Ray Bradbury is a name that brings a warm fuzzy feeling to my soul. It goes back to my childhood days when I first read Dandelion Wine. New tennis shoes and summer were never the same after that.
I was saddened to hear that Ray Bradbury passed away yesterday. Certainly he has left behind an empty place where he once had been. Of course, living into your 90s is something that most of us only hope to obtain, so it can be said that Ray lead a good, long and productive life. I counted up his books, thirty-six in number, unless I've missed a few. What a treasure trove to leave behind to mark your place in the world, in the universe.
Ray Bradbury holds a special place in my heart. Back in my college days, in 1979, I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture by Ray Bradbury. I was mesmerized as I listened to him speak. His eyes sparkled as his voice wove words of magic through my soul. I laughed, smiled, sighed, dreamed, sat there enchanted by his words. I was truly in awe of the man and his books.
Afterwards a few of us wandered down to the podium to meet Ray Bradbury. He smiled and talked to each of us. When it came my turn, I reached out to shake his hand and tell him how I admired him for all his wonderful books. I explained to him that I was writing and that I dreamed of one day being an author. He held my hand in both of his and gazed deep into my eyes. Then he smiled and said, "You're going to be an author some day." Just like that I felt he'd bestowed the power of being an author onto me. It was a heady moment for sure. I was certain that he knew, really knew, that day would come to pass.
In all the years since my few moments with Ray Bradbury I've carried his words with me. He has been a guiding light and an inspiration for every word I've ever written. I could never claim to be anything in comparison to the great Ray Bradbury, only that he somehow knew I'd be an author sometime in the future.
Now that I have four ePubbed books to my name, I have to say that Ray Bradbury was able to see into the future and knew that I could fulfill my dream of being an author. How can I not hold him in the highest esteem? I shed tears for the passing of a wonderful, brilliant, enchanting, inspiring man, an author whose words will live way beyond his mortal years.
I went to the library today and checked the shelves for Ray Bradbury's books. I found six of his books, two of which were favorites of mine from those long ago days, and four I'd never read before. I brought home The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes. I put in a request for Fahrenheit 451, surprised that in our whole county library system they only have one copy of that great book. How could that be? Don't people read Ray Bradbury today? The book has been requested from a library 20 miles away.
In the meantime, I may go to Barnes and Noble or Books-a-Million and buy some copies of his books instead. Of course, I can always order his books online or download them onto my Kindle, but it seems that in this case I really should make a trip to a bookstore. I imagine I have a copy of Fahrenheit 451 tucked away in a box somewhere, but it could take me close to forever to find it.
I'm sure Ray Bradbury means many things to many of us readers/writers/authors. I'm hoping you'll add your thoughts and memories of Ray Bradbury and his books in your comments below.