Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ray


A bit after the fact, I know, but better late than never ....

Never bury your lead, they say, so -- Ray Bradbury's dead.

I never knew him that well; others, like Marc Zicree, knew him much better than I. I started losing my voice about the same time Marc was getting to know him, and I made no effort to ride on his coattails, because I couldn't see the point. Ray wasn't the sort of guy with whom one could spend long companionable silences with. Like Sidney Greenstreet in THE MALTESE FALCON, he liked talking to a man who liked to talk.

But I'll let others speak about that. I'll keep this memoir to what I knew about him.

What I remember most about Ray was his joy.

How exuberant, ebullient, and just plain gosh-wow over things he was. Not just things having to do with writing, but just about every damn thing in the world. Ray could rhapsodize over milk. He could get teary-eyed, not just over sunsets and kittens, but such admittedly unlikely things as the flensing of a whale. (He once wrote a poem about Ahab and Moby Dick, in which he took the relationship to ... unprecedented territories, and at one point got positively misty-eyed over, uh, a scene it's probably safe to assume Melville never envisioned. Of course, a lot of his audience was having the same reaction, though not, I think it's safe to say, for the same emotions. I've heard Ray referred to as the Proust of science fiction prose, and I can certainly see that. But if one were to call him the Wordsworth of sci-fi poetry, I don't think the comparison's completely invalid either).Nevertheless, I credit Ray with inspiring me to be a writer. He spoke at my high school once, and he so obviously loved what he did that I, who'd been waffling uneasily between being an FBI agent and a commercial jet pilot (or  something equally absurd), left the assembly thoroughly and utterly convinced to do neither. I would cast my lot instead with the muse, and fuck her brains out. (Hey, don't blame me; it was Ray's line. He caught some hearty staff disapproval for it too, this being 1968, as well as a huge laugh and spontaneous applause.)

About 30 years later, when his HALLOWEEN TREE beat me out for a second Emmy, I wrote him a note to congratulate him, and also mentioned that bright storybook spring day when he had helped fix my course and steady my hand on the helm. I wish I could bring this thing to a proper conclusion by telling you about the nice reply I got. But I never heard back. Which is okay; it wasn't a callback for him. It was for me.

Adios, Ray... and thanks again.  
Nevertheless, I credit Ray with inspiring me to be a writer. He spoke at my high school once, and he so obviously loved what he did that I, who'd been waffling uneasily between being an FBI agent and a commercial jet pilot (or  something equally absurd), left the assembly thoroughly and utterly convinced to do neither. I would cast my lot instead with the muse, and fuck her brains out. (Hey, don't blame me; it was Ray's line. He caught some hearty staff disapproval for it too, this being 1968, as well as a huge laugh and spontaneous applause.)

About 30 years later, when his HALLOWEEN TREE beat me out for a second Emmy, I wrote him a note to congratulate him, and also mentioned that bright storybook spring day when he had helped fix my course and steady my hand on the helm. I wish I could bring this thing to a proper conclusion by telling you about the nice reply I got. But I never heard back. Which is okay; it wasn't a callback for him. It was for me.

Adios, Ray... and thanks again.


Nevertheless, I credit Ray with inspiring me to be a writer. He spoke at my high school once, and he so obviously loved what he did that I, who'd been waffling uneasily between being an FBI agent and a commercial jet pilot (or  something equally absurd), left the assembly thoroughly and utterly convinced to do neither. I would cast my lot instead with the muse, and fuck her brains out. (Hey, don't blame me; it was Ray's line. He caught some hearty staff disapproval for it too, this being 1968, as well as a huge laugh and spontaneous applause.)

About 30 years later, when his HALLOWEEN TREE beat me out for a second Emmy, I wrote him a note to congratulate him, and also mentioned that bright storybook spring day when he had helped fix my course and steady my hand on the helm. I wish I could bring this thing to a proper conclusion by telling you about the nice reply I got. But I never heard back. Which is okay; it wasn't a callback for him. It was for me.

Adios, Ray... and thanks again.

1 comment:

human said...

Hello,

I have read Interworld, and it inspired me to start writing fiction- though I can't say it was close to being as good as Interworld.

You seem to be involved in everything I like: Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles, and science fiction.

So what sort of process do you go through as you plan a story?
I realize this is can be an expansive question, so perhaps a better one is: what would you say is the most important part of the story-making process?

Okay, I didn't manage to make it any more specific. But any answer is appreciated.

Regards,

Momina Dar