In Honor of Ray Bradbury: Do What You Love

Do What You Love, Inspiration, Motivation


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…

Kristen Lamb kicked the Love Revolution into high gear this week with the launch of WANA International. We’re hanging out in WANA Tribe and signing up for WANA classes.

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!


About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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35 Responses to In Honor of Ray Bradbury: Do What You Love

  1. MarinaSofia says:

    I remember my first encounter with Ray Bradbury: a short story of his we read in class in Primary 6 (but I cannot remember the name of the story to reread it, sadly). It was the first story that really gave me a frisson and got me thinking about humanity and our future. I’ve loved him every since. Thanks for giving us an insight into the man in action!


  2. Gene Lempp says:

    Somehow I think that Ray finally made it to Mars. The world was a better place for his time here and he will be greatly missed.


  3. Juliana Haygert says:

    “Do what you love…and success will follow.” << perfect morning inspiration 😉


  4. I never had the privilege of hearing him speak, but the reminder to “do what you love and success will follow” is one that I regularly need. This is a lovely tribute to a talented writer.


  5. Beautiful tribute, Jenny. I miss him, too!


  6. emaginette says:

    I think I was born a Trekkie, and I will die one too. He was a great man, with a wonderful imagination, that touched my life deeply long after his passing. 🙂


  7. Karen McFarland says:

    “Do what you love and success will follow!”

    How many times have we heard those words and perhaps didn’t know that they originated with Mr. Bradbury? How true that statement proved to be. What an inspiring post to kick off “Fast Track!”

    Speaking of which, I am off the track! Must get back to work! 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’m so impressed that you’re throwing yourself into Fast Track, Karen! I don’t think they originated with him, but he was the first person I’ve ever heard say it. And that was the theme of his talk that day.


  8. Chihuahua0 says:

    Margarita machine? Yay for underaged drinking! 😉

    Still, great tribute, particularly the part with him ranting against the LA Times.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL. I’m not going to go so far as to promote THAT. But, we’re delighted to have you at the party. And if you choose to drink virtually, just don’t drive. 🙂


  9. Wonderful tribute Jenny. I never had the opportunity to hear him speak but I love his “do what you love and success will follow” motto – amen to that!
    I wouldn’t DARE miss a Twitter party – I’ll be there with bells on! Squeee!


  10. Sherry Isaac says:

    I read about the typewriter rental, Jenny, and I feel like a slug. I have a new laptop (well, 1 and a half — guess that’s middle-aged, not new) with gadgets galore to take advantage of: cut, paste, copy, delete, save as… Talk about lighting a fire under your keister to get to The End.

    I love how Ray Bradbury championed authors and their art. What a giving, supportive, creative industry we are in. And what an honour to be part of an industry that attracted the likes of RB.


  11. tomwisk says:

    Ray Bradbury fed my appetite for SF. He showed that SF is not all zap guns and BEM. SciFi can be a character study, a reflection on censorship or a ripping good adventure tale. Didja know he wrote the screenplay for Moby Dick?


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I did know that he wrote the screenplay for Moby Dick. He said it was actually one of the hardest things he ever did, and the most meaningful to him. 🙂


  12. mliddle says:

    Hello Jenny!
    I was so pleased when I saw this tribute post to Ray Bradbury. He was (& will continue to be through his death) an influential writer to other writers and readers everywhere. The thought of him hammering out “Farenheit 451” on a rented typewriter in a library is a fabulous story. I am sure it didn’t seem fabulous to Bradbury at the time.

    It’s always those difficult but quirky life experiences that make good stories. Often when I am in difficult situationst, I’ll say to myself, “But, Monique, just think. One day this event will make a great story!” It has only been in the last 3 months or so that I have started writing those stories. I have the ideas or summaries in my trusted Evernote (great tool for writers. You can get it for your phone, too, & it will sync w/your computer). 🙂

    “Do what you love, and the success will follow.” People have picked up on that theme. Many career counselors would model their training to their clients around this theme. They don’t do it as much now because of fear of the economy. But that is how some of us became writers, eh?

    Thanks for a great post packed w/goodies.
    One final thing, Jenny, I could not find anything about the Twitter chat at the link. Is there another place for info?



  13. Beyond Star Trek, 7th grade English was my intro to Bradbury and The Martian Chronicles will always be my first love 🙂

    This is a fabulous tribute to Bradbury Jenny!! He will be missed.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Raelyn, it made me so happy to read this comment this afternoon. I was running from here to there, but when I saw it come across my phone, I smiled for an hour. 🙂


  14. A fine tribute to a unique and inspirational man who always remained true to himself. Thanks for that, Jenny! I just got in and am zipping over to the WANA party right now! See ya by the margarita machine!


  15. Julie Glover says:

    I adored Farenheit 451. It was one of those stories that has stuck with me for a lifetime. I knew that it was originally titled THE FIREMAN, but I didn’t know the rest of the trivia. Thanks, Jenny, for celebrating a great writer.

    (P.S. Love the use of “kvetch.”)


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Julie, I’m so glad you caught that usage of one of my favorite Yiddish words! Yep, Mr. Bradbury was a lovely genius. And he gave so much back to other artists. He’s have totally dug WANATribe. 🙂


  16. Running from Hell with El says:

    Thank you for reminding me of a fine man and an excellent writer. Science fiction is one of my favorite genres and Ray was one of the best. RIP RB.


  17. Jane Sadek says:

    Dandelion Wine is my favorite Bradbury tale, but I love them all.


  18. Beautiful tribute. It would have been great to hear Bradbury speak in person. Thanks for the link to his writing book.


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