I think, in the end, Ray's legacy will be that he has been the apostle of imagination and freedom. That combination has allowed him to create worlds that we have been able to enter and share with him in the creative act. He creates worlds of wonder that we can enter in and influence as we use our own imaginations to supplement his. That symbiotic creative process is one of the things Ray does best. I think that world of codeveloped imagination is what will be Ray's legacy. He made ideas come alive for millions.
Mr. Dark~ Good to see you here!
I think, if you want to look at Bradbury's legacy in terms of scholarly interpretation, then needed is clear definitions of descriptive phrases such as ... apostle of imagination and freedom. Freedom from what and to what?
When you say "...He creates worlds of wonder that we can enter in and influence as we use our own imaginations to supplement his. That symbiotic creative process is one of the things Ray does best." ...how would you say Ray is aware of this process? Then again, would you say he even is?
At this point in my life, I am very interested in end products, ultimate end of things, where it all is leading, what is the final destination of a journey. In this case, Bradbury is ushering all of us readers into a tangible world thru his metaphors that we can actually live in. But now, where is this particular world actually going? And what part do we play in determining when and where we exit or detour, if need be, from that world as we travel on our own personal journey?
Or is that Bradbury world a transient world of only his own making, taking us for transient rides that take us to and stops us at wide-gulfs in the journey, demanding personal decisions and divine intervention in order to transverse the immensity?
Mr. Bradbury has stood on the edge, conjured, and then written of eras, dimensions, technologies, and even socio-cultural evolutions (I rarely use that word) that were about to sprout. Think of his themes and characters in:
"To the Chicago Abyss"
"And the Rock Cried Out"
"I Sing the Body Electric"
The Rocket Man" ...to name merely a few!
In the aforementioned stories, he captured the essence of humanity's brilliance and foolhardiness 50+ years ago, and we have watched these virtues and flaws play out right in front of our eyes in recent decades. His tales are poetically drawn in words like no other author's. Yet, when reflecting upon his own literary heroes, whether Poe or Hemingway or Melville or countless poets of the past century, Mr. Bradbury has captured the spirit of each artist, tossed a cupful of that writer into the mix and, thus, created still another amazing manner of communicating his visions and emotions.
I read "The Picasso Summer" to my boys a few night ago. What a marvelous painting he brushed onto the pages with the assistance of his love for Pablo! For the entire time during the reading, my wife and I, along with our sons (10, 12), were on that beach and saddened, just a bit, as the sun set and the tide came in.
Only Ray Bradbury has had this captivating quality - in countless instances - for me as a reader and a teacher.
As to your perspective, Nard, in the grand scheme, I hope that those of us who ponder and strive, are somehow allowed to stand closer to those "edges" he has stood upon and written of for nearly seventy years. Are we not changed by his words and images?! What of the metaphors he has struck a spark to in our own lives? Maybe in this way, a better journey will transpire...or transcend - even if only personally!This message has been edited. Last edited by: fjp451,
I think the freedom to be fully human. The freedom to think. The freedom to write and say what you feel needs to be written and said. The freedom to be who you are and to not have to feel ashamed of it. The freedom to explore who you are and what life means. The freedom to wonder and gaze "at the universe". There is a universe "out there" and a universe within us. Ray invites us to explore both.
You certainly have that right! He's head-and-shoulders above any writer I can think of. Two who would be pretty close behind are Thurber and Dahl. There are other greats, of course, but I'm talking cream of the crop here.
Let me ask you this: this freedom you talk about that Bradbury leads one into, to be fully human, could you say there are freedoms that he may be generally a signpost for (conscious or not conscious) leading ...but be a 'place' he would disagree with and/or discount? In other words, what does it mean to be truly fully human? And what perspective would Bradbury, or you, or anyone, be using: a Unitarian perspective? A Buddist viewpoint? An eastern Mystic viewpoint? A Roman Catholic? A Baptist? A secular perspective? A generally non-secular viewpoint? For isn't the term, be to be fully human, basically a religious term when you get down to the nitty-gritty? Meaning being god-like, or god, or created or non-created?
fjp451: I agree a lot with your last paragraph. But then again, I'm talking about the end game, the end product, where, ultimately, does it lead. Does it ultimatety lead to...self?
Doug Spaulding: I enjoyed Dahl. Great writing style. Didn't he write one of the James Bond movie scripts?
I am currently reading Steinbeck's Cannery Row, actually aloud - again with two young members of the audience. JS hits some cords with me. Hesse, years ago. Who could grow up not loving London's wilderness, Stevenson's sea adventures, the futures of Verne and Wells! Of course, Poe and his perfect style! O'Henry I think I can read at any time and admire his humorous take on things just slightly awry. Others who offered wild adventures, espionage, a good scare, or a trip to far off lands.
But RB to me is like (excuse me while I maybe stretch things a bit) that famous Bard-on-the-Thames.
Things are stated that are so obvious, but sometimes we take them for granted. We never stop to see and understand how important they really are to our existence, that day or every and all days! These authors demand that you stop and understand. Both tell of characters grand and memorable. Some with courage beyond compare and others with foolishness startling to see in such proportions.
Characters that last a lifetime, not just a few minutes during the read. Call it "metaphor" or "symbiotic creativity" or maybe "human fiber". It is in us when we a not looking but also while we a searching madly. Yet, it can not be grasped from the air, nor can it be tasted. What they write of was right there in our minds and a part of our experiences. Witnessing their images as they are read brings them to life.
We are changed by the manner in which their tales are related. The characters reveal, possibly, the universal similarities of which we are all made. Our ambitions, fears, loves, and wonders are those of their characters. How ironic that I related exactly to ancient Brutus at times, and maybe the next day have empathy for the Murderer Albert Brock!
I related to the life of the Spaulding boys and their neighborhood. A time gone by, maybe, and sadly then! But, in a way we try to keep that flame burning in our neighborhood and with our family. There is something, "ultimately" - Nard, important about this, I feel. There is a real treasure in walking down the street taking a moment to say "Hello" to friends or having a game of evening catch under illumination of street lights.
Then, classically, how can one not feel for the young Prince of Denmark. (Talk about being up against it!) Our problems are difficult, but do they compare to his losses. It rings of Job! Makes one appreciate the health and gifts one has. Take action...Live the day!
So, where does that all bring me?? I believe what I do, say, read, teach, eat, hope for, and have faith in ... is what I "ultimately" will be accountable for. Like Montag, if we can only bring something of value to the gathering, a better future awaits. Who we are, and someday were, will have had some significance. That, I believe, is good!
(So, back on topic...Having been influenced by Mr. Bradbury's works and having gained much insight into his writings from visitors on this exchange have taught me much. To learn and then use in a positive manner is also good! "Self" is a path, but not necessarily all of our own devise, I'd say.)This message has been edited. Last edited by: fjp451,
The one I just watched again a few weeks ago, You Only Live Twice (1967).
Dahl's Switch Bitch is one of the most fun books I've ever read.
Wow. Some great posts here. I think you're right, Nard, to point out that my use of the term the freedom to be fully human and fully self, is pretty vague. But I think many truths are stated in terms that often are vague. Language is beautiful, but finite in nature. I think it is capable of expressions of great truths and beauty. But I think many truths are intuited--not articulated. This is the claim of the mystics about God. Talking about God is the province of theologians. A valuable function, in my own mind. But to experience God, to have the immediacy of a direct encounter with God . . . that is the realm of the mystics. Mystical writing is often embued with metaphor, comparison, poetry, etc. It is rarely definitional, linear, and/or discursive.
This is what I have always found so captivating about Bradbury's writing. He writes like a mystic. His writing is often very religious, celebratory, and moral in scope and content--but he's not telling us specifically "how" to "do" religion. He shows us what it "feels" like to be religious. What it "feels" like to be human.
This is why, at 53, I never tire of going back to Bradbury (and other great writers like Poe, Hawthorne, Hemingway, etc.). Their writing style and content seems to imply a moral component and it seems to carry with it the seeds of imagination.
There is more there than meets the eye.
By the way, I'm a Steinbeck fan, also. Absolutely loved "Cannery Row" and it's sister book, "Sweet Thursday". To date, one of my favorite films is the "Cannery Row" with Nick Nolte and Debra Winger. It combined "Cannery Row" with "Sweet Thursday" and was fantastically done. Much of the dialog is straight from the books, and the narrative voice is fantastic. I highly recommend this movie.
(Posted 01 March 2006 07:41 AM):
Ray, as I've said many times, has that talent, possessed by a few great poets, of combining words in such a way that an entire atmosphere emerges, including sensory perceptions, that engulfs and transports the reader. In short, he can do in a short story what other writers would need a novel to do.
(Posted 19 May 2006 03:05 PM):
...He really does remember what it was like being a kid and has the unique gift of making US remember - with just the right phrases - he transports!
Right, BrII! I recall a post I offered a few years back about being in the gymnasium of our boys' elementary school one hot July morning. I had volunteered to do some painting and was alone with my paint brush and my thoughts.
Suddenly, I heard two sets of padding sneakers coming full-bore along the side of the school, into the back driveway, and then a rush of energy into the hallway.
Up on the ladder, I very well may have stated aloud, "The Sound of Summer Running!"
Just a few seconds later, "Hey, Dad! Can we help you paint!?"
A precious Bradbury moment!
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Do you concur with all the posts in these threads or with pieces of them? If the latter, which ones?
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