Thursday, June 7, 2012

Farewell, Old Friend

You fail only if you stop writing.
~ Ray Bradbury
After 91 trips around the sun, Ray Bradbury has set off for new adventures. And oh, how my life has been made richer by his time logged on the planet.
Fahrenheit 451 is what I remember most about my entire 8th grade year. Well, that and the fact that my science teacher could write on the board using both hands at the same time.
Dandelion Wine remains one of my all-time favorite books, and my best defense against a neighbor’s pesticide use.
And of course, there’s Zen in the Art of Writing – a book that I actually carry with me at all times. You just never know when a traffic jam or child’s saxophone lesson will give you a chance to read a snippet and be inspired by Ray’s writing process…
“My stories run up and bite me on the leg – I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off.”
His words also provide that swift kick I need on days when I just can’t face the toil of arranging and rearranging those same dang 26 letters…
“I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice.”
And Ray walked his talk. He was a disciplined writer who kept his 1,000-words-a-day “practice” well into his later years.
And all that practice paid off. He wrote over 600 short stories, 27 novels, as well as poetry, plays, jokes, and songs. He had honors and awards aplenty to show for his efforts, too – even his own “Dandelion Crater” on the moon!
Of course, now that he has moved on, a whole lot of folks have a whole lot of nice things to say about him. But I think the best compliment was offered by Ray’s own grandson who said, “He was the biggest kid I ever knew.”
So, here’s one more gem from Big Kid Ray…
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dreams made or paid for in factories.”

Travel well, Ray. Travel well.

PROMPT: Today’s a great day to honor Ray by working on that Bradbury List of yours. Write on!

1 comment:

  1. I believe I saw that fail quote somewhere recently. ^_^
    Sometimes we do forget to see the world around us with all its wonder. What an encouraging tribute to an amazing writer. Thanks, Barb.