Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Reflections on Ray Bradbury

I heard this morning that Ray had passed on. I always smile when I think of him.  One day he rode the train up to San Luis Obispo, CA to speak at the Earthling Bookstore (now long gone). I snuck in the back door and ended up in the front of the seating area.

I remember some of the things Ray said. One local man who was often seen wandering the streets was there and in front of everyone explained the plot of the book he was writing.  After that long winded speech, he asked Ray how he should end it. And in the immortal words of Ray Bradbury, he said, "How should I know. It's your book."

Ray talked about taking the train up because he saw some relatives decapitated in a car once.  That cured him of wanting to drive. He talked about the Hoover Dam and how he told them if they built it like they planned it would leak, and it does.

He talked about typing 90 WPM because he used to have to rent the manual typewriter at the library and pay per minute. If you've never used a manual typewriter, your fingers had to be super strong to push those keys down.

He talked about living in Venice Beach for many years and roaming the streets because of insomnia.  If was fine when the city was in good shape, but as gangs and drugs took over, he often got stopped by the police and when they asked who he was, he said, "I'm Ray Bradbury." And they'd say, "I bet you are."

Then he signed everyone's copy of his book.  I don't remember what book he was selling that day but I brought one from home.  When I told him my name was Fayme, he said he'd never heard it before.  I said, "It's French." He said, "Are you French." And I said no. I kept hoping my name would appear in one of his books some day, but if it did, I never heard about it.

It was a special day and he was a special man.