I was 12, and although I’d been reading voraciously since I was six, I don’t think it ever occurred to me that there was someone actually telling the stories. Then I read a book called “R is for Rocket,” and before I’d finished, I picked up “S is for Space,” the “The Martian Chronicles” and so it went. Maybe because the books were of short stories, maybe because they were so masterfully crafted, but I suddenly realized that there was an artist there, behind the stories, putting them together, making me grin and shiver with fear and delight, leading me down the path of outrageous imagination to other worlds, times, and consciousnesses.Ray Bradbury made me aware of the art and craft of fiction, and soon thereafter I realized that I wanted to be that guy, the teller of stories. To this day, I will look to his stories for clues for how to better perform my craft. You need go no further than Bradbury’s “The Fog Horn”, about a lonesome sea monster that falls in love with a fog horn see Ray’s direct influence on my work. I read it a dozen times when I was writing The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove.The first time of many that I heard Ray speak, at the Santa Barbara Writer’s conference in 1982, he said, “If a writer introduces an idea, then leaves in lying there, doesn’t do anything with it, then it’s yours. It’s yours, to do with what you want!” He had a breathy, conspiratorial way of talking to an audience — a sort of, “isn’t it cool! isn’t it amazing!? aren’t we lucky!?” way of talking about writing.
Yes, Ray, it is. It is! We are!
Thanks for the sea monster, Ray. Thanks for turning on the light so I could write.
Ray Bradbury was bright champion of imagination, an inspiration and an icon. He shall be so ever after.