Ray Bradbury’s Two Rules
“I have two rules in life – to hell with it, whatever it is, and get your work done.”
― Ray Bradbury
As you know, acclaimed sci-fi author Ray Bradbury passed away last night at 91. Tributes now being revisited or freshly penned run the gamut from the humorous:
To the kinda pretentious:
The Village Voice “…Whatever your opinion of Bradbury and his writing — though it should be glowing, because that man knew how to simultaneously craft a damned fine sentence and take on censorship — what’s clear is that the guy didn’t dig technology.
This brings up an important question: Should we electronically express condolences for someone who disliked all things electronic?
It’s hard to say.
On the one hand, there are those who say that you should respect the implicit and explicit wishes of the recently deceased no matter what. This would probably mean no web-centric communication about Bradbury’s death whatsoever.
On the other hand, there’s the pragmatic point of view which calls for honoring those who have recently passed away — while recognizing that circumstances might require creative adaption of their demands. This would mean that we can meaningfully communicate about Bradbury’s death online without being ironic assholes.
So, yes: Ray Bradbury would have hated your blog post, Tweet, or Facebook status about his death. A lot. But, considering that’s how we communicate nowadays, that’s how we’re going to express ourselves and say, “Ray, we’re really going to miss you. Your death is deeply felt and a tremendous loss.”
To the genuinely touching:
CNN “…There was something magical about Bradbury that went beyond his stories. Talking to him was like taking a Happy Pill. I had a loopy smile on my face hours after talking to him. I felt as if I had hitched a ride on a red balloon floating to the stars.
Part of it was his joy and spontaneity – he overflowed with both. It seemed to give him courage in his art and his life.
‘I don’t think about what I do. I do it,’ he told me. “That’s Buddhism. I jump off the cliff and build my wings on the way down.”
Then there was his boyish wonder. He sounded like a kid eating chocolate ice cream for the first time. He even lived like a boy until the very end, surrounding himself with stuffed dinosaurs and tin robots in a Los Angeles home painted dandelion yellow in honor of his favorite book, ‘Dandelion Wine.’…”
For me, the best way to remembers someone is through their words. Here are some of my favorite Bradbury quotes:
“Why is it,” he said, one time, at the subway entrance, “I feel I’ve known you so many years?”
“Because I like you,” she said, “and I don’t want anything from you.”
“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”
“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”
“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”
To Mr. Bradbury–Congratulations on your full life (in all senses of the word), and may you rest in peace.