Posts Tagged ‘R Is for Rocket’

I was very depressed today to read of Ray Bradbury’s death at 91. He’s a curious one – by the time he had written everything he’s ever going to be remembered for, he was about 32! He lived almost 60 years past his literary apex. Harper Lee is a bit similar; she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird when she was 34. Today she’s 86. Bradbury kept writing, Lee didn’t.

These numbers are interesting, just as it’s interesting to know that Bradbury’s first success was a short story called “Homecoming” that he sold to Mademoiselle in 1947. It won the O. Henry Prize that year. The young Mademoiselle editor who bought it was Truman Capote.

But Bradbury means more to me, and to millions of people, than literary trivia. My list of all the books I’ve read since 1971 tells me that I haven’t read anything by the man since I reread The Martian Chronicles in 1977. No one who has read my fiction would say I write anything like Ray Bradbury. Still, somehow, he’s in my DNA. R Is for Rocket, S Is for Space, The Golden Apples of the Sun, The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451 – those of us who discovered Bradbury in our youth and immediately loved him will always carry him with us. Somewhere back through all those decades, he wrote something that exploded inside my brain, or maybe my soul. Like the big bang that created the universe, that explosion is still spreading outward. I’m sure I’m not the only person on the planet who thought this today.

Bradbury’s story “Hail and Farewell” is about a boy who never grows up, though he desperately wants to. I wonder if Bradbury thought he was such a boy. Thank you for never growing up, Mr. Bradbury, and for writing so lyrically about it.