Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gone, but not Forgotten

Over a year has passed since Ray Douglas Bradbury passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 91 years after fighting a longtime illness. J of J and L has had a lot of time to reflect the loss of one of America's, if not the world's, greatest science fiction.

J is a novelist with a new novel coming out entitled, Soft Target, later (hopefully) in 2013 but he is not a science fiction writer. Ray was and created such masterpieces as Fahrenheit 451, The Sound of Thunder, The Illustrated Man, and of course The Martian Chronicles. Upon learning of his death, another famous author by the name of Stephen King (thought you might know him) wrote this: "Ray Bradbury wrote three great novels and three hundred great stories. One of the latter was called 'A Sound of Thunder.' The sound I hear today is the thunder of giant's footsteps fading away. But the novels and stories remain, in all their resonance and strange beauty."

What a wonderful epitaph for a fellow writer.

Perhaps it's summer or just thinking back through the decades when J knew Ray Bradbury as an acquaintance, or dare I say, friend. Looking upon a few letters, framed now, from Ray hanging in my study, it suddenly brought back those moments when J and Ray sat and talked in the nineties as one writer to another. Granted, at the time J was a struggling free-lancer talking to one of the greatest writers in America, but the man instantly put me at ease.

It was like talking to an old friend.

The typical interviewer questions were asked and answered but when the pieces were written and submitted to the various magazines for whom J worked part-time, the conversations continued for many years.

One unforgettable moment was when my mother, Anne, was visiting and the house phone rang. She being the closest naturally picked it up and immediately her face went blank as her hand clamped over the mouthpiece.

"Joh - -John ---Johnny," she stuttered, "It's Ray Bradbury!"

I took the phone and talked a few minutes with a man I admired so well.

It went on like that for a few years and then the talking stopped. It was not due to not sharing the same love of writing but years don't stretch out but simply shrink and soon Ray was dead.

Our daughter, Jessica, texted: "I'm sorry, Daddy, I just heard Ray Bradbury has passed away."

It was true on June 6th of 2012 that one of America's greatest Sci Fi writers had left this planet and ventured far away into the cosmos.

And isn't that the way it should be?

Perhaps it was just a summer day or recollections of a time gone by that made me think of my old friend, but whatever the case may be those memories are always cherished.

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