Friday, May 6, 2011

Ray Bradbury Appreciation Day

Like a benevolent mentor, Ray Bradbury instills confidence into our often-shaky, artistic souls by telling us we are not crazy for assuming we can tell a good story, that we are right, and the rest of the world is wrong.

You gotta love this man. He loves you. Without ever meeting you. All because you're a writer. If you haven't read Zen In The Art Of Writing, put it on your to-read list. It is short and effusive and unabashedly sentimental.

This is one of my favorite sections. To set the scene, in 1925 Illinois, a young Ray Bradbury is on the cusp of adolescence. It's the 4th of July, and he is setting off fire balloons.These sparkly, floating incendiaries sound beautiful but dangerous, and Ray is entranced by their glowing light. Surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins and parents, he releases them reluctantly into the air. He looks at the dear faces around him as the balloons lift toward the sky and the moment is poignantly imprinted on his memory.

Mr. Bradbury shares this story to illustrate how writers are like time machines. We can preserve life by recording it. Though age alters us, and the people we love, we are captured forever through the written word. To quote from Zen:

"I see my grandfather there looking up at that strange shifting light, thinking his own thoughts. I see me, my eyes filled with tears, because it was all over, the night was done, I knew there would never be another night like this. No one said anything. We all just looked up at the sky. . .

"My beloved family still sits on the porch in the dark. The fire balloon still drifts and burns in the night sky of an as yet unburied summer."

See? Our experiences remain unburied if we write them down. And I feel like one of Ray's family when I read that account. As though I, too, am sitting on that porch, gazing at a fiery light rising into the inky darkness. Tomorrow is my 18th wedding anniversary. Can you believe it? I can't. That early spring morning is etched so clearly in my mind, and when I dip into my cistern of memories, time reverses upon itself and I'm there once more. Like one of Mr. Bradbury's heaven-bound fire balloons, I'm still a new bride, taking a leap of faith.

Life is often good, friends. Amid challenges and disappointments, there are still lights in the sky.

Have a wonderful weekend.


  1. Great words from you and Bradbury. Happy Anniversary!

  2. I adore Ray Bradbury. He might be my favorite author of all time.

    Your anniversary is on my birthday! Have a great one, and a lovely Mother's day!

  3. Excellent post. Thank you and thanks to Mr. Bradbury. He's like a writing god to me.

    Have an awesome anniversary. =o)

  4. he's very inspiring. i have this quote from him on my blog: To sum it all up, if you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling.

  5. Happy wedding anniversary lovely Roxie and hubby!!! 18 years!!! Wonderful!!

    thanks for sharing Mr Bradbury's poignant memories here!! Lovely to read! Take care

  6. Happy Anniversary!

    This is a great post, Roxy. I think about this kind of thing a lot, especially when people bring up stories from childhood with intense emotion as if it just happened to them. I find it interesting that we can remember things from when we were say, 7, and only we can take ourselves back to that point in our life.
    And this is a reminder that I should write more things down that I want to remember :)

  7. An excellent excerpt from Ray Bradbury - and to think I always thought he just wrote science fiction! I've always appreciated this peculiar quality of writing - what you've called its Time-Travel quality. For example, George Orwell is a writer long dead, but when I read one of his novels or essays I really feel like I know him and I'm having a conversation with him.

    Sure it's something of a one-way conversation, but it's like when you write something and it stands the test of time it is a work that is continuing that conversation through the ages.

    Oh and I'd also like to wish you a great big
    "Happy Anniversary!" from me down under!

  8. I have always loved Ray Bradbury, and you do him great justice in your post. One of my more treasured possessions is an autographed edition of SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, a small hardback with big memories attached to it, Roland

  9. I haven't read Zen yet, but I adore this man's fiction.

    Happy anniversary!

  10. Oh, I like this. I am a RB fan.

  11. I really like that story. Too many times, I've wanted to freeze a moment because I knew something special was just about to end.

    Happy anniversary, Roxy!

  12. What a beautiful post. I'm totally appreciating Ray Bradbury right now. He's so right.


  13. How can you not love a little RB?

    Hope you had a good weekend.

  14. I have to get him ASAP. I feel like i'm left out of my favourite dessert.

  15. Story telling is as old as language and most of us love to tell a tale or two. My fondest memories are listening from afar to my aunt telling my kids about her youth as they lay nestled together in a huge bed on the sunny side of our farmhouse in the blue guest bedroom. I especially loved it when they giggled and wanted more. Now one of those kids is a creative writer by profession and will likely add some of her memories into her works.
    Happy Anniversary and many more!