Neil Gaiman remembers Ray Bradbury

Neil Gaiman's remembrance of Ray Bradbury is very sweet and paints a picture of one of the field's great mensches:

Last week, at dinner, a friend told me that when he was a boy of 11 or 12 he met Ray Bradbury. When Bradbury found out that he wanted to be a writer, he invited him to his office and spent half a day telling him the important stuff: if you want to be a writer, you have to write. Every day. Whether you feel like it or not. That you can't write one book and stop. That it's work, but the best kind of work. My friend grew up to be a writer, the kind who writes and supports himself through writing.

Ray Bradbury was the kind of person who would give half a day to a kid who wanted to be a writer when he grew up.

A man who won't forget Ray Bradbury (Thanks, Deborah!)


  1. The unnamed writer mentioned in the quote above is Mark Evanier, who has also written his own tribute to Bradbury.

  2. Suppose it’s looking to you like you don’t have it in you to maintain the discipline needed to write every day, and yet, you still want to write and can’t seem to give up on it. What do you do then?

    1.  Figure out how to find the discipline. Try writing first thing in the morning say, get up earlier to do it. The important thing is to be there ready to write for a time every day, even if all you do it stare at the page – or so I am told. I am still working on the discipline part myself :P

      1.  Continue to write, but don’t quit your day job. Not all artists have to be ‘pros’. And not all art has to be seen by others.

    2. The advice above to write in the morning is good. Our filters aren’t quiet awake yet, and things flow a lot more easily.

      Also: read Bradbury’s Zen and the Art of Writing. It’s an easy read, but a good one.

    3.  But you just wrote something!  Right there!

      That’s something I’ve recently been thinking about — I write a hell of a lot, but an embarrassing percentage of it is taken up by arguments in the ComicsAlliance comments section.

      Even those exact same points I was planning on making anyway can be reformatted into a coherent essay and posted to a blog.  No, it’s not the Great American Novel, but it’s, as Gaiman might put it, a step closer to the mountain.

  3. Someone should get George Clayton Johnson’s remembrance. He actually collaborated with Bradbury and was part of “the group” that included Bradbury, Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont back in the 50s. He is still alive and well in Pacoima, CA

  4. I have read and re-read Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury many times.  Back in the days when I was thinking about making movies and reading movie scripts, I took one of the stories in that book, “A Dish of Lime-Vanilla Ice,” and reset it as a screenplay. Years later, I sent a copy to Ray Bradbury.

    And he wrote back.

    I got a lovely hand-written note on yellow legal pad paper telling me that he enjoyed my work and that another admirer, a Russian woman, had already done a screen treatment of the same material.  However, neither of our works would be produced as Bradbury himself was working on a musical play version of “Dandelion Wine” with songwriter Jimmy Webb, the man who wrote “Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” and “MacArthur Park.”  Wonder whatever happened with that project. At the bottom of the page was Bradbury’s signature and a simple line drawing of a dandelion.

    Ray Bradbury didn’t have to treat me, some anonymous schlub behind an unsolicited piece of mail, so nicely.  He was not only a fine and evocative writer but a nice guy as well.  At least, from my experience.

    PS:  Found one of the songs from the Bradbury/Webb musical:
    Here’s one of the songs:

    1.  Really beautiful song (and I don’t usually like that kind of music…). Thanks for sharing it.

  5. I didn’t realize that Bradbury wrote a noir detective novel (Death is a Lonely Business).  Now I can’t wait to read it!

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