He was 91. Most people will shrug and say, ‘Well, that’s a good age’. It is the strange way we deal with death. 91 is no age. 300 is no age. There will be a time when people will say, ‘Well, 500 is a good age’. As writers, poets or journalists, as we age, we begin to understand the power of words and what words can do to a really good story. Even that sentence has words that play with you, power, age, really, good and story. All great words on their own. Bradbury understood the power of words. He understood that words are timeless and will continue long after any of us, even our race. Our words will become archaeology. When the news of his death came on the BBC today I felt my stomach drop, my chin wobble and a hole appear inside me. Bradbury meant something to me not just as a writer but as a reader. Never underestimate Bradbury, this was a writer who loved writing and at his height was producing one short story a week. How many of us can say that? He would joke that quantity would win over quality. This simply wasn’t the case, the more he flexed his imagination the greater his work became from the world of Mars, to a man who gnaws on bones to the thoughts of a child assassin. These images stay with me years after the reading. His writing struck me not just as a child but as an adult, his electricity passed through me, lightning strike after lightning strike. That image comes straight from his novel Something Wicked This Way Comes. If you want to celebrate him, celebrate his words. Read his fiction. I will end this post with one of the greatest opening lines in fiction: ‘First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys.’ It does what it sets out to do, is tells you the time of year and that our protagonist will be a boy. It hooks you in, grips you and tells you that something truly awful is coming their way.
A full obituary can be at The Guardian. Though I think they have missed the point with his writing. Good article at The Telegraph. Share anymore links below.
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That was really lovely Andrew and i will definitly have a look at more of his work.