Ray Bradbury

Choice Bradbury-isms

From "Drunk on Writing: Ray Bradbury’s Gifts to Humanity," by Casey Rae, The Contrarian, June 6, 2012

Some choice Bradbury-isms:       

Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.

I’m not afraid of machines. I don’t think the robots are taking over. I think the men who play with toys have taken over. And if we don’t take the toys out of their hands, we’re fools.

I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.

I don’t believe in being serious about anything. I think life is too serious to be taken seriously.

The women in my life have all been librarians, English teachers, or booksellers… I have always longed for education, and pillow talk’s the best.

Don’t talk about it; write.

If you dream the proper dreams, and share the myths with people, they will want to grow up to be like you.

The best scientist is open to experience and begins with romance — the idea that anything is possible.

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.

See also: "21 Ray Bradbury Quotes: Your Moment of Friday Writing Zen," by Zachary Petit, Writer's Digest, Feb. 17, 2012

Don’t Look to Be Saved

Volkszählung (Census), by Anselm Kiefer, 1991“The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They're Caesar's praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, 'Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.' Most of us can't rush around, talk to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven't time, money or that many friends. The things you're looking for…are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.”

~ From Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

 

Remain Warm among Ice

From Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville:

The Fossil Whale, Frank Stella For the whale is indeed wrapt up in his blubber as in a real blanket or counterpane; or, still better, an Indian poncho slipt over his head, and skirting his extremity. It is by reason of this cosy blanketing of his body, that the whale is enabled to keep himself comfortable in all weathers, in all seas, times, and tides. What would become of a Greenland whale, say, in those shuddering, icy seas of the north, if unsupplied with his cosy surtout? True, other fish are found exceedingly brisk in those Hyperborean waters; but these, be it observed, are your cold-blooded, lungless fish, whose very bellies are refrigerators; creatures, that warm themselves under the lee of an iceberg, as a traveller in winter would bask before an inn fire; whereas, like man, the whale has lungs and warm blood. Freeze his blood, and he dies. How wonderful is it then — except after explanation — that this great monster, to whom corporeal warmth is as indispensable as it is to man; how wonderful that he should be found at home, immersed to his lips for life in those Arctic waters! where, when seamen fall overboard, they are sometimes found, months afterwards, perpendicularly frozen into the hearts of fields of ice, as a fly is found glued in amber. But more surprising is it to know, as has been proved by experiment, that the blood of a Polar whale is warmer than that of a Borneo native in summer.

It does seem to me, that herein we see the rare virtue of a strong individual vitality, and the rare virtue of thick walls, and the rare virtue of interior spaciousness. Oh, man! admire and model thyself after the whale! Do thou, too, remain warm among ice. Do thou, too, live in this world without being of it. Be cool at the equator; keep thy blood fluid at the Pole. Like the great dome of St. Peter's, and like the great whale, retain, O man! in all seasons a temperature of thine own.

[Check out Kurt Anderson’s Peabody Award winning episode of 360 in which he sails into the icy waters in search of Melville’s white whale with the help of Laurie Anderson, Stanley Crouch, David Ives, Elizabeth Schultz, Tony Kushner, Frank Stella, and Ray Bradbury.]

How You See It

"The people there were gods and midgets and knew themselves mortal and so the midgets walked tall so as not to embarrass the gods and the gods crouched so as to make the small ones feel at home. And, after all, isn't that what life is all about, the ability to go around back and come up inside other people's heads to look out at the damned fool miracle and say: oh, so that's how you see it!? Well, now, I must remember that."

- Ray Bradbury, from the introduction to Dandelion Wine