I am a linguist who loves literature and who is fascinated by science. I quantify randomness. I paint. I travel in a power wheelchair, hoping to capture the ordinary.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Venus and Ray

Francesco Clemente, Son (1983), oil on linen
I am a day or so late on all of this, but I wanted to pay homage to the great Ray Bradbury, who passed away the day of the transit of Venus, June 5, 2012. Bradbury was the first writer who took me to other possibilities. I remember in particular the yellow, wet, miserable world of Venus he imagined for us in "The Long Rain," interesting to read as a child in the interminable downpour of Oregon.

Goodbye to this wonderful imaginer of worlds whose reach into our lives, our children's lives, our grandchildren's lives, is exponential. His website recounts a story of his decision to reach for a kind of immortality:

Coraline and her cat
"Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, Live forever! Bradbury later said, I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."

He inspired, for example, Neil Gaiman, who brought us Coraline, among others. Here is a short story he wrote, called "The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury."

On this day unlike any other in our lifetimes, as Venus shows herself to the world, Bradbury's worlds endure.

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