Today is a sad day for me and for all who love good writing and good writers. Ray Bradbury, master storyteller and author of such great works as Farenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Martian Chronicles, and other well-known science fiction works, died last night. He was 91.
Bradbury was a master with words. He told them what to do, where to sit in a sentence, how to rise and fall with inflection, and they obeyed his every command. The man could do with phrases and punctuation what Beethoven could do with a symphony, and at the end all you could do was stand up and applaud. His ability to write was matched only by his love of the imagination, how he could stretch the limits of possibility and make the reader envision terror, excitement, romance, and action.
I was introduced to Bradbury through a copy of F451 loaned to me by a friend of mine. From there, my love affair with his work began. His books sit in my house, ready for me to pull off the shelf and read at any time. He tutored me, whether he meant to or not, showing me how to take mundane combinations of letters and spaces and turn them into something better, something more memorable. I still tell other aspiring writers to run to Bradbury, soak up his literature like a sponge, savor it like a good wine. His is a vintage from very good years that will please whenever it’s sipped and swallowed.
I don’t know whether or not Bradbury was a Christian, but I do know he had a God-given gift. And he showed just how well that gift could be developed and used. And in the process, he left behind literature that should be on the bookshelf of any and every booklover.
So this is a sad day for me, and for many others. Summer is really over, and the dandelion wine will no longer be made.
R.I.P. Mr. Bradbury.