I have a place I keep in my head for people I’d like to invite to dinner. As it happens, they are all deceased. Some of them are actors, some are figures in history and there is a large section of writers. Ray Bradbury has a reserved seat at the head of the table.
I grew up like so many others, reading Ray Bradbury stories. As a matter of fact, when I was about 6, and the kids in school were still learning to read, I was reading science fiction books under my school desk. Most of these were in the “Magazine for Fantasy and Science Fiction”. This was not kept secret from my teacher. She knew I wasn’t paying attention to Dick and Jane. I already knew how to read, and the pitiful children’s books were simply not up to my level. So, we had an agreement. I wouldn’t be obvious about it, and she wouldn’t penalize me for it.
And I discovered that Ray Bradbury was my favorite writer. After I read all the stories I could find in the magazines, I sought out short stories and later novels. And my passion for Ray Bradbury never left. I developed an appreciation for the dark and vaguely sinister. The cold winds of October I thought of as Ray Bradbury winds. All carnivals were Ray Bradbury carnivals. Unknown blobs in jars, definitely Ray Bradbury material.
So when I read the news that Ray Bradbury had died last week, I felt more than a little pang. He was MY writer. He inspired me to see the beauty in things that were a little bit frightening and risky. I am so sorry that he is gone.
And I immediately set a place for him at my table. If you haven’t yet read Bradbury, you have a real treat in store.
Art-itorial by Barbara Broido. Visit Barbara’s Doodle Blog for more of her art, design work and socio-political commentary.