It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed. Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was long and warm and slow. You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living, this was the first morning of summer.
-from Dandelion Wine
You may have heard, but author Ray Bradbury passed away yesterday at the age of 91. Back as an undergrad, Dave took a class on literature and film and some of the things that they studied about Farenheit 451 sparked my interest in Bradbury's work. I read it and just loved it. Very prophetic. Some time later I ended up reading Something Wicked This Way Comes and I think I may even like that one most of all. Amy loved Dandelion Wine when she read it as a youth, and I read it a few summers ago.
He really has a way of capturing human experience, and of dressing it up with so much eloquence. I think what I liked so much about Something Wicked was all the discussion it has about good and evil, and the flawed characters that rise above themselves to combat the evil.
Anyway, it's worth everyone's time to become acquainted with his work.
Orson Scott Card had this to say about him:
Now, though, I realized that it wasn’t just on stage that the flow and music of language counted. Bradbury used it in his fiction; he used it all the time.And now let me give you some examples of his craft:
You never had to stumble or pause when reading Bradbury. It wasn’t just the smoothness of his language — it was the way he used repetition, fragmentation, breathless run-on sentences to sweep you through the tale.
His language made even the quotidian narrative sections emotional, so when the story reached for deeper feelings, they were within easy reach.
- "It won't work," Mr. Bentley continued, sipping his tea. "No matter how hard you try to be what you once were, you can only be what you are here and now. Time hypnotizes. When you're nine, you think you've always been nine years old and will always be. When you're thirty, it seems you've always been balanced there on that bright rim of middle life. And then when you turn seventy, you are always and forever seventy. You're in the present, you're trapped in a young now or an old now, but there is no other now to be seen."
- “A stranger is shot in the street, you hardly move to help. But if, half an hour before, you spent just ten minutes with the fellow and knew a little about him and his family, you might just jump in front of his killer and try to stop it. Really knowing is good. Not knowing, or refusing to know is bad, or amoral, at least. You can’t act if you don’t know.”
- “Why love the woman who is your wife? Her nose breathes in the air of a world that I know; therefore I love that nose. Her ears hear music I might sing half the night through; therefore I love her ears. Her eyes delight in seasons of the land; and so I love those eyes. Her tongue knows quince, peach, chokeberry, mint and lime; I love to hear it speaking. Because her flesh knows heat, cold, affliction, I know fire, snow, and pain. Shared and once again shared experience.”
- "We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?"
- "I sometimes think drivers don’t know what grass is, or flowers, because they never see them slowly." (Bradbury in Farenheit 451 talking about the value of reading.)
“Dad, will they ever come back?"
"No. And yes." Dad tucked away his harmonica. "No not them. But yes, other people like them. Not in a carnival. God knows what shape they'll come in next. But sunrise, noon, or at the latest, sunset tomorrow they'll show. They're on the road."
"Oh, no," said Will.
"Oh, yes, said Dad. "We got to watch out the rest of our lives. The fight's just begun."
They moved around the carousel slowly.
"What will they look like? How will we know them?"
"Why," said Dad, quietly, "maybe they're already here."
Both boys looked around swiftly.
But there was only the meadow, the machine, and themselves.
Will looked at Jim, at his father, and then down at his own body and hands. He glanced up at Dad.
Dad nodded, once, gravely, and then nodded at the carousel, and stepped up on it, and touched a brass pole.
Will stepped up beside him. Jim stepped up beside Will.
Jim stroked a horse's mane. Will patted a horse's shoulders.
The great machine softly tilted in the tides of night.
Just three times around, ahead, thought Will. Hey.
Just four times around, ahead, thought Jim. Boy.
Just ten times around, back, thought Charles Halloway. Lord.
Each read the thoughts in the other's eyes.
How easy, thought Will.
Just this once, thought Jim.
But then, thought Charles Halloway, once you start, you'd always come back. One more ride and one more ride. And, after awhile, you'd offer rides to friends, and more friends until finally...
The thought hit them all in the same quiet moment.
...finally you wind up owner of the carousel, keeper of the freaks...
proprietor for some small part of eternity of the traveling dark carnival shows....
Maybe, said their eyes, they're already here.”