Wednesday, June 6, 2012

There Will Come Soft Rains


The man who made me want to be a writer is dead.

When I was about ten or twelve, I read a story by Ray Bradbury called "There Will Come Soft Rains", and it quite literally changed my life. I've already talked about that here on this blog; here's the link to it, if you're interested: "To Keith, Thanks, Ray Bradbury".

I'm not shocked, of course. After all, he was 91 years old. Most of his contemporaries died DECADES ago. By all rights, Bradbury shouldn't have lived as long as he did. To what do we owe his longevity? I'm going to guess:

Joy. Pure and simple. He loved what he did. He loved the life he'd chosen for himself. I once read an interview with him in which he said he'd "never done a real day's work" in his whole life. Which is only kind of true; writing is work. But the thing is, it was work that he loved, and if you love doing something, it doesn't really feel like work, does it?

Sometimes I complain about writing. "Oh, writing this story is like pulling teeth." "It's lonely, sitting by yourself and putting words together." "It's maddening, this business of pouring out your darkest heart on the page." Sob, sob, sob. Ray Bradbury probably would've slapped me right in the head for all that whining.

"Where is your joy?" he'd probably say to me. "Where is your appreciation? You have a gift, and you have the leisure to use it. You are lucky."

Yeah.

Bradbury was a bit of a sentimentalist. I'm not. And yet... and yet I feel profoundly sad about his death. I feel like some vital part of my own life has slipped away, even though it wasn't the man himself that affected me-- it was his stories. And they are still here. They won't die, ever.

I can't explain it.

The deaths of famous people rarely affect me. I felt sad when Johnny Cash died, and Joey Ramone. That's about it. And for the same reason that I now feel sad about Bradbury-- they were prime figures in my formative years.

Well.

R.I.P., Ray. And thank you. You are gone, but the world will continue on without you, just like that automated house in "There Will Come Soft Rains". It will continue to function, without your direct influence anymore, but something vital and life-like will be missing. It will continue until, finally, it doesn't.


33 comments:

  1. A grand tribute, Heath. What a marvelous life and body of work this man had! I have a nice collection of his books; most are almost as old as me!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bradbury played a role in "that decision" for me too. Wasn't his biggest fan, but I loved the freedom with which he wrote stories. Whether it was in space or in a deep future or in places that will never exist, he never bothered with boundaries, so therefore I loved his work.

    91 years is plenty of laps around the track, but still I'll drink to his memory.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I remember when your introduction to Ray Bradbury happened. It truly did change your life. A wonderful remembrance that you share with us all. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I read Sound of Thunder in grade school and it changed my life too. Thanks for putting my thoughts into words. Not since the death of Jim Henson, another joyful soul, have I felt this sad about the death of a public figure.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I remember being blown away by SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES and DANDELION WINE especially. Few writers have had such a big impact on 20th century writing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I second DANDELION WINE, and SOMETHING WICKED, and add R IS FOR ROCKET. He made me, too, want to be like him, a writer, someone who makes people feel things. I usually don't get sad when celebrities die, either, but this one is sad, despite his advanced age. Musicians get me more. Abbey Lincoln's passing hit me hard. Don Pullen. Thelonious Monk.
    Nice post, Heath.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nice homage, H. Bradbury's 'The Illustrated Man' and 'Fahrenheit 451' changed my life in early high school. Respect.

    ReplyDelete
  8. There is a useful site for you that will help you to write a perfect. And valuable essay and so on. Check out, please WritePaper.Info

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi there to every one, for the reason that I am genuinely keen of reading this webpage’s post to be updated daily. It contains nice stuff. 토토

    ReplyDelete
  10. Simply desire to say your article is as amazing. The clearness on your post is simply spectacular and that i could assume you are a professional on this subject.
    바카라사이트

    ReplyDelete
  11. I really enjoy your web’s topic. Very creative and friendly for users. Definitely bookmark this and follow it everyday.
    토토사이트

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your article is very interesting. I think this article has a lot of information needed, looking forward to your new posts.
    온라인카지노

    ReplyDelete
  13. you have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. 파워볼게임

    ReplyDelete
  14. You have mentioned very interesting points! 경마사이트

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is a great post and enjoy the look of your blog very much. Thanks for sharing. 릴게임

    ReplyDelete
  16. I really appreciate the kind of topics you post here. Thanks for sharing us a piece of great information that is actually helpful. Good day! 스포츠토토

    ReplyDelete
  17. If some one desires expert view on the topic of running a blog then i propose him/her to visit this weblog, Keep up the pleasant job.카지노사이트

    ReplyDelete
  18. Quality articles or reviews is the important to interest the people to pay a quick
    visit the website, that’s what this site is providing. 온라인카지노

    ReplyDelete
  19. I’m impressed, I must say. I’m here for the first time. Superb! I simply must tell you that I really love your blogs page. My boyfriend enjoys your blogs.
    무료야설
    오피헌터
    마사지블루
    스포츠마사지
    카지노

    ReplyDelete
  20. CLASSIC OLD SCHOOL 메이저놀이터리스트 SLOTS: DOUBLE BLACK TIE + TRIPLE RED HOT 777 SLOT PLAY!

    ReplyDelete