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R.I.P. Ray Bradbury [Jun. 6th, 2012|01:33 pm]
International Bon Vivant and Raconteur

It’s almost impossible for me to wrap my brain around the death of Ray Bradbury. He seemed immortal, the way all legends do. Yes, he was 91 and lived a full and no doubt satisfying life, but it’s not him I mourn so much as us. A world without Ray Bradbury seems almost too horrible, too barren to imagine.

Bradbury’s 1955 collection The October Country changed my life in much the same way Clive Barker’s Books of Blood and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story did. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of genre fiction as something beyond its worst and most prevalent tropes. Though I read The October Country in the mid- to late-1980s, I still remember stories like “The Lake,” “The Emissary,” and “The Crowd” so vividly it’s as if I only just read them yesterday. Later, I read Long After Midnight, another collection of horror stories whose centerpiece “The October Game” still haunts me, and Something Wicked This Way Comes, and The Illustrated Man, and The Martian Chronicles, and Fahrenheit 451, and somewhere in there Ray Bradbury became my favorite author. Though I’m old and wise enough now (or maybe just old) to no longer label anyone my favorite author (why bother when I know it’ll just change tomorrow anyway?), Bradbury never dropped from the top of the list. He was one of a kind. Inimitable. Hell, I even watched his stupid TV anthology program Ray Bradbury Theater back in the ’80s, when anthology shows like Tales from the Darkside and Amazing Stories and revamps of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone were all the rage, because it was Ray Bradbury, damn it, and who cared if the acting was awful, the direction third rate, and the budget nonexistent?

His how-to manual Zen in the Art of Writing is, I believe, indispensable advice for all writers. Trust yourself, he said. Don’t edit or censor yourself while you’re drafting. Just get it all on the page and whittle it down to something comprehensible from there. I still struggle with that lesson, as I’m sure so many other writers do, fretting over word choice and how best to describe someone moving from point A to point B while I stare at the mercilessly blinking cursor. But I never let myself get full-on writer’s block because Bradbury’s advice always comes back to me, and I push through. He didn’t just make me want to be a better writer. He helps me write. Every day.

Ray Bradbury was a beacon to many writers, not just me, and he will be deeply missed. Luckily, we still have with us all the magic his words conjured, now and forever.

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: cathica
2012-06-06 05:48 pm (UTC)
Amen.
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[User Picture]From: bev_vincent
2012-06-06 06:42 pm (UTC)
My sentiments exactly.
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[User Picture]From: cdennismoore
2012-06-06 06:56 pm (UTC)
"Zen in the Art of Writing", God what a life-changing book that was.

As for the TV series, I still want an office like his.
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[User Picture]From: nick_kaufmann
2012-06-06 06:59 pm (UTC)
That book should be on every writer's shelf.
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[User Picture]From: cdennismoore
2012-06-06 07:49 pm (UTC)
It's on mine, and I recommend it to every person I meet who wants to get started writing.
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[User Picture]From: p_m_cryan
2012-06-06 09:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Nick.
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[User Picture]From: livejournal
2012-06-06 10:28 pm (UTC)

June 7, 2012 Links and Plugs

User charlesatan referenced to your post from June 7, 2012 Links and Plugs saying: [...] las Kaufmann [...]
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