I wrote the following couple of paragraphs on Ellison Webderland on June 6, 2012 - the day I found out about Ray's passing. It has since occurred to me that, perhaps, this would also have been an appropriate forum for me to cry out in grief and loss and sorrow and anger, and write a couple of sentences in honour of my idol. The passage of days isn't making this any easier on me, although I've only burst into tears about 5 or 6 times today (thus far), so I guess that's progress. Anyway, I figured I should post here, in memoriam of my beloved Mr. Bradbury - a man who inspires me every moment of every day through his art and his genius and his humanity, even though I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person - and I will look for some sort of solace between the covers of his masterpieces, which are too numerous to name individually. My deepest condolences go out to his friends and family - I can not imagine the pain of your own loss, which (by comparison to and extrapolation of what I am feeling) must be absolutely debilitating.
At any rate - these were my thoughts 3 days ago:
I am distraught, and I am afraid I am going to be rambling and maudlin in this commentary, so please forgive me, as I am not a writer.
I've loved Ray Bradbury since I was a kid in high school - the first story I ever read by him was "The Fog Horn" - it was in a musty, somewhat battered compilation of short stories (by the likes of James Thurber, John Steinbeck, Evelyn Waugh, etc.) that I picked off of a bookshelf one night, while my mom and I were on vacation in Columbus, Ohio – We were visiting my mom’s old roommate from graduate school, Mary Ellen, and I was staying in one of the guest rooms.
It was about 11:00 p.m., and I had turned on the bedside lamp and was looking for something to read, because Mary Ellen was a morning person and I, most assuredly, was not.
So, as I said, I stumbled across this book – “The Best of Both Worlds” - by sheer chance, or by fate, and I flipped to that particular story because I had scanned the index of authors, and when I saw the name "Bradbury," I recalled that I had heard somewhere along the line that he was supposed to be a good writer. Well, that was the understatement of the century. I was moved to tears by the pain and loneliness of that poor, beleaguered sea serpent (this is why I love Ray Bradbury). Needless to say, I claimed that abandoned, neglected book as my own the very next morning, and I still have it on my bookshelf in a place of high honour. I have found it numerous treasured companions over the ensuing decades.
I knew that some day Ray Bradbury would pass away, but I didn’t think it would be so soon, and I am not being facetious. Honestly, he was only 91 years old and he was far too young to leave us. I am simply not emotionally prepared to function in a world devoid of Ray Bradbury. I find it somewhat ironic that I actually got into an argument a couple months ago with my twin brother, because he thought that Ray Bradbury was already deceased and told me so, and I remember being very upset at the mere suggestion. I immediately ran to the computer to make sure that that wasn't the case. Well, so much for my temporary relief at being proved right. Life is bitter and cruel.
Needless to say, I am upset, and forlorn, and I feel as though the universe has just stabbed a rusty machete into my stomach and twisted my guts around on it, like spaghetti. I am in mourning because I never got the chance to hear Ray Bradbury speak, or to meet him, and shake his hand, and tell him how much I cherish his work, and now I never will. I am grief-stricken because of all of the stories he will never write. It feels to me as though the world has lost its magic - sort of like those paper fire balloons that float away into the night sky.
Byzantium is lost.
This is, indeed, an incredibly shitty day.
I think I will go cry some more, now...
Hi Claire (I recognised you from the Ellison message board!) and welcome.
As you've probably seen, there's been an amazing outpouring of memories and condolences here. And an equally amazing outpouring in Harlan's place. Anyone who has seen it, should pop over to www.harlanellison.com/heboard/unca.htm - it all goes to prove that many Ellison fans are Bradbury fans too, something I've always suspected.
Yep - Ellison Webderland was my first and most natural refuge when I first heard the awful news on Tuesday. You are absolutely correct - I love Harlan and Ray with equal ardour. I am in total despair about Ray Bradbury, but I am also incredibly sad for Harlan and Susan, and concerned for them, because I know Harlan's not in the best of health and he's been through too much already, without having to suffer the loss of another close friend. And, as mentioned above, if my own reaction to this (having never met Ray) is any measure for extrapolation, I am sure they are both beyond devastated. At any rate, for what it's worth, I've expressed my sadness and also my sympathies to both of them over at Unca Harlan's Dining Pavilion, and I would also encourage Bradbury/Ellison fans to go over there and put in a word of support for Harlan - I have met Harlan, and I can state unabashedly that (contrary to his sometimes maligned reputation) he is an amazing, wonderful, principled, kind and courageous man with an enormous heart.
Claire.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Canadian99999,
Hi Claire, I agree with you totally. Harlan was already reeling from the death of two other people he was close to - one of them being the great illustrator Leo Dillon.
Due out quite soon is the book SHADOW SHOW, which contains stories written in tribute to Ray. It contains a new story by Harlan, and a lengthy essay on his relationship to Ray. I haven't seen these yet, but I am anxious to read them. Ray's passing will make it all the more poignant.
Thanks for the info about Shadow Show - I didn't know about it, and now I will be sure to pick up a copy!!!
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