Sure, I love Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. Any time Jan Karon and Francine Rivers publish something I hurry out to read it. But even though I’m not usually all that keen on science fiction and fantasy, I love Ray Bradbury, too.
When I read Dandelion Wine I was enchanted. And Fahrenheit 451 galvanized me in high school. The Martian Chronicles almost turned me into a science fiction aficionado. The stories are wondrous and the prose is gorgeous. How astonishing to find myself identifying with a golden-eyed Martian woman.
And then there’s the man himself. Here’s what he said in 2000: “Everything I’ve done is a surprise, a wonderful surprise. I sometimes get up at night when I can’t sleep and walk down into my library and open one of my books and read a paragraph and say, ‘My God, did I write that? Did I write that?’, because it’s still a surprise.”
I’ve been surprised by things I’ve written, too. Though maybe not in a good way. Well, sometimes in a good way.
Bradbury LOVED what he did–the writing and the talking about writing and the reading. In a 2009 lecture he encouraged the audience with this line: “Do what you love and love what you do.” He went on to add, “If someone tells you to do something for money, tell them to go to hell.”
Bradbury was 91 when he died earlier this week. One more great writer I’ll have to wait for heaven to meet.