Ray Bradbury, who died Tuesday night at age 91, was a creator, guided by his demon muse, who took my imagination on journeys near and far. For a long time I thought of Bradbury as one of my favorite science fiction authors, but eventually my thought process evolved (thanks, in part, to Bradbury himself) to re-categorize him as just one of my favorite authors. Period. While he was indeed a master of science fiction, he was also a great fantasy and paranormal writer as well. If you've not done so, you'd be wise to pass a couple summer days reading Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked This Way Comes.
Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet Ray Bradbury (nor Kurt Vonnegut Jr. or Isaac Asimov, two other iconic favorites of mine), but I felt like I knew him. Or, more appropriately, like he knew me.
However, I did want to take this opportunity to allow a man who knew Ray well to weigh in on his legacy. Writer/Producer Marc Zicree (Star Trek – The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Babylon 5 and bestsellers including The Twilight Zone Companion and Magic Time trilogy) was a friend and mentee of Bradbury and had this to say, in a released statement yesterday:
"He was and will always be a great man, a great inspiration and a great friend. I wish you all a mentor with the heart, soul, vision and brilliance of this irreplaceable man ... When Abraham Lincoln died, his Secretary of State said, ‘Now he belongs to the Ages' ... Now Ray belongs to the future ..."
Marc Zicree also released this list of lessons he learned from Ray Bradbury:
- Get up and write, five days a week.
- If you need help getting your work done, reach out to those who love you. They want to help.
- Take time off on the weekend. Be with those you love.
- Live from love, work from love, and do everything else from love.
- Find joy in every day, every hour, every moment.
- Save everything that matters to you, and keep it within reach.
- Get out into the world, no matter how difficult.
- Laugh at what limits you. It pits your life force against the darkness. (This doesn’t mean you can’t be pissed off at it, too.)
- At the same time, always keep fighting to be and do your best.
- Never sell out, and don’t suffer those who have.
- Do everything with gusto.
- Take naps.
- Help your friends, and view everyone with compassion.
- Stand up for yourself. Modesty is not a strength.
- Answer your own phone.
- Mourn for those who are gone and don’t forget them, but don’t bury yourself with them.
- Cry easily. It’s not a weakness.
- Never grow up. At least, not in the areas where it counts.
- Stay curious about everything.