Sunday, August 22, 2010

90 years, metaphorically speaking.

Well, metaphorically writing.

The library here at the S&P is filled wall to ceiling with shelves bending and groaning under the weight of the world's best horrific, speculative, fantastic and above all Hallowe'enish bits of prose and poetry, news articles, reviews and interviews (another of those is coming soon, in fact).

That set of shelves over there by the model flying machine, just below the grinning jack o'lantern watercolor that looks a bit like the planet Mars... that is our collection of the works of Ray Bradbury -- the master of metaphor and the mundane-become-magic, who this very day is celebrating his 90th birthday!
Sure, you could say he looks it. I am certain he feels it.

But of course, remaining a child is impossible. Staying childlike is a choice, full of passion and love, and his life's work is bursting at the seams with them.

His heart, for all its pumping and breaking and mending and singing these long years, has remained childlike.

He's taught so many to do the same. I plan on drinking his elixir forever. It's already done me so much good.

Of the October Country where many of us reside, there is much which would be unmapped, unexplored, locked to our searching but for Bradbury and his childlike wonder and humor. It might not even have a name.

Many of us, I suspect, would not have found that far off Autumn land without his stories opening our children eyes, taking our children hands and leading the way -- with a wink, a shiver, and a metaphoric lesson we wouldn't fully grasp until we were no longer children.

What, after all, would Hallowe'en be without some of the ol' Bradbury magic?

The Hallowe'en Tree, painted by the author in 1960

90 years within which to create at least 7 decades years of metaphor, of gushing love, emotional wreckage, tearful joy, stone-faced sorrow, skulls, pumpkins, gods, devils, rockets, old planets, dark carnivals, cloudy jars, killer infants, flying uncles, burning books, illustrated men, dandelion wine, and always something wicked just over the rise, coming our way, coming, coming...

Happy Ninetieth birthday, Mr. Bradbury. Here's to seeing another Hallowe'en this October, and to all the Octobers you've given the world to read and feel forever.

A toast-



  1. I was first introduced to Ray Bradbury's books in 1968 when a couple of my junior high English teachers assigned Dandelion Wine. From then on, I read everything of his I could find. It was from one of his short stories I discovered Lovecraft. And then, I discovered Vonnegut and Stoker and Shelley and many other authors of fantastic fiction. I wish I could say he inspired me to great heights--to become a writer, but that never happened. I merely became a reader, but perhaps that is enough.
    Happy Birthday Mr. Bradbury. Thanks for everything.