Ray Bradbury died on June 6, 2012, and I have to admit that I found the news to be quite distressing. My wife and I went to a place called, Tycoon Flats and I had a few drinks in honor of Mr. Bradbury. Ray Bradbury is a great inspiration to my imagination and creativity, and though I only knew him through his work I feel like I lost one of my own kin — my spiritual godfather. Maurice Sendak died last month and that was a major bummer; but Bradbury… well, his work changed my life… and reading Fahrenheit 451 in high school is what made me want to become a writer and a librarian. I used a page in my novel notebook the day he died to express some intimate thoughts about the passing of this titan among authors… I don’t want to wax too poetic about feeling sorrow for a man I did not know personally, but his stories influenced me on various levels and through various mediums — I recall watching Ray Bradbury Theater as a kid back in the 80s; reading The Martian Chronicles, and coming to realize the man’s influence on damn near everything else I watched and read… on damn near everything I though was cool then… and now.
Ray Bradbury was 91 when he died, so he lived a full life and then some. I’m tempted to take a break from the novel and write a short story in his honor (his short stories are among the very best I’ve ever read), but I think I’ll honor him by finishing my novel. Like I said: Bradbury became a spiritual godfather to my creativity, and I have often (way too often) neglected my side of that holistic relationship. I’ve wound up dabbling in a variety of creative outlets, rather than commit to one — mostly out of fear, mostly out of denial and unrealistic expectations I heaped on myself… largely out of fear that I could never match up to what I secretly desired. Had I devoted myself to writing then, I’m pretty sure I’d be published by now… but I chickened out. Bradbury was never a coward: he pushed the limits, he forged Fantasy into something marvelous (yes, I said “Fantasy”; he wasn’t overly fond of the Science Fiction tag most commonly attached to his work). I’m writing now because I dismissed (finally) those fears and expectations and just embraced writing because it’s fun, because it’s something that gives me joy. Could I have done that without drawing inspiration from Ray Bradbury? Possibly, but not likely…
So what does any of this have to do with the price of tea in China? Hell-Kind will be dedicated to Ray Bradbury. Thanks Ray.
BTW: I know it’s not Friday; I’m a day late, but I had a previous engagement last night and had to work on what is my regularly scheduled day off. We’ll get back on schedule next Friday, and keep it that way unless something unforeseen comes up.