From Flesh to Bookstore

The passing of a beloved author is not something I had yet experienced, until today.

Ray Bradbury, one of my favorite writers of all time, has died.

Like many people, I was introduced to Bradbury in a classroom setting by reading Fahrenheit 451. I reveled and cried in that book. There is a marked difference between wandering through the world before having read that book and after. In later years I participated in a dance choreographed around the themes embedded within the pages of Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury’s work is far reaching in my life.

I am slightly ashamed to admit I first discovered the news of Bradbury’s passing on my iPhone while taking a short rest from running through the woods. That method of discovery is nothing short of the author’s own predictions, but makes me cringe.

It is a struggle to conjure the words to express what Ray Bradbury’s words have meant to me as a reader, writer, and learner. I can think of multiple times when I have had a school paper given back to me with notations indicating I need to be more careful about using complete sentences. I recall that in each instance of writing each paper, I had recently read something by Bradbury. His poetic prose always lingered in my mind thus unwittingly I would transcribe the feeling and meter into a school paper. I maintain that these incomplete sentences added to the poetry of my papers. Granted, research papers and reviews typically aren’t the place for poetry.

Some of my favorite Bradbury stories include The Halloween Tree, which I read every year as the leaves begin to tumble and the pumpkins erupt in grins. Dandelion Wine is incomparable. Dandelions are a favorite flower as a direct result of this summer epic. A short story called “Skeleton,” which is delightfully morbid, is about a man who so fears his own skeleton he gets skinnier and skinnier, thus believing his skeleton is gaining the advantage over him.

There are so many: The Martian Chronicles,Zen in the Art of Writing,“The Veldt,” so many more.

I had a wish that one day when I open my bookstore Ray Bradbury would be a customer. Of course I realized it likely wouldn’t happen because he was getting on even when I first had the idea several years ago. But the ghostly aspect of being an author is that your presence is always drifting through the shelves and pages contained within a bookstore.

I shall miss wondering if a Bradbury release will soon be published. I shall miss thinking, “Hey! Ray Bradbury is 90 this summer!” But I shan’t linger too long. I won’t linger because there are stories and poems to write, stories and poems to read. After all, that is just what Ray Bradbury did.

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