Ray Bradbury – A Tribute
One of the greatest lights in the world has gone out: Ray Bradbury passed away.
Why was Ray Bradbury such a great writer? What made his stories so good?
Many writers have struggled with how to turn an average story into a great story. Some read books (like I do), some refuse to study, thinking that tightly organized stories will kill their creativity. Some people quit the quest altogether, thinking that greatness is to be found only in those to whom God has chosen – as if a bolt of lightning flashes down from heaven to strike random people. This is a myth.
To be great, all you need is focus – a goal. My friend, George Clayton Johnson (author of Logan’s Run, Ocean’s Eleven and eight Twilight Zone episodes) once told me that he has spent much of his life on a quest to discover the magic of storytelling. What is it, that quality which turns an average story into a truly fantastic tale?
When he was nine years old, succumbing to peer pressure, Ray Bradbury threw away his comic books. Over the succeeding days, he discovered that he was miserable. Everything that he loved was gone. He realized the people who made fun of him were stupid. So he returned to collecting comics.
Here is an excerpt from the speech Ray Bradbury gave at the first Comic-Con:
“My love for comic books and collecting them goes back to a time when I was nine years old. . . What impact – Buck Rogers hit my life so that I was madness maddened, I was super inspired by him and began to collect those daily strips every day of my life and then some of my friends came along and made fun of me and I threw them all away. About eight or nine weeks later I said, ‘Wait a minute! What’s this? These people don’t know what they’re doing. They’re stupid. They’re idiots. They don’t. They’re saps. I hate them,’ and I started collecting Buck Rogers again and I didn’t give it up. I still have all those daily strips from 1929, ‘30 up through ’37. All the daily Sunday color panels. I have 32 years of Prince Valiant put away. . . I had everything – you name it. I saved everything since I was three years old. Thank God I’m this sort of compulsive person who refuses to give up his loves. In the light of all the other people saying, ‘You are a stupid boy, why are you doing this?’ The best answer is love of course, it’s just great – it’s beautiful stuff. There’s something about these comic strips that we love with all our hearts. So I still have them.”
Ray Bradbury never lost his passion, his love for what he did.
In his book, “Zen and the Art of Writing,” Ray Bradbury said that he was not born with talent as a writer. He was born with passion for writing.
Passion is what made Ray Bradbury’s work great.
A great fire has gone out, but you can see it burning still, like a candle in the night.
Read some of Ray Bradbury’s stories sometime.
Realize that you too, can take a placid and pedestrian story and turn it into something great.
Your stories can also walk with the gods: Heinlein, Asimov, Twain, Shakespeare, Bradbury.