Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ray Bradbury: In loving Memory

Posted by M.L. Falconer on 11:43 PM

"Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply must do things."

I was in 4th grade, Mrs. Taylor's class, when I first read, or was read “All Summer in a Day”. It was also my first experience with Ray Bradbury's writing, though I didn't know who he was then. I remember leaving class that day so sad, pondering the story, wishing that I was in that story … because if I was, I would have gone in to “rescue” the little girl. That feeling and those thoughts stuck with me for days. I wanted so badly to rewrite the story and put me in there to save her. There is no doubt in my mind now, that moment shaped who I am, shaped me to be the man who is always running to the rescue of women, the Knight in Shining Armor Syndrome, as I have dubbed it. And, so it was throughout high school, girls were hurt by their boyfriends and I was always the shoulder to cry on. In '82 it came out in a short television series. All those feelings I had in 4th grade came rushing back.

Then, roughly in '83, my mom got us HBO. I was in heaven with this new novelty of technology. Well it was new to my family. I immersed myself in so many shows, but one … one changed my life. I was already a writer by that time, well, in a sense. I had recurring dreams that haunted me so terribly that I’d have to write them down. Once on paper they would go away for a few nights until another began. It was a horrible omen. (they were not always nightmares, most were just dreams but it was a real drag to relive the same dream over and over each night.) I had so many notebooks full of these “scribbled genius” notes, and I hadn't a foggy notion what to do with them. 

"My stories run up and bite me on the leg - I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off."

At some point, late in '85, I caught the beginning of a new HBO series. You see an image of a man outside a door, he opens it and we see his penny loafers walking into an office. The office is decked out with posters, hand drawn pictures, and such. There is only a small walking path between piles of books and desks with nick nacks and stuffed aliens scattered all around and in the middle of it all is his old fashioned typewriter, which he sits down at. His walk into the office is dramatized by ominous music, and then he says something like, “people always ask me where I get my ideas. I say it's all right here. All this is my Martian landscape, my magicians toy box … I’ll never starve here, all I have to do is look around, find what I need and begin.” This was the opening to the Ray Bradbury Theater, a whole new world of creepy, strange and exiting short stories on the television screen.

That's when I knew what my omen was all about; I knew what I was supposed to do with it. That's when I knew I was a writer.

“Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”

I was given Zen in the Art of Writing by ray Bradbury as a gift back in 2006 by a good writer friend. I haven't read it yet … I realize that's a crime to Ray's memory and I won't let another day pass with out rectifying that injustice. I'm beginning it tonight! From the back jacket: “Zest. Gusto. Curiosity. These are the qualities every writer must have, as well as a spirit of adventure... Here are practical tips on the art of writing from a master of the craft-everything from finding original ideas to developing your own voice and style...”

P.S. I just found the opening to the Ray Bradbury Theater I spoke of earlier. You gotta see this. I guarantee you, if you are a writer, this opening will affect you in a way you just can't fathom. This may be the ultimate cure to writer's block. Every writing space I have ever had is fashioned from this intro scene. I didn't throw out my kid's old toys or trinkets I find. They all build up and become my office space. 


He was a great inspiration to all writers. That will always live on. Great post M.L!

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