Ray Bradbury died last night, here in California. We live remarkably close to one another and because of this, I had the opportunity to hear him speak in person on two occasions. This was a couple years ago. I remember how one article, written after his speaking engagement, spoke of the dribble on his shirt and his feeble appearance in his wheelchair. I suppose that might be true, but I have to wonder if the writer of that article actually listened to him speak that day. Because when he did, he came alive with enthusiasm and wonder. He overflowed with it. It was like he could hardly even believe, after nine decades of living it, that his life could really be as wonderful as it was. Could any life really be so full of goodness? He was more like a little child seeing rainbow-colored soap bubbles for the first time. He felt only delight.
He said that everything he had done, he did out of love. Every happy accident, every new friend who turned out to have a business proposition, came to him because of love. He worked with people he loved and he wrote stories he loved. He told the audience how he came to write the script for the 1956 version of “Moby Dick,” which involved reading the entire book in something like a single night because he had never read it before and had agreed to write the script because he wanted so badly to be involved in the project.
Sometimes, when I have a new idea for something I want to do or make, I get so intimidated. I think, jeez, I’ve never done this before, so how can I possibly start now? Then I think of Ray Bradbury reading through the night, filled up with love and wonder and amateurish enthusiasm. If we cannot be brave and foolish for love, what else can ever inspire us?
My condolences go out to his family and my love goes out to him.