Welcome to Thoughty Thursday! This is the day of the week that y’all get to be privy to whatever thoughts are kicking around in my brain. Today I’m thinking about the late, great Ray Bradbury.
Although I’ve never had a one-on-one conversation with him, I’ve heard him speak three times at the L.A. Times Festival of Books in Los Angeles. He had SUCH an impact on me.
Mr. Bradbury was much, much older by the time I first heard him speak, arriving in a wheel chair and displaying some of the palsy you’d associate with a man in his eighties. There was nothing old about his message.
His message was fresh and vital, and I will always hear it echoing in my head:
Do what you love…and success will follow.
He went on to talk about his love of the theater and how that had affected his career, but his message was really to follow your passion and not let anyone talk you out of it.
He captivated me completely and changed my writing. Plus, I had to run out and buy Zen in the Art of Writing immediately. I know you’ve read his books in your lifetime but in case YOU aren’t sure, here is a list.
Most kids my age, especially those who grew up in Los Angeles like I did, read Farenheit 451 in the 8th grade. How much more would we have loved it if we’d known:
Ray Bradbury wrote it in Powell Library at UCLA on a typewriter he had to rent for 10 cents every 30 minutes. The original story was 25,000 words (half the final length for Farenheit 451) and he called it “The Fireman.”
Mr. Bradbury would show up in that study room with a roll of dimes and type his brains out for as long as he could before he had to give up the typewriter.
That 10 cents today would be worth $0.83.
It cost him $9.80 cents to write Farenheit 451. Today that would be $81.34. (Think of that the next time your spouse kvetches about the price of a writing course.)
He LOVED magic and began learning it at age 12.
The final time I heard Mr. Bradbury speak, he was in a dander. The Los Angeles Times had made noises about eliminating their book section, particularly the book reviews. As a champion for writers, he went on a rant. His final statement was:
“If they remove the section that celebrates books, they are sending a clear message that they don’t value artists. If they do that, I will not speak at the L.A. Times Festival of Books EVER again.”
He was an amazing man who left an indelible stamp of love on the world. I miss him already.
Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) published some 500 short stories, novels, plays and poems since his first story appeared in Weird Tales when he was twenty years old. Among his many famous works are ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ ‘The Illustrated Man,’ and ‘The Martian Chronicles.’
And speaking of love…
And tomorrow, we’re having a raucous celebration at the #WANAParty hashtag on Twitter!! All the details will be at Natalie Markey’s site today – click here! (I’m totally trying to smuggle in the margarita machine!) Fire up your TweetDeck or HootSuite and come join the party.
What are you “feeling the love for” this week? Do you plan to join the party tomorrow?? What is your experience with Bradbury? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!