“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” -Ray Bradbury
When I was in highschool I fell in love with short stories and it was all thanks to Ray Bradbury. That was back in the days when I used a library, back before I bought every book I could get my hands on, back before there were digital books. Actually, it may have even been before the internet, but it was certainly before I had internet even if it existed.
I checked out a massive volume from the school library. The Short Stories of Ray Bradbury.It was a well worn hardback book that smelled of library. You know the smell I mean. I must have read every story twice. Or more. Some I read out loud during free periods at school to a couple of friends because I just found them to be so fantastic that I couldn’t keep them to myself. “All Summer In A Day” was, and probably still is, my favorite.
Even now, I can remember snatches of the visual images Bradbury stories generated in my mind. A strange window with stained glass that looked out onto a Martian landscape. Astronauts falling forever. A nursery opening out into an African Veldt. Three women sewing up the world. Rain rain rain rain rain.
These led to I Sing The Body Electric, The Illustrated Man, The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, and even more that I cannot remember now.
Ray Bradbury eventually introduced me to Marion Zimmer Bradley, mostly because they lived side by side together on the bookshelf in the “Sci-fi/ Fantasy” section. The Mists of Avalon, The Firebrand, and countless other Bradley books lead to other authors and still others again. I grew up in a reading house and I’d always enjoyed reading, but it was Ray Bradbury who made me fall in love with stories. And that love has, indeed, helped me to remake my world.