Musings on Bradbury and Gaiman and Art

As you probably know, Ray Bradbury died last night.


Well, I was sad when I found out. Not really sad, not properly, because he was ninety-one years old, and although it’s always tragic when someone dies, it’s a little less tragic when he’s ninety-one.

My emotions upon reading of Bradbury’s death are difficult to describe, because I never thought of him as a person. Let me see if I can explain this. Neil Gaiman, for example, I think of as a person. J. K. Rowling is a person. Lemony Snicket. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Um, L. Frank Baum. In my mind, these authors are people. They eat three meals a day. They have habits.

I have never thought of Bradbury that way. To me, Bradbury was always a writer. He had no life of his own. Any presence he might have held in my mind was eclipsed by the stories he crafted. Any space that Bradbury might have occupied in my brain had already been monopolized by Guy Montag and the man with the moving tattoos.

And now he’s dead. It comes as a bit of a wake-up call – he’s dead, that means he was alive, he was a person outside of his work. It’s just… strange to remember that. No, “remember” is the wrong word. It’s strange to realize that for the first time. Ray Bradbury is dead. The man who wrote The Martian Chronicles is dead. Someone wrote The Martian Chronicles.

I spent a long while poking around the Internet for articles and fun facts about Ray Bradbury, much as I did for my blog post about Maurice Sendak. I went to Neil Gaiman’s blog, because he wrote a great post about Sendak, and I didn’t find anything about Bradbury but I did find:

  • The 2012 commencement speech Gaiman gave to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. It’s twenty minutes long. It’s also entirely worthwhile if you’ve got any interest whatsoever in carving out a creative path for yourself. My favorite part is the so-called best piece of advice he ever received: “This is great. Enjoy it.”
  • This comic strip, the text of which is a long quote from Gaiman’s commencement speech. It’s a lot shorter, a lot funnier, and nearly as valuable as the speech, so you should at least click on it.

I love creative advice. Particularly the encouraging kind where no one actually tells you what to do.

In addition, I DID find interesting tidbits about Bradbury on my morning hunt, and here they are.

  • An essay he wrote for The New Yorker, published June 04, 2012.
  • A 2004 interview with Fox News. About Mars, mostly, and the Spirit rover.
  • A “selection of Bradburyisms.”
  • Article from The New York Times, to which I linked in the first line of this post.
  • [EDIT: I also found writing advice from Ray Bradbury.]

Are you a Bradbury fan? What’s your favorite Bradbury story or novel? Personally, I love “The Veldt.”

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