For as long as I can remember, one of my favorite authors has been Ray Bradbury. As a teenager, I perpetually had a copy of a collection of his short stories checked out from the local library. The summer I had a root canal, I carried that heavy tome with me to the dentist’s office. As the laughing gas started to get to me, I would drop the book on my head and giggle uncontrollably.
I am not sure that I have a favorite story. I think more likely that I have multiple favorites. “Kaleidoscope” in particular sticks out, and a handful of others. Another one that immediately springs to mind is “There Will Come Soft Rains,” which is a short story based on a Sara Teasdale poem of the same name.
Anyway, I always loved the simplicity of his storytelling, the character-driven tales, especially the short ones. I wanted to be a short story writer, but found discouragement early, and stupidly listened to it. I have since stopped looking for discouragement, or giving it much note if it finds me. I try to remember the most important step in the writing process is to write. Bradbury knew this so well, and followed this rule always.
I was deeply saddened by his death today. Though I am not one to get teary-eyed over a favorite author’s passing, this one hit me. Honestly, it changes nothing in my life, but I felt a wave of sadness creep over me, betraying my robotic coding, giving way to human emotion.
I am not sure quite how to articulate all that I feel about this. For the next hour, I plan to add onto my Camp NaNoWriMo word count for the day.
As I sat at the pavilion at Ault Park last night, grumbling at the cloud cover that obscured the transit of Venus, I began to scratch out some thoughts about some current concerns with the state of my writing. Beginnings and endings, and all that messy stuff in between, somehow beginnings are tripping me up in this month’s NaNo endeavor. I thought about how I tend to start my stories the same, and about how much I need to break out of that comfort zone, explore new territories and lay waste to old habits. I hope that for the next hour at least, I can begin to crack the codes I have written myself into, and learn to open up new worlds I might otherwise not get to see.