The 22nd is the birthday of the man, the myth, the legend that is Ray Bradbury. Bradbury is in my list of Top 5 Favorite Authors EVER. That’s saying a lot. My copy of Dandelion Wine is dog-eared and tear stained… in other words, it is very well loved. The man knew how to write, he wrote every single day. Throughout his life, he tried to write at least 1,000 words a day. “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.” How true.
You probably best know Ray Bradbury for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for his science fiction novel The Martian Chronicles. But did you know that in addition to his many novels (The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, etc.) he also wrote many, MANY short stories? His short story collections are something to behold. While I enjoy his novels to no end, I do prefer his short stories. I have yet to come across another writer who touches my heart the way Bradbury does. His writing is pretty transcendent and extraordinary. “Hold summer in your hand, pour summer in a glass, a tiny glass of course, the smallest tingling sip for children; change the season in your veins by raising glass to lip and tilting summer in.” Something so simple, yet so powerful.
Much of his work has been adapted for comics, radio, theatre, tv, and film. A handful of his short stories were adapted into episodes of The Twilight Zone (I Sing the Body Electric is a personal favorite), and there was even a television series hosted by Ray called The Ray Bradbury Theater. Fahrenheit 451 and The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit have been made into movies. The movie The Butterfly Effect takes inspiration from Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder. There was some controversy a few years back with Michael Moore. Ray was NOT happy that Michael appropriated Bradbury’s title for Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. Ray also has many literary awards and even has a moon crater and an asteroid named in his honor. That’s pretty freaking spectacular.
There is one quote of Ray Bradbury’s that I love most of all, and that I think says a lot about the man. “I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows, or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.” Words to live by, my friend. Words to live by.
Happy Birthday, Ray, you wonderful, magnificent man.