Thursday, June 07, 2012

Mexico, 1938.

It would be hard to imagine a writer who's had more impact on me and on my own writing than Ray Bradbury. I can't remember when I first read him -- must have been around age 12 or so -- and I think the first book was The Martian Chronicles, followed speedily by all the other short story collections, Dandelion Wine, the great Fahrenheit 451 -- all of them over and over and over.

The astonishing wealth of ideas, the simultaneous belief in both the good and evil that lies within all humans, the sense of tragedy (but also hope) in doom and extinction, and the language -- the language -- atmospheric, lyrical, evocative, spare and rich at once.

I used to sit out on the front porch of our house, after school and in the broiling summertime, copying sentences, paragraphs, pages and sometimes whole stories from his books on my electric typewriter. I would savor his writing, turning bits over in my head, going into whole other worlds with just a few words -- and they've stuck with me all my life.

Mr. Bradbury: Thank you for all of this. Having merged with the infinite, you are immortal in your way.

The nights were full of the winds that blew down the empty moonlight sea-meadows past the little white chess cities lying for their twelve-thousandth year in the shallows ...

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Anonymous Flo said...

Remember reading Dandelion Wine in 8th grade? I reread it a few summers ago and really enjoyed it.

10:15 AM  
Blogger alison said...

Just last year I read "The Halloween Tree" to Leah. She loved it. Me too, for about the 4th time.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

Flo: Yes! Mrs. Johnson -- god, I loved her.

Alison: Ohhh, she's just at the right age! That's awesome.

11:38 AM  

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