Have you ever read Ray Bradbury’s stories? Books? If not, stop reading this, and go to your nearest library/book store/vendor and read. I’m serious. Go away.
Now, if you’re reading on, I’m assuming you’ve followed my instructions (if not, then I admire your rebellious spirit), or you’ve already experienced the awesomeness that is RB. By chance, I picked up a massive book on my most recent visit to the library (to be honest, only because it was bright red. I love bright red. And judging a book by its cover is sometimes a wonderful thing), and this book happened to be an anthology of his best stories. Now that I’ve begun reading (only halfway through), I am reluctant to even type “best stories,” seeing how each story is amazing in its own right. There is no best. Because they are all the best. And I am saying this objectively, seeing as no one had ever preached about the extent of his literary skill to me in the past, I’ve never read anything by him before; I had previously only heard the name, and knew that it belonged to an author.
Exceptional. I don’t even want to give descriptions of his stories because I’m afraid I’ll royally screw them up, but here’s a general attempt: Every story of his makes me want to know what happens next. Every short story deserves to be a novel, every character praised and dissected. Every description, of even “mediocre” events, are so detailed and so relevant that you can’t help but feel yourself become sucked into every word, page, story. That’s my general rant/love tsunami explanation of my Ray Bradbury experience.
Keeping in mind this new-found excitement for reading (don’t you love it when an author can do that for you?), I found that this outlet of inspiration came to me in an opportune moment. Being Jewish (Orthodox), I have grown up with the new-year holiday of Rosh Hashana. It is considered a time of beauty and trepidation, prayer and supplication to God to bless us with a good year. Usually, I find myself inspired and fearful for my soul (’cause that’s the sort of person I am), and find that prayer comes easily to my lips. This year, for whatever reasons (unknown even to me), I did not feel any sort of inspiration. I went to synagogue and the songs and prayers seemed boring to me, like a ritual to go through just because we are expected to, or to please our parents and grandparents. I just wasn’t feeling it, to be honest. (Which is okay, I think.) Since Rosh Hashana is a two-day event, I went about my business praying, being cold in the synagogue, coming home to stuff my face with my mother’s amazing cooking, and then proceeding to be slightly bored but content.
Then! I picked up Bradbury! And here’s where the story gets exciting (ha! Made you read through this whole thing just to get to the exciting bits NOW). Expecting a bit of light and diverting reading, I found myself enthralled (in case you couldn’t tell from my above gushing paragraphs of joy). Re-connecting with that ability to be sucked into a story, I found myself in synagogue the next day, and slowly found my heart wrenching at the sad tunes, the supplicating prayers, the uplifting songs, where just the day before it had been quite indifferent. So, you could say, Bradbury made me more spiritual. Or perhaps he awakened that sleeping part of me that wanted to have this experience but forgot how to, in my day-to-day schoolwork, work-work, and time for relaxing (New Girl plays a huge part in this).
Go read his stuff, whether you’re Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and I don’t know what else. He has this thing he does with his words…just. Go do it. And then come back and tell me about it, and if he changed your life or outlook or whatnot, or if he didn’t, but was “just” an awesome read.
Happy New Year!