Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Hello Computer, Goodbye Ray Bradbury

 It’s good to be back after a long absence with a broken computer. Now I’m back at last…only to find out that one of my all-time favorite writers ever, Ray Bradbury, died this week.

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.

Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together. ~Ray Bradbury


  1. I have not read Dandelion Wine. After reading what you wrote about it, I will have to put it on my "must read" list.

    Yes, the writing world lost a true treasure...

  2. Welcome back! I remember reading Fahrenheit 451 in high school, and now after reading your post think that I should read his other books too.

    Kathy M.

  3. Well, I saw The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451 on the shelf when I frequented my middle school library. And I would know that Ray Bradbury wrote them, if I had to answer that question on Jeopardy. But I don't recall ever reading Mr. Bradbury.

    I'm guessing his stories were more interesting than The House of the Seven Gables. I chose that one to read just for fun. And found Hawthorne to be a bit wordy.

  4. Very nice tribute, Tammy. And BTW, glad you're back up and running in the cyber-world!

    Critter Alley

  5. Wonderful tribute, Tammy. I don't recall ever having read anything of his, but I was saddened by the news nonetheless. Connor did have to read "The Illustrated Man" last year in his Honors English class. I think I'll see if it's still lying around....

  6. I know when I first fell in love with Ray Bradbury's writings. It was while I was reading Dandelion Wine and I came up on the passage where the two boys were in competition...

  7. I have Bradbury's writing book, and didn't realize (dur) he had written so many other things... now I have more to my list too!


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