How can he be gone? Yes, I do understand that he was as human as the rest of us, supposedly, but as another writer I know said, I never imagined my living without him in the world. He was my first true love when it comes to reading. He gave my imagination permission to stretch out beyond the boundaries I lived in. He scared me. He made me think. He painted pictures with his words and ideas. I could always visualize what I was reading about and that sometimes made it more than scary, more than real; more than wonderful. He inspired me.
It’s hard to think that perhaps a world might exist like the one he painted in Fahrenheit 451, but in truth, we’ve already seen this and worse. I think the melancholy thread that ran through so much of his work brought those works home to my heart. I could sympathize, I could relate, I could live and breathe in the stories he told. I sit here now crying as if I’d actually known Ray Bradbury as a friend. I can imagine that, to an extent, because that is the kind of writer he was. He brought you into his world (s).This is the legacy he left to me and to everyone else.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer because I so loved stories. My dad wrote. And I read Ray Bradbury and others in my forming years to distraction. I don’t know how old I was when I read my first Ray Bradbury, but I stood beside that little boy at the fence watching rocket ships take off, dreaming of reaching into the stars and finding adventure and wonder there.
So, I will stop writing this now or I’ll go on all day. I am grieving that I never met him in person, that I didn’t take the time to write to him and tell him how he touched me, but that is my own grief. He had no need of knowing that from me. I will treasure him, and the gifts he left for us, forever in my heart. And later, when my grief is muted to sadness, the true test I face will be to once again tap on these keys and try to do justice to the wonder he gave my soul permission to feel.
Good bye Ray Bradbury. I hope you are on Mars looking back at us and laughing.