Tuesday, March 5, 2013

RAY BRADBURY, THE SPARKER

His child-like mind kept sparking, like one of those 4th of July hand-sparkler toys.  Yes, he left the world in June, but 91-year-old Ray Bradbury is still here.


I had a sparkler toy. I just grabbed it -- hiss, crackle, POP -- flashing colored streaks were my reward.

I loved playing with it, but also, it scared me. It seemed dangerous.

Glancing at Ray Bradbury's bio, I skimmed the list of his awards and honors -- more than a dozen -- learned he had four daughters, one wife, and since last year, he'd been writing a book.

Yep, he was a sparker, and he never stopped sparking.
 He's certainly many young people's inspiring granddaddy. He inspired me without my being aware of it -- inspired me like my  teachers -- Shakespeare, T.S. Elliot, Tolstoy, Shaw, or Updike, or Evan S. Connell, author of "Mrs. Bridge."  I've got a page full of  names to thank for imbuing me a sense of language and rhythms, phonetics (sounds of speech and the recurring alternation of strong and weak elements in the flow of sound and silence in sentences or lines of verse.)

When I look at my six novels, I think -- eek, E.F., what a small amount of stuff you left on the world's shelf. Ray B. has lots of shelves, libraries all over the world have shelves loaded with his works.

So I look at the blog I've written since 2009, and think -- eek, self indulgent, too much flotsam and jetsam. (Yes, as a writer I was looking into underwear drawers and closets, remembering small, personal things that seemed important, but weren't.)

Ray Bradbury didn't dig or go searching for personal stuff that used to be important to him -- he made stuff, created new things from scratch.

Well, my digging into my past did help me evolve into the more picky me, the me who picks subjects to write about because the subject interests me. And may energize readers from the retirement home that Facebook is, or awaken Twitter guys who are filling their hope-chests with little peep tweets.

Hey, "retirement home?" -- "hope chest" -- why am I casting aspersions on readers who visit my blog?

I think it's because I'm thinking of how Ray Bradbury sparked, kept sparking, creating flashes of color, other worlds, kept giving suspense and excitement to millions of people. If you needed entertainment -- a video, film, short story, TV  series -- needed something to divert you -- if you saw "RAY BRADBURY" in the credits,  you knew.... hey, "saw?" -- ."knew?" -- why am I writing in the  past tense?

If you see  his name, you KNOW you are in for a pow-pow-wow of an  adventure. 


 

7 comments:

Carola said...

I think of him as a science fiction author, although I guess he's written many kinds of books. I read a lot of science fiction when I was about 12, but I guess I didn't read Bradbury. I know that I didn't like Fahrenheit 451.

Linda Phillips said...

I have no interest in science fiction so Bradbury is someone that I have never read. I do love those toys however. They evoke fun memories of my childhood.

Em, why are you selling yourself short? You have written 6 novels, all of which are available on Amazon as Ebooks.. You write a wonderful and popular blog, which is always different and filled with fascinating thoughts and ideas.

You were a well respected dancer and choreographer. Sadly, I never saw you dance in person, but I have seen wonderful photographs on you and they clearly show your intensity as a dancer.

Recently, a friend sent me a photograph of a very young and ebullient Emily Frankel, dancing with her former husband, Mark Ryder. I could not believe just how high the two of you had leaped while maintaining adorable facial expressions. I would love to see you write a blog about that dance and include that photograph. It's simply priceless. You both look like you are literally flying.

thelittlefluffycat said...

I call him "Grandfather" - not because I was any relation to him, but because I never knew a grandfather other than him...I sat, transfixed, as he spun tales for me and opened my young mind wide, wide, then he took my my two hands and spun me around him, made me fly, while we laughed and laughed.

JD Holiday said...

I know some of his works but I don't read science fiction. Em, your articles are fun to read. You have such a way with words.
And I love your FB discripton. LOL

JD Holiday
www.thebookgarden.net

Fantastic Books Publishing said...

Hi Em,

The first full length book I ever read was Ray Bradbury's 'Golden Apples of the Sun' and I've been a lifelong scifi fan ever since.

Also, until I read Linda Phillips comment, I had no idea you were also a novelist.

We are running a Romance Spotlight event on our blog quite soon (2/3 weeks) and I wondered if you would like to participate?

You have my email so please let me know. You could even do your own video interview!

All the very best,

Dan

Constance Masters said...

I have never read Ray Bradbury’s works but he sounds like he was a firecracker of a person. He’s left some of himself behind :)

Maureen Jacobs said...

What is nice about Mr. Bradbury is that he planted a seed in the minds of many of his readers. Opened a door that may have remained closed for a great many years. He dared to dream, he craved adventure, and most certainly inspired many people to think way outside the box.

What an awesome legacy!

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