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Thursday, August 22, 2013

"The lightning salesman arrived ahead of the storm."

When I was in sixth grade, I went to a Carnival where the air smelled like cotton candy, got lost in a mirror maze, and met an “Illustrated Man” covered with tattoos that came to life. I wasn’t the only one that went to this Carnival. Over the years, housands have ridden that same broken carousel as they got lost in the pages of Ray Bradbury’s, Something Wicked this way Comes.

Today would have been Ray Bradbury’s 93rd birthday. I have loved his stories and novels for as long as I can remember. His words fueled my childhood imagination and took on many adventures. They took me Mars!!! How great is that?!? I was probably a “little” too young when I read his short story, The Veldt for the first time. I didn’t even know what the word “veldt” meant. I just knew I liked the way the word felt when I said it.

Still feels good.
It’s easy to heap praise on a writer by saying they have the ability to create “unforgettable worlds", but in Ray Bradbury’s case, I really mean it. He wrote about Dinosaurs. Dystopia. Rockets. Robots. He dressed me in an ice cream suit. He set me down me down on the surface of Venus and I knew what the air smelled like before the end of the first sentence. It smelled like "green ivy". He could do ANYTHING on the page. Words obeyed him.
“It was a pleasure to burn.” - Fahrenheit 451
One of the all-time great opening lines. Ever! For those of you who haven’t read Fahrenheit 451, you’re missing out. Bradbury predicted a moral wasteland was in store for a world that stopped placing value on language. Fahrenheit, along with some of his other stories warned us of the rise of mass media, and the emergence of a vapid culture that would eventually turn on books and destroy them.
“The television, that insidious beast, that Medusa which freezes a billion people to stone every night, staring fixedly, that Siren which called and sang and promised so much and gave, after all, so little.

Out of all of Bradbury’s short stories and books, I think my favorite is probably Zen and the Art of Writing, his collection of short essays on the craft of writing. Throughout the book – which is part memoir, part writing seminar – Bradbury talks about writing and creativity and shares some wisdom for both beginning and seasoned writers. Like the importance of writing with “zest and gusto”, finding your personal style, finding ideas all around you, and “feeding your Muse” by reading everyday. Most importantly - the importance of writing every day.
“Write. Don’t think. Relax”.
Easier said than done, Ray… but I’m working on it.
So, to celebrate your birthday I did something I think you’d approve of, Mr. Bradbury. I pulled out my battered copy of  The Veldt, went out on my roof where I can find the quiet, and I read. I ran my fingers over the pages to feel the paper. I held the book close to my face and smelled the pages. It smelled like cotton candy. I opened the door to “The Happylife Home”, went into the nursery, and got eaten by a lion.
And it was FANTASTIC!!!

“Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down” - Ray Bradbury.
I'm working on that too, Mr. Bradbury!!! :-) 
Photo | for Maddie Moon Designs