By Delphic 15 Comments
Here in these past weeks, I have started to doubt my desire to write. Having not written anything in so long, and not making the time to do it I began asking myself "Do I really want this? Is writing what I really want for my life, or am I just fooling myself and trying to play a role that I've made up in my own head." In the past couple of days the doubts really set in and I started to tell myself "I'm not a writer." I had once again given up (I've done this more than once), but then tragedy struck this morning, when I turned on my computer to the internet and saw in the headlines "Sci-Fi Legend Ray Bradbury Dies at 91" I was immediately struck with grief, and then some regret to hear that such an inspiration to me was no longer on this Earth.
I almost don't feel worthy to write anything about Ray Bradbury, because I often have seen myself as the very embodiment of the personality that Ray Bradbury did not agree with: a self conscious person that doesn't read. I've never read any of Ray Bradbury's novels, and I've only read a few short stories. Most notably I've read: "The Lake", "The First Day", and "Heart Transplant". Since I've read so little of Ray Bradbury's works it is a wonder how can he be an inspiration to me as a writer. Though I haven't read his works, I've seen videos of his speeches and listened hard to the words he had to say. The one thing that he said that has always stuck with me is:
"You're supposed to be having fun! You're supposed to be living your life. You're put on this world to enjoy yourself, and not to worry, and not to think about it, and to be unhappy. If you're unhappy get the hell out of writing then. I have no time for you if you're going to be self-conscious. If you're going to ruin your life with thinking. I want you to make your life with feeling...with loving...That's what you're here for. You're put on this world to love the act of being alive."
This one except from one of Mr. Bradbury's presentations has often been the source of my doubts, but at the same time the source of my often revitalized passion. When I "think" on this part of his speech I often think I should give up writing because of the unhappiness that I have been surrounded by through unfinished projects, unrealized ideas, and rejections. If I go by how I "feel" then the truth would be that those times that I was writing were some of the happiest moments of my life. Those times when I would finish a short story, a chapter, or a scene from a chapter. Then people would read them and tell me how amazing that story was. Those were the moments that put a smile on my face, and made me happy and love being alive. It was that feeling that resulted in me calling myself a writer.
Many religious folks that I know say that "God works in mysterious ways", and I always took that as meaning that things often happen at just the right time even if we don't always see why it at first. Just this morning I was talking with a friend about how I wasn't sure if I was going to write anymore, because I thought I was fooling myself. It was shortly after that when I heard the news about Ray Bradbury's death. It was so ironic that I would just so happen to be ready to put my own writing to death right when one of my greatest writing inspirations had passed on. In his death, Ray Bradbury was trying to tell me something, and that was you are still alive, and don't stop that which makes you happiest to be alive.
Ray Bradbury once told a story of how he went to a carnival as a boy and the man in the electric chair with a flaming sword pointed his sword at Ray and said "Live Forever!" This was one of the events that led Ray Bradbury into being a writer, because after his encounter with the carnival man he began to think that through writing maybe he could live forever. One of the things that I have always wished for was to be able to meet Ray Bradbury. I thought that if I could meet the man then he would have some magical words that would ferment my desire to write in me forever, and that I would never again loose it to my own self doubts. I wanted Ray Bradbury to do for me what the Carnival man had done for him. I now know that was a foolish notion, because Ray Bradbury has already done that for me, and I never had to meet him in person. Ray Bradbury's words about love and life have stuck with me since I first heard him speak, and I hope they will for the years to come, and that I will never forget them for as long as I should live.
Rest Peacefully, Mr. Bradbury. I thank you for all your passionate words about love and life, and your teachings through your inspiring words. You were and still are an inspiration to us all.