Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lifting a Glass Of Dandelion Wine

The first time I heard Ray Bradbury speak was in Santa Barbara more than 20 years ago. The theme of his talk was Searching for the Meaning of Life. I was so impressed by what he said that I saved the newspaper article that summarized the talk (written by Daniel Inouye for US Santa Barbara's Daily Nexus. Thank you Daniel, wherever you are.)

It was these quotes from Bradbury that made me save the article:

"When I was nine, I collected Buck Rogers comics. In 1929, the space age was nowhere in sight. So I listened to all of my friends in the fourth grade and I tore up my Buck Rogers comic strips. And two or three weeks alter, I burst into tears. I asked myself, 'what's wrong? Who died?' And the answer was I had died.
"I had allowed myself to be killed by the criticism of other people who didn't understand that Buck Rogers was the future. And I went back and collected Rogers and my life was healed. I had the future and I began to write about it in order to hold onto it.

This is just incredible, just banging out Fahrenheit 451 without re-writes in nine days. Even if the story is slightly exaggerated, it is amazing.
"I wrote the novel Fahrenheit 451 in the basement of the Library at UCLA back in 1950. I had no money for an office...They had these typewriters you shoved a dime in and typed like hell for half a hour...and over a period of nine days I wrote the novel. It cost me $9.80 in dimes."

About Libraries...
"They're carnivals. They're circuses. They're parades. They're fun parks. They're sandboxes. They're anything but serious."

He ended his lecture with a bit about the end of the world.
"My brother and I looked into the newspaper one day in May 1932. There was a big headline -- Seventh Day Adventists Predict End of the World May 24 - we could hardly wait.
"We got up early that morning. We packed a picnic lunch, brought a lot of Coc-Colas, Pepsi Colas and Orange Crushes and we went out and sat on a hill outside of Waukegan, waiting for the world to end...And we ate the sandwiches and we drank the Cokes, and then at four o'clock in the afternoon, we threw up.
Ever since then, I've never believed those reports about he end of the world. There's only going to be one ending. The day I die, you'll all disappear."

I guess this means today is the end of the world. Goodbye Ray. Thank you for the novels and the inspiration.

*There's a recipe for Dandelion Wine at this website here. I've always said some summer I was going to try to make it. Maybe this summer is that time.

1 comment:

  1. I have loved Ray Bradbury for years and now that I've read how he feels about libraries I love him even more! (There are days I KNOW I work at a circus!) He will be missed.