Yesterday I thought I WAS at the correct Bradbury site. It turns out I wasn't. So here's the introductory essay I posted there, which I'm putting here so I can begin becoming better acquainted with all the other Bradburyheads who are obviously out there . . .
I just signed on to this site, so pardon any ignorance on my part regarding what else might be going on here . . .
To introduce myself to the rest of you, I lived in downtown Los Angeles from the time I was born until 1962, when I was 17 years old. It was in the spring of that year that I figured out a way that I could meet Ray Bradbury personally. I'd been reading such stories of his as "Kaleidoscope," "The Veldt," and "And the Rock Cried Out" for two or three years earlier. I already wanted to be a writer, and I'd begun consciously imitating Ray's style, trying to catch a ride on his coattails into publication.
I arranged with him, over the transom as it were, to come to my school, Los Angeles High on West Olympic, to give a talk to as many of the students as might be interested. This worked out better than I ever expected. About a thousand other kids thronged the rather large hall to hear me introduce Bradbury, then listen for almost two hours while he held forth on every topic under the sun.
Afterward, Bradbury said he was willing to let me go on seeing him. He sent me a special invitation to join him at East L. A. State College for several evenings of lectures on writing, given by him, Leon Surmelian (host of the event, the Pacific Coast Writers' Conference), and "Twilight Zone" writer Charles Beaumont, who at age 33 was dying at the time of severe premature aging, and looked 80 or 90 years old . . . but that's another story.
Between then and 1965 Ray took me to lunch every time I went to see him in his Beverly Hills office. He introduced me to his agent Harold Matson, and let me sit in his office, a cubbyhole crammed with memorabilia of his career, then let David Wolper (who later put on the L. A. Olympics) film me with Ray in his half-hour TV series "Story of a Writer."
Later, Bradbury and I began to drift apart, as I got my first regular job at the Hollywood Citizen-news, after buying my first car (as is commonly known, Ray always hated automobiles) and began drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.
He still signed several of his books for me, including "Fahrenheit 451" and the brand-new hardback of "Something Wicked This Way Comes," that on the day of its publication. He sent me a congratulatory telegram when I graduated from high school, and got my whole family tickets to see a set of three plays performed live onstage in Hollywood.
In 1970 my own collection of stories, "Santana Morning," was published as a paperback by Powell Publications, containing mostly those imitation-Bradbury stories I'd written years earlier. It didn't do well - Bill Trotter, Powell's founder and publisher, may have been good at marketing paperbacks, but he had bad luck in finding a distributor, and ended up with Kable News, Inc., which distributed mostly porno books to adult bookstores in the late '60s.
In 1971 I made my first trip to Colorado. In 1974 I designed and began to build a house here. The town I live near, two miles away, is miraculously like Green Town, Illinois. Having spent more than 30 years here, working as a newspaper reporter and writing a humor column, I've come to know Bewnie, as we call it, as well as Ray's characters in "Dandelion Wine" must've known their town, the ravine, the trails through the woods, the shops and stores along Main Street, the library.
Salida, the other town in my adopted county, located thirty miles south of my home, resembles Green Town even more. The houses which still stand along F Street, its version of Main Street, are exact matches for Joe Mugnaini's houses, in his illustrations for "The October Country." (I also wanted to be an artist-illustrator as a teenager; I was given a scholarship at age 15 to study under Joe Mugnaini himself, at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles).
With all this, I'm glad to see there's still so much interest in Bradbury's best stories, the ones he wrote when he himself was still only in his twenties. My life has been a 60-year-long realization of those stories, leading toward a world where I can literally walk through my own October Country and distill my own Dandelion Wine, year after year. And, after sunset, here in these mountains, I can even look up and see Ray's Kaleidoscope sparkling in the sky, and his starships heading away toward the nameless planet in "Here There Be Tygers."
Welcome to the board, Jack. I enjoyed reading about your experiences with Ray and with life in general. I love all the stories I've heard here about the young people Ray has inspired and helped along the way. Have you published any more short stories or novels, or are you sticking to newspaper writing for now? I'm guessing Ray would love to hear from you again about how you are doing.
Welcome, sir. Fascinating recollections. I’m looking forward to any further memories you can share about Ray but am particularly interested in your meeting with Mr. Beaumont.
What a nice recollection and one that reflects so directly on who Ray is. When I think back of my relationship with Richard Bach, through whom I got to meet Ray, I played chess with him, got to go Barnstorming with him in his 1929 Detroit-Parks biplane, watch him drink milk with ice cubes in it, read pages of "Nothing by Chance" as he took them out of his typewriter, helped him to dismantle said biplane after the turbocharger went out on it, and a lot of other fun things, then went off into the Army, etc.
Now Richard is a recluse, but Ray is still there as friend and active person who loves life and feeds on the enthusiasm of his fans.
I am sure that we all would love any other anecdotes that you may have relating to Ray.
Fascinating, fantastic, terrific, and very telling tale. Even if I don't write just like him, Ray has certainly led me to greater appreciation of my own life.
Jack, I read your wonderful note and forwarded it on to my Dad, who would like to send you a personal note. Can I get your email address, please?
Thanks & Good Wishes,
WOW! It just doesn't get better than that!
Dear Alexandra Bradbury--
I haven't visited here in almost a month! So I guess I missed many opportunities to check the input.
Quite frankly, I never expected much of anything--it's been so long since I knew Ray. I've grown and changed so much, and by now I've lived here in Colorado longer than I lived anywhere else in my life.
Are you really Ray's daughter? I'm asounded to hear from you!
My e-mail address is:
Please keep in touch.
I've just sent a reply to Witchiepoo's note.
I guess it's okay to stay away from a site for a while. This give time for the responses to collect.
Yes, to answer your question, I've been writing consistently, every day, ever since I knew Ray in the late '60s and early '70s. My reporting and humor-column work were short-lived, lasting from 1977 to 1984. After that I found a market for sex-advice letters and sold about 200 of those to a lady in New Jersey. I'm not proud of those, but it did help me over a rough time financially.
I've written horror, s-f, fantasy and nostalgia. For a while in the late '90s I contributed chapters of my fantasy novel "Beyond the Edge of Sleep" as a serial to a magazine being published by a friend of my group at the time, the Writers' Exchange, here in Chaffee County.
I've completed a few other novels, but have left dozens of others unfinished, primarily because I could never get anyone interested in looking at the sample chapters and outlines.
If you like, I would appreciate having you correspond. My e-mail address is:
Here's hoping I hear from you soon.
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