Thursday, August 22, 2013

Remembering Mr. Bradbury

Today would have been Ray Bradbury's birthday. When I saw the news of his death on
June 6, 2012, I   thought, "There goes an original." I knew he had been in poor health but still I felt sad that there would be no more new Ray Bradbury books.

Author of many books....

It was Fahrenheit 451 that first made me realize his respect for and love of books.

And it was Bradbury Speaks that left me no doubt that he was an original and did not hesitate to speak his mind.

""Plant me in a room with two hundred chaps at two hundred computers,
give me a number two Ticonderoga pencil
and a ten-cent Mohawk Red Indian pad,
and I will outthink and out create the whole damn bunch."

"So instead of treating chat-show hosts as Cinderellas,
tell them they are ugly sisters whose lips spew not diamonds and emeralds
but spiders, frogs, and toads."

"Shut off the set. Write your local TV newspeople.
Tell them to go to hell.
Take a shower.
Go sit on the lawn with friends."

Phew! Ever felt like that yourself after watching the local news? Or a talk show? But there was a softer side to Mr. Bradbury.

The night that I heard of his death, I took my favorite Bradbury book to bed with me. I'm talking about Dandelion Wine, the mostly autobiographical fictionalized account of his summers as a boy.

He remembered exactly what it was like to be a boy wearing a brand new pair of tennis shoes.

"Somehow the people who made tennis shoes knew what boys needed and wanted.
They put marshmallows and coiled springs in the soles
and they wove the rest out of grasses bleached and fired in the wilderness.
Somewhere deep in the soft loam of the shoes the thin hard sinews of the buck deer were hidden.
The people that made the shoes must have watched a lot of winds blow the trees
and a lot of rivers going down to the lakes.
Whatever it was, it was in the shoes, and it was summer."

Mr. Bradbury showed a distinctly softer side when he wrote about wives, and I believe in his sincerity on this subject as he was married to the same woman all his life until her death eight years before his.

"She sat down next to him on the swing,
in her nightgown,
not slim the way girls get when they are not loved at seventeen,
not fat the way women get when they are not loved at fifty,
but absolutely right, a roundness, a firmness,
the way women are at any age, he thought, when there is no question."

He wrote beautifully of his grandmother.

"She was a woman with a broom or a dustpan or a washrag or a mixing spoon in her hand.
You saw her cutting piecrust in the morning, humming to it."

"She had stuffed turkeys, chickens, squabs, gentlemen, and boys...
Grandma of the thousand arms, shook, basted, whipped, beat,
minced, diced, peeled, wrapped, salted..."

"...and stirred."

"She had pulled down shades, pinched out candles, turned switches, 
and--grown old."

Mr. Bradbury understood about women growing old. In what was the post I've been most proud of on this blog, I let Mr. Bradbury speak. I believe he would have been proud to have the old photograph I chose to accompany his quote on that post. If you would care to visit that post [here], I think you will understand why I miss Mr. Bradbury.

I'm remembering you today, Mr. Bradbury.


  1. Oh Dewena, thank you for introducing me to this wonderful author. I can't wait to go to the library and find some of his books.

  2. Thanks for reminding me of your previous post about the dragon and the swan. I loved that one.

    I'm going to have to read Dandelion Wine.

  3. Your posts never cease to amaze me. I love it when I can learn from a blog and yours is like taking a literature class...without the tests. I was acquainted with Ray Bradbury and went through a period in my teens when I read nothing but science fiction. But I was unaware of his quotes and loved the one about turning off the news. And you couldn't have found a better illustration of grandmotherly love than you and that darling grand baby. Thanks for taking me to school today. Kisses, peg

  4. Gosh, I remember reading Fahrenheit 451 in high school and being SCARED! I wish I had known his easier, lighter side.. .the quotes are wonderful. He was sure dapper as a young man, was he not?

  5. Happy Birthday, Mr. Bradbury! When I taught 8th grade Language Arts, back in the 90s, I would always teach the Bradbury short story "All Summer in a Day" before starting a unit on descriptive writing. The students LOVED the story and we had many discussions about students being mean to each other. The fact that the setting was the planet Venus made the discussions fun.

    I often think how lucky we are to have lived during the same time as such exciting authors and artists! Wonderful post, Dewena! Grandma and baby photo is precious!

  6. oh.
    oh my goodness.
    you have opened my eyes. i knew the name and film credits. but not the man.
    he writes.
    like he said. in the room with the tablet and the pencil. how he writes!
    thank you dewena for this late introduction to a fascinating man.
    i cannot think how i've missed him all these long years. i just have.

    i love the pictures you've chosen for this post.
    not the least of which is our own lady who is "absolutely right. where there is no question." and of course that wee precious moment that is nora herself!
    both so beautiful.

    thank you!!! XOXOXO

  7. I absolutely loved Ray Bradbury. He was quite a man and I don't think a lot of people realized the depth of him. You know, though I have read him, I have never read the book Dandelion Wine. I am going to get a copy and read it. GREAT, GREAT post here today, Dewena- xo Diana

  8. You keep adding to my reading list, which is already waaay too long. I haven't read Dandelion Wine, but it was already on my reading list. I'm going to move it up on the list now. What a fascinating man. Although I've read some of his work, you have made the author real to me in this post. Because of this post, I think I will enjoy D.W. more now than I would have before. Thanks, Dewena. laurie

  9. I loved Ol' Ray. He wrote a book on writing that is quite good too.
    We also lost another good one (in my opinion) this week when we lost
    Elmore Leonard.

  10. Dewena , what a lovely tribute and I had to go back and read your post about the dragon and the swan must read Dandelion Wine thank you for sharing, enlightening and teach all of us who visits!!!

    Marisa XOXO

  11. Oh, how I wish I were a reader! You make it sound like an exciting thing to do. Every day I watch my husband read, read, read. He's a regular at the library, checking out six books at a time and reading them all within a week. I can't sit still for books unless there's another historical novel about British royalty. Restless. A task-oriented person, as a colleague once said about me to my face. I like making things with my hands...but I love reading your posts :)

  12. What an incredible tribute to a wonderful author; well done, Dewena.

  13. Oh, I so love this post, and the Bradbury quote. Dandelion Wine is one of my favorite books!

    Wonderfully written tribute, Dewena!



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