Commentary, Non-Fiction

Death Day – A Tribute to Ray Bradbury

Celebrating the life of Ray Bradbury

Now I must say, without weeping, how much this writer means to me. Ray Bradbury has been the strongest inspiration to me as a writer, or even as a human, persevering through the unimaginative obstacles, and he is the true inspiration for this project of Drunken Library. Bradbury was a novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and poet. He was a self-educated man, an idea enthusiast, and one who charmed you with such fun and imagination that you felt like a child reborn. Reading Bradbury is like a soft blow of ocean mist after the morning rain has cleared. bradbury

Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois and fell in love with reading when he was three years old. He began reading comics and fantasy, then hoped to grow up to be all the characters that he read about. After graduating from Los Angeles High School, he started religiously attending the public library, from which he says that he graduated. The library educated and fulfilled him. He was most successful in science fiction, screenplays, always defending the imagination of the individual.

In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back. Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I’ve worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior.

Favorite Quotes:

If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you, and you’ll never learn.

Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

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The things that you do should be things that you love, and the things that you love should be things that you do.

Incomplete List of Suggested Reading:

The Martian Chronicles (1950)

The Illustrated Man (1951)

Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

Dandelion Wine (1957)

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962)

I Sing the Body Electric (1969)

The Cat’s Pajama’s (2004) – Collection of Short Stories

Interesting Facts:

His formal education ended at high school; he never attended a college, but a library.

When he was a boy, Bradbury was tapped on the shoulder by the sword of a carnival man and told to “Live forever!” which inspired his works for a lifetime.

Bradbury was afraid of the dark until he was almost twenty years old and he never obtained a driver’s license.

Related Articles:

You can live in Ray Bradbury’s house. . . http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-ray-bradbury-house-20140520-story.html

A fantastic interview to know him better … http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/6012/the-art-of-fiction-no-203-ray-bradbury

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Excerpt from Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

Seymour’s diary, Fort Monmouth, in late 1941 and early 1942:: J.D. Salinger

How I love and need her undiscriminating heart. She looked over at me when the children in the picture brought in the kitten to show their mother. M. loved the kitten and wanted me to love it. Even in the dark, I could sense that she felt the usual estrangement from me when I don’t automatically love what she loves. Later, when we were having a drink at the station, she asked me if I didn’t think that kitten was ‘rather nice.’ She doesn’t use the word ‘cute’ any more. When did I ever frighten her out of her normal vocabulary? Bore that I am, I mentioned R. H. Blyth’s definition of sentimentality: that we are being sentimental when we give to a thing more tenderness than God undoubtedly loves kittens, but not, in all probability, with Technicolor bootees on their paws. He leaves that creative touch to script writers. M. thought this over, seemed to agree with me, but the ‘knowledge’ was’t too very welcome. She sat stirring her drink and feeling unclose to me. She worries over the way her love for me comes and goes, appears and disappears. She doubts its reality simply because it isn’t as steadily pleasurable as a kitten. God knows it is sad. The human voice conspires to desecrate everything on earth.”

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Excerpt from Franny and Zooey

He thought this over, then gave a mild snort. “I’d like to see him do it, the bastard.” He took a drag on his cigar. “Everybody in this family gets his goddam religion in a different package,” he commented, with a notable absence of awe in his tone. “Walt was a hot one. Walt and Boo Boo had the hottest religious philosophies in the family.” He dragged on his cigar, as if to offset being amused when he didn’t care to be.

“Walt once told Walker that everybody in the family must have piled up one helluva lot of bad karma in his past incarnations. He had a theory, Walt, that the religious life, and all the agony that goes with it, is just something God sicks on people who have the gall to accuse Him of having created an ugly world.”

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Excerpt from Holidays On Ice

Santaland Diaries:: David Sedaris

I Photo Elfed all day for a variety of Santas and it struck me that many of the parents don’t allow their children to speak at all. A child sits upon Santa’s lap and the parent say, “All right now, Amber, tell Santa what you want. Tell him you want a Baby Alive and My Pretty Ballerina and that winter coat you saw in the catalog.”

        The parents name the gifts they have already bought. They don’t want to hear the word “pony,” or “television set,” so they talk through the entire visit, placing words in the child’s mouth. When the child hops off the lap, the parents address their children, each and every time, with, “What do you say to Santa?”

        The child says, “Thank you, Santa.”

         It is sad because you would like to believe that everyone is unique and then they disappoint you every time by being exactly the same, asking for the same things, reciting the exact same lines as though they have been handed a script. 

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Excerpt from The Cat’s Pajamas – Ray Bradbury

The Island, 1952:: Ray Bradbury

The winter night drifted by lamplit windows in white bits and pieces. Now the procession marched evenly, now fluttered and spun. But there was a continual sifting and settling, which never stopped filling a deep abyss with silence. 

The house was locked and bolted at every seam, window, door, and hatch. Lamps bloomed softly in each room. The house held its breath, drowsed and warm. Radiators sighed. A refrigerator hummed quietly. In the library, under the lime green hurricane lamp, a white hand moved, a pen scratched, a face bent to the ink, which dried in the false summer air. 

Upstairs in bed, an old woman lay reading. Across the upper hall, her daughter sorted linen in a cupboard room. On the attic floor above, a son, half through thirty years, tapped delicately at a typewriter, added yet another paper ball to the growing heap on the rug. 

Downstairs, the kitchen maid finished the supper wine-glasses, placed them with clear bell sounds onto shelves, wiped her hands, arranged her hair, and reached for the light switch. 

It was then that all five inhabitants of the snowing winter night house heard the unusual sound.

The sound of a window breaking.

It was like the cracking of moon-colored ice on a midnight pond.

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