I thought I would share something I found to be nice.
Earlier this year my brother in law, an educated man with a college degree, was wrongfully accused and convicted of a crime he did not commit - nonetheless he was taken into jail. To pass the time he mostly relies on books. I've always tried to get him to read some of my favorites, a lot of them being from Mr. Bradbury. I sent him a few short stories I found online at first, and he loved them. They were passed around and many of the prisoners - many whom are under educated and never exposed to Bradbury's writings fell in love as well. They would read them, and ask my brother in law things they did not understand. They would discuss the stories and what they meant. I eventually sent him Fahrenheit 451, my all time favorite book. The guards usually placed the books outside their cells at night, and they are allowed to collect them in the morning. When Fahrenheit 451 arrived, I was told the guard waved to have his cell opened and he was given the book that night. It was a small act of kindness. I think the book meant something to the guard too.
He read it in one day and kept it as a favorite to read over and over. It was also passed around and loved dearly by many others inside. The next book I sent was A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories. His favorite story being The Fog Horn because he associated with the loneliness of the monster and the men. This book also made the rounds.
On Sunday, June 10th, while reading the LA Times the prisoners learned of Mr. Bradbury's death. It was a sad and somber day. They had just been introduced to this great writer and now he was gone.
I knew his writings stirred something within myself as a teenager being forced to read it - but I had no idea how many different ways and different places Mr. Bradbury truly made a presence.
Thanks for sharing this touching story. I often wonder what might have happened to certain people had they been exposed to art early on. I think of the anecdote in Sam Weller's book about the young man who chose Ray (and some other writers) to be his "gang" instead of getting involved in gang life. I have a friend who teaches creative writing to prisoners and he has some amazing stories about the changes that occur. Ray is a perfect choice for bringing some positive energy into a place like that.
I appreciate that you have shared your story. Farenheit 451 is so far one of the best books that I have read. I think that it was a great idea that you sent those stories to your uncle. Not just so he could enjoy them but, because he shared them with others and now they have been influenced by Ray Bradbury's unique writing style.
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