Ray Bradbury died today. He was 91. For the past 10 years of my life, I have explored his literary works, perpetually wide-eyed and starving for more. Bradbury’s stories are saturated with rich imagination – but more than that, they prick at my psyche. They pump me full of wonderment and curiosity, feelings I rarely possess in this fast-paced digital age. His stories have taught me that creativity can be found in a pen. Or in the battered pages of a book you’ve read one hundred times. It can even reside within the rust-colored, ancient ruins of Mars. Ray Bradbury, though he has passed on from this life, will forever challenge me to strengthen my writing abilities. I’m still bewildered, as I read the pages I’ve known since the eighth grade, at his ability to say everything so right. Bravely, actually. And eloquently. Bradbury wrote and wrote and wrote. Every day. And the practice paid off in ways I can’t accurately convey.
His inspirations, such as Edgar Allan Poe and Ambrose Bierce, were evident within his dark writing style. But he also wrote of hope. And renewal. And sometimes his stories were whispered pleads, unleashed omens indicating the future perils awaiting us. Fahrenheit 451, for example, isn’t so beyond our comprehension. We, Bradbury’s future, don’t burn books – but we ban them.
All I’m really trying to say is that Bradbury is one of two authors who impacted my life remarkably. His life spanned nearly a century, and gave the world a gift. Ray’s legacy will truly live on, and I’m fortunate to have been introduced to this man at such an early age. I have the rest of my life to continue consuming and digesting Bradbury’s tales of dystopian futures. For that, I’m thankful. Tonight I’ll be raising a glass to Ray Bradbury, the man whose literary works became a part of me in Mr. Williams’ 8th Grade reading class, when I picked up that soiled copy of The Martian Chronicles and began a journey to an unknown land that I have yet to leave. Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, and rest in peace.
Thanks for reading.