I’m not sure exactly when I fell in love with his unique style—that unlikely combination of horror and lilting poetry that sings to my soul. I think I read Fahrenheit 451 in high school. Excerpts from The Martian Chronicles inevitably end up in high school anthologies, so I think that’s where my feelings began to deepen. But I believe it was after Something Wicked This Way Comes that it became pure love.
The one that reads to me like sips of a precious elixir to the spirit is Dandelion Wine. I rocked in the nursery rocking chair and read it to my abdomen after I found out that the fetus therein was male. To this day it remains one of my all-time favorite books and proof to me of what I once read about Ray Bradbury to those of us who worshiped him: he was not really a science fiction writer, but a poet.
I relished each word of Zen in the Art of Writing. Then last Christmas, I got the most thoughtful gift of my life when a dear friend sent me an autographed copy of The Halloween Tree. It’s one of the few I don’t have. I was almost speechless.
“How did you know that’s something I’ve always wanted?” I asked. I’d never said.
I could hear his infamous shrug over the phone. “I don’t know. It just fit you.” Which is, of course, what I could say about all of Ray Bradbury’s work. I’m not sure why, but it fits me.
I read that Ray Bradbury died during the rare transit of Venus. I hope that’s true. I imagine he would have liked that.