“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
-Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
We lost a great writer yesterday with the death of Ray Bradbury. One of the panels I did at Balticon was Stories We Like to Hear Out Loud and I read Ray Bradbury’s “The Emissary,” a great little story about a boy and his dog. The boy is bedridden and depends on his dog to tell him about the world, but the dog also has a bad habit of bringing things home, things he shouldn’t. I love the opening paragraph:
“Martin knew it was autumn again, for Dog ran into the house bringing wind and frost and a smell of apples turned to cider under trees. In dark clock-springsof hair, Dog fetched goldenrod, dust of farewell-summer, acorn-husk, hair of squirrel, feather of departed robin, sawdust from fresh-cut cordwood, and leaves like charcoals shaken from a blaze of maple trees. Dog jumped. Showers of brittle fern, blackberryvine, marsh-grass sprang over the bed where Martin shouted. No doubt, no doubt of it at all, this incredible beast was October!”
-Ray Bradbury, “The Emissary,” from The October Country
Years ago a friend took me to a great used bookstore and introduced me to Ray Bradbury. My favorites are The October Country, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, and Dandelion Wine. Bradbury was such an amazing writer and truly had a gift with language and storytelling. If only we could capture his talent like bottling summer in a bottle of dandelion wine. He will be missed, but he will live on in his stories. And who says genre fiction isn’t literature? Just read one of Bradbury’s stories to see how powerful science fiction and fantasy can be.