Wednesday, June 6, 2012

We've Lost One of Our Own - Ray Bradbury RIP

As an author, I’d be remiss to not mention and honor the passing of one of my biggest influences, Ray Bradbury.  I can say without a doubt that his works were some of the most inspiring for me as a creative thinker and writer.  Everyone knows Fahrenheit 451, and if you haven’t read it, what’s wrong with you?  Seriously, though, the man contributed so much to the world of literature, and I’ll bet there will be a rush to buy many of his works.

I think my favorite story of his had to be “The Veldt.”  It’s so undeniably creepy that it will make anyone shiver.  The story was published in “The Saturday Evening Post” back in 1950, yeah 1950, and it just amazes me that someone could write a story like that—about virtual reality, nonetheless—so long ago.  I mean, I can’t even imagine what technology might exist fifty years from now, and yet Ray Bradbury conjured up a tale about a VR nursery and the pitfalls of such high-tech devices left in the hands of young minds.  I know I’ve thought about that story more than once watching my 3-year-old son navigate around the screens of phones and tablets and the Internet better than most adults.  It won’t be long until he comes close to surpassing me, and considering that technology is my forte, that’s quite a feat.  Still, hopefully I stay on his good side so that I do not face the dilemma and misfortune of the parents in Bradbury’s incredible short story.

If you would like to read “The Veldt” or any other of his fabulously deviant tales, pick up a copy of The Illustrated Man, which is a collection of his short stories.  While you are at it, get one for me, because I seem to have lost mine!  Grumble grumble!

There have been other great authors pass recently, including Maurice Sendak earlier this year, J. D. Salinger in 2010, and two of my favorites: Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Crichton in 2008.  But out of all of them, I’d have to say that Ray Bradbury was the best, and he will be sorely missed.  Nobody will ever replace him, but as long as I continue to fancy writing and putting the crazy thoughts in my head on paper, I’ll certainly do my best to mimic the style of such a brilliant man.  Sure, I’ll probably pale in comparison, but I’ve always tried to do as he did, write at least 1000 words a day, and live by his profound advice:

"Just write every day of your life.  Read intensely.  Then see what happens.  Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers."  -Ray Bradbury

And finally, of all the quotes and stories Ray Bradbury ever gifted to us, this one has always been my favorite.  I think you'll understand why:

"I don't believe in being serious about anything.  I think life is too serious to be taken seriously." - Ray Bradbury

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