Nuggets of Wisdom

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

Photo from Wikimedia.

Five years ago, our final assignment for Introduction To Journalism was to write an obituary. It had to be on a celebrity who could very likely kick the bucket. I decided to write mine on the great author Ray Bradbury. Interesting how he’s managed to outlive my obituary for these past five years.

I’m sorry to say that I haven’t read much of his work. I’ve managed to read Fahrenheit 451 and a few of his short stories, but I haven’t read any of his other main works such as The Martian Chronicles or Something Wicked This Way Comes. But what little I have read of him I love.

Bradbury had a writing style that was simple but not simplistic. He managed to write in mostly short sentences without coming across as choppy. He was able to say so much and yet so little, packing so much detail in so little words. He understood that you didn’t need to write in long, flowing sentences in order to be a good writer: all you needed were a few short sentences with a few choice words.

Bradbury also grasped the truth that writing was not something you could learn in school, let alone college. Oh sure, you could learn the basics in spelling and grammar, but as for writing—good writing—that was something you learned from years of reading. He often told how as a kid he would go to the library and stay from opening to closing reading as many books as he could. It’s clear from his writing that his life as a bookworm has paid off. Anyone who desires to become a writer should take his advice and study the craft of other great writers, and I can think of no better person to start with than Bradbury himself.

Here’s to one of the greatest American storytellers of our time aside from Stephen King (though I consider him to be grossly overrated). I think today I’ll dust off my copy of Fahrenheit 451 and read it in his honor. As for you all, I highly suggest dropping by your local library and checking out one of his works. I think Bradbury would want everyone to do that.

"If you want to educate yourself completely, go to the library and educate yourself. When I was 28 years old, I graduated from the library."