on nonsensically.
I don’t want this to be an in depth look at his life or his body of work. That is what the internet is for. If you have never read his work I would suggest to stop reading my lame thoughts and turn to his far superior worlds. What I would like to share though is how I felt the first time I read Fahrenheit 451. I remember reading it a few years ago, far removed from the requirements of forced high school reading. I remember the dizziness I felt when he described the walls filled with blasting nonstop television and the chaos of the roadways, where people often were struck and killed. I remember a stifled feeling that his world created around me. I was only an outsider looking in after all. What I remember the most was the absolute horror and dread, the feeling that something was sitting heavy in my stomach at the thought that reading books was illegal. Those firemen, who in our world protect us from fires, were sent to your house to incinerate books. I know there is more to be read into the social and political implications of this book but all I can feel was what the words were conveying to me. On the purest level of relationship that a writer tries to achieve with their reader. How could someone hurt a book?
Once I finished the book and had time to reenter my world. I went on a rampage of research to learn all I could about Ray Bradbury, the man. I wanted to know how someone could wield that kind of power, because surely everyone who read that book felt as I did. It was a few hours on the internet well spent. It led me to some of his work I was previously unaware of.
I will wrap this up now by suggesting that you read Bradbury’s last essay that he wrote for The New Yorker a short time before he died. In it he talks about the inspiration for one of his stories. As you read it in your head, your internal voice becomes his and it is him telling you a story of his past. You can find the essay here.
R.I.P. Ray Bradbury
August 22, 1920-June 5, 2012
FacebookTwitterRSS Feed