Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas Gifts from Ray

This year my Christmas gifts (given and received) were rather memorable.  First, I found a used motorcycle (a Honda Rebel 250) that I gave to Becky.  She was surprised, but now I'm trying to talk her into getting a large tattoo--perhaps two snakes coiled around a human skull, their tails spelling out my name with the word "Love" underneath?

I, on the other hand, received an eclectic blend of items.  No underwear this year from mom, but plenty of socks.  A punching bag from Becky (guess she thinks I need something to hit), pajama bottoms from Becky (guess she thinks I need something to take off) and a book published by Life magazine entitled Farewells . . . profiles of various celebrities who died in 2012.

Andy Griffith is in this book.  George "Goober" Lindsay.  Dick Clark.  The list goes on.

But I lingered a bit longer over the pages/photos attributed to Ray Bradbury--a writer who defied description and whose books and stories have had a profound influence on me.  In fact, I'd have to place Bradbury in my top five living writers . . . now a dead one.  My Bradbury story collections are tattered and coffee stained and still remain atop my pile when I reach for a quick read late at night.

I will miss Mr. Bradbury.  He wrote a bit of everything and was the creative genius behind Epcot Center in Disney.

And, in case you don't know, here's how Bradbury got his start.  In 1932 he attended a carnival. As a boy he was captivated by a performer named "Mr. Electrico".  At the end of his act, Mr. Electrico reached down off the stage, touched the young Ray Bradbury and told him, "Go forth, and live forever."  Bradbury believed he received his calling that day to write.  He began writing that evening, and he never stopped.  He wrote EVERY DAY thence. 

And near the end of his life, as Bradbury reflected on his own happiness among his voluminous library and his 57-year marriage he noted, "I have taken my happiness from the fact that every day of my life I have worked for myself and built a life on writing and creating."

Not a bad way to go.  I think Mr. Electrico would have been proud.


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