07 June 2012

Requiem for a Master

Rather than write to the theme for this month, I wanted to take a moment and mourn the loss of one of our generation's literati.  Granted, Ray Bradbury is not Generation X, but he is someone alive while I am alive and he wrote works that changed my life.  His career spanned more than 70 years - longer than some people get to live on this plane.

I remember reading The Martian Chronicles for the first time. The idea of everyday suburbia in space caught fire in my mind. I wasn’t new to the idea of space travel, having seen Star Wars at a young age, but life on a spaceship and life in a house made out of ticky-tacky where they all look the same* opened a window in my mind.  I think that, more than anything else, brought the magic home to me in a way that let me know that "write what you know" didn't have to limit you to your own backyard.

Mr. Bradbury created new stories well past the "typical" retirement age.  He never sat back on his laurels and said, "Yup, I've done it.  I've writ all I'm gonna write, told the stories I have to tell, I'm done, I quit."  He delighted audiences with his imagination and brought science home in ways that made it touchable, warm, living and real.

I wish that I had the skill of the pen the way he did, to do him justice in a eulogy.  I don't, but I don't think he'd mind.  He understood telling the story the way you see it, in plain language, without a lot of fuss and bother.

Mr. Bradbury, I will miss you.  You changed my life.  Travel well, my friend.  Until the next meeting.

*Malvena Reynolds, "Little Boxes"
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