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.