Thursday, June 07, 2012

Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 - June 5, 2012)

I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ray Bradbury who has been one of my favorite authors ever since I came across a paperback copy of R is for Rocket in the school library in 5th or 6th grade. He always claimed that Fahrenheit 451 was his only science fiction novel and that his other work was all fantasy, because science fiction is about what could happen. His writing evokes something of a literary equivalent of a Norman Rockwell's nostalgic paintings of American life only with dark shadows creeping in. Bradbury's enthusiastic recollection and presentation of what being a boy was like at age eleven was not only infectious, but provided a sunny outlook that would have to struggle to overcome the encroaching dark clouds that came to visit in Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dandelion Wine and The Halloween Tree, three of my favorite Bradbury stories. Equally infectious was Bradbury's own enthusiasm for life and ability to remain eleven years old at heart throughout his life, which encouraged me that it was okay to still like dinosaurs and robots as an adult.

For me, the month of October, and Halloween, itself doesn't feel complete without Bradbury's presence in some form. For many years, weather permitting, I created my own Halloween tree on the front lawn to greet trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. I regret that I'd never had the opportunity to thank him in person for all of the joy and inspiration he brought to me in life, but look forward to returning to his fiction again and again.

Thank you, Ray Bradbury. Rest In Peace.

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