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Author Topic:   WHY! Does Ray Inspire?
Nard Kordell
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posted 11-30-2002 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nard Kordell   Click Here to Email Nard Kordell     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It doesn't mean,
Why Does He Inspire YOU?

My Question: Why Does He Inspire At All??

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uncle
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posted 11-30-2002 11:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for uncle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
He inspires the juice of feeling, bitter or sweet for a reaction to personal experience.

Althought I will admit feeling like putting down a book, after certain stories. But I still come back.

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Mr. Dark
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posted 12-04-2002 09:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr. Dark   Click Here to Email Mr. Dark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great question. Here is my initial take:

Great Characters: He writes about people who "feel" real. Several of his characters inspire a real and genuine concern with how they resolve the issues in their lives. Sometimes in re-reading (like SWTWC and F451) you get to know the characters over a period of years and they become almost like family. Not all writers can do this with their characters. He also has characters who are morally ambiguous -- which causes you to wrestle with who they are. Should you be sympathetic?, etc. Some of his Martian characters come across as being real "people". This, also, is an achievement.

Theme: He writes about ideas that seem germane to the human condition: loneliness, the impact of technology on the person and relationships, the role of relationships in the formation of life's meaning, fear, hatred, vengence, evil, hope, god, the need for connection, the need for redemption, a sense of wonder. These issues all reach out and touch us at some place in OUR own lives.

Language: Bradbury uses language in a unique way. When you read a Bradbury story, you can often tell it's a Bradbury story even if you don't know who the author is. In this way, he is like Hemingway. In both cases, their use of the language to tell their stories is both unique and compelling. It rings with it's own voice.

Story: He is an amazing story-teller. The stories are compellingly told -- it is often difficult to put them down mid-stream. The stories are also original, but in many cases are based on very simple premises. He is able to extrapolate meaning from small events, fears, concerns, and questions. He puts characters in simple situations, tweaks things, and a story is born.

Anyway, those are the things I think make him an inspiration. Perhaps in cases where people don't think he's an inspiration, he still provides a connection that becomes meaningful.

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justmuse
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posted 01-03-2003 05:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for justmuse   Click Here to Email justmuse     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ray Bradbury inspires because he is able to entwine his wordsinto the very depths of your consiousness and make you question reality so to speak.

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WritingReptile
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posted 01-03-2003 06:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WritingReptile   Click Here to Email WritingReptile     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a really interesting question. I think Mr. Dark pretty much covered the elemental aspects of Ray's writing and I agree.

I have to say that I'm not so sure inspiration can be separated from a personal context, though.

I know that while I find Ray immensely inspiring, others do not. Some people think he's Gene Roddenberry for crying out loud!

In fact I was NOT inspired by Ray as a 14 year old. I had my wisdom teeth removed that summer and it was a messy operation. All I could do for a couple of weeks was drink milkshakes and read library books. I read a collection of stories by Ray (I don't remember wich one) and they left me feeling cold. My feeling after finishing the stories was, "so what"?

Years later, Avalon books reissued Martian Chronicles in a smart, inexpensive little hardback (bless them!) and I thought I owed it to myself to at least read ONE "classic". WOW, I was hooked from there on in.

So, while I could say Ray Bradbury inspires because of the emotional resonance of his writing, there has to be a person in which that emotion can resonate. And I think that means it will be an intensely personal experience that varies from person to person.

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Mr. Dark
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posted 01-04-2003 12:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr. Dark   Click Here to Email Mr. Dark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think WritingReptile is right in that there must be a personal response in order for inspiration to take place.

I think that question with Bradbury is why does his writing INSPIRE so many people?

The subjective reaction is imperative to literature (in fact, I think the power of good literature is that it creates a climate where the reader becomes creatively involved with the writing -- imagining characters, settings, emotions, evaluating arguments, etc.), but Bradbury seems to cause this in so many people.

For me, it was ninth grade. My entire life was impacted by my reading of F451. I became an inveterate reader with an almost endless curiousity about life and its meaning. This need to read in a billion fields is still very much alive in me. It was either placed there or turned on by Bradbury's writing.

It goes beyond subjectivity, themes, poetry, story, characters, etc., yet it includes them all.

There is a magic in the fantasy worlds that Bradbury creates. I am sucked into them -- even though I know they are bizarre. In Tomorrows' Child, for example (In I Sing the Body Electric), a child is born into a different dimension, while the other dimension's version of himself is as a blue pyramid in this world. This is ridiculous! But I am pulled in to the dilemma and grief of the parents as they wrestle with a solution to this. Meanwhile, they are feeding a bloody blue pyramid with baby food! There is a magic that lets me get emotionally involved with a story that, on it's surface, is so ridiculous. Who else could pull that off? The Skeleton is another example. In the end, he is a geletanous (is this a word!?) mass who can talk. Yet I care!

This is Bradbury's world. And when you pull in his skill in language and his strong thematic undercurrents, it is inspirational.

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Ana Mafalda
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posted 01-04-2003 01:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ana Mafalda   Click Here to Email Ana Mafalda     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think B inspires because there is always something of ourselves in his characters, sometimes we don't or find hard to identify the place but we identify the feelings and sometimes is the other way round. I feel there is always something of me in the stories I read. And he inspires also because he gives us room to think about the world around us as follow him in his stories. for it is as isf he is opening the door for me to be myself and feel the world around me.

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Mr. Dark
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posted 01-04-2003 03:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr. Dark   Click Here to Email Mr. Dark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the fact that Bradbury deals with universals of the human condition is why we can see ourselves in these stories -- bizarre though they may sometimes be.

For example, in Tomorrow's Child, the quandary of the parents is not too different from the reaction of a parent who struggles with a child born with serious difficulties. I think this is why I can relate to the parents' dilemma, confusion and fear in this story. I have kids. While mine have been blessed in their health, I know others who have had to really reach out to a child who just cannot reach back. As you watch parents struggle with kids who have serious problems, one of the things that is so inspirational is that they love their child and want to communicate with him/her no matter what. This is what I see in this story, for example. That parental yearning to be with, to touch, to communicate with their child -- no matter what. Yet Bradbury does not idealize these situations into mush. He deals with all the issues and feelings involved.

This ability to address, comprehensively, the whole scope of human emotion is one of the things I find inspirational about Bradbury's writings.

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kaleidoscope
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posted 01-06-2003 07:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kaleidoscope   Click Here to Email kaleidoscope     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although I agree with many of the comments above, I also tend to think it is like the difference between a teacher talking in monotone sentences and one who is enthusiastic about what they are presenting.
For example, have you ever read some of Tom Clancy's early work? Although the plot ideas are often good (Red Storm Rising) and his knowledge of the armed forces seems deep, the amount of description far outweighs character depth.

Because Ray has such an enthusiam for what he does, it tends to be contagious for both readers and writers. He constantly reminds us of the joy of discovery, even in moments of heartache, and that life is always worth living.

Also, Ray's stories also tend to flow like rivers (where Clancy's stories sometimes flow like setting cement) and those rivers (to get metaphorical) team with unmatched life and originality.

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lmskipper
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posted 01-06-2003 11:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lmskipper   Click Here to Email lmskipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Despite his age, Ray is somewhat like a child, in the most positive sense of the word. He takes away the layers and the pretense and has a fresh outlook on the world. It's very clear that he loves life, despite its many flaws. Every time I read one of his books or stories, his enthusiasm for life rubs off on me and I feel like I'm looking at the world with fresh eyes, like when I was a kid. That leaves me feeling very giddy, even rejuvenated, at least for a while. That feeling is why I keep coming back to his books over and over.

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Mr. Dark
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posted 01-18-2003 07:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr. Dark   Click Here to Email Mr. Dark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
kaleidoscope and Imskipper hit on an important thing when they mention Bradbury's enthusiasm as a source of his inspiration to his readers.

John Wesley (founder of Methodism) was once asked why so many people came to hear his sermons. He replied that he set himself on fire and the people came to watch him burn. Bradbury has much of that in him. When you read his descriptions of his writing, it often includes the idea that the stories drive him and he just records.

From the introduction to "The Stories of Ray Bradbury" is this:

"Writing is supposed to be difficult, agonizing, a dreadful exercise, a terrible occupation. But, you see, my stories have led me through my life. They shout, I follow. They run up and bite me on the leg -- I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go, and runs off. That is the kind of life I've had. Drunk, and in charge of a bicycle, as an Irish police report once put it. Drunk with life, that is, and not knowing where off to next. But you're on your way before dawn. And the trip? Exactly one half terror, exactly one half exhilaration."

In an essay titled, "The Joy of Writing" in his book, "Zen and the art of Writing" Bradbury writes,

"Zest. Gusto. How rarely one hears these words used. How rarely do we see people living, or for that matter, creating by them. Yet if I were asked to name the most important items in a writer's make-up, the things that shape his material and rush him along the road to where he wants to go, I could only warn him to look to his zest, see to his gusto."

And,

" . . . the first thing a writer should be is -- excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms. Without such vigor, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches; God knows it'd be better for his health."

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lmskipper
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posted 01-18-2003 10:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lmskipper   Click Here to Email lmskipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ray is truly gifted with words, as shown by the above quotations. I think that man could recite a shopping list and make it sound special. I hope you don't think I'm totally sappy if I confess that he often brings me to tears.

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Nard Kordell
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posted 01-19-2003 04:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nard Kordell   Click Here to Email Nard Kordell     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Imskipper::::
Sappy? For years, I would cry uncontrollably somewhere during the reading of the first 200 words of Ray's short story, "Death and the Maiden."
I spent a long time trying to figure it out. Now I pretty much know, but can't figure out how to put the reasons into words....

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lmskipper
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posted 01-19-2003 06:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lmskipper   Click Here to Email lmskipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for understanding, Nard. When my students ask me why I love Bradbury so much I give several reasons, but usually end by saying that I can't put all of my reasons into words, that it's just something about his writing style that I connect with on an instinctive level. He hits me in the heart, maybe? Or would it be the soul??

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Celestial
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posted 01-20-2003 05:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Celestial   Click Here to Email Celestial     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's gotta be the soul! Goosebumps and lumps in your throat that come from somewhere deep inside are all signs that your soul is trying to speak to you.

Never stop listening. It will lead you down a road less traveled, unearthing a treasure trove of rich rewards.

I love this forum!

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fascination
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posted 01-22-2003 03:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fascination   Click Here to Email fascination     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For me, Ray's writing fits comfortably. One can tell that Ray does not sit down with a new idea and pound and bash the thought until a crude simulacrum of a story exists. He lays each word and metaphor onto paper with love and care, making sure every verb and noun is in harmony.

Many other posts in this thread make excellent points, so I won't rehash them. Plenty of authors have good character development, or an enthralling plot, or vivid descriptions, but I don't think they are particularly inspirational.

Ray inspires because he is genuine. Every memorable and pure moment of my life has been because of someone or something being genuine - reading stories with my sister (she's 9, and LOVES Edgar Allan Poe - society may live on!), a kind gesture from a neighbor, or an inspiring eulogy. Even a genuine estimate from a mechanic is easier to swallow when you know that, truly, that is the price, and the repair is necessary.

Some writers force a story to work, but my favorite writers LET the story work. Ray has brought me to tears as well, simply because he lays it out. No sugar-coating, no filter, no cencorship. It is what it is - beautiful or ugly, awe-inspiring or tear-inducing. Whether you like it, or want to mass-produce hate mail and send it to Mr. Bradbury, you have to admit that he's got a point, and he's genuine.

I'm with Celestial - This is an amazing forum!

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frankanger
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posted 01-26-2003 01:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for frankanger     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The answer is a simple one --

Personalisation.

As far as I can see years ago fiction had tone and voice. You felt as though there was a living, breathing person at the other end hammering those words into shape. Someone, somewhere sat and invested time and enjoyment into their tales. They had a voice, maybe even something to say.

And now? There's maybe a handful of authors who have a distinctive voice. Check out any of the latest bestellers, or genre favourites and it's all rehashed, impersonal, hotchpotches of what has come before (can anyone say 'Forensic profiler hunting down Twisted serial killer? or maybe Aging University lecturer has an affair with young student?).

Solution? Be like Ray. No, no, I don't mean imitate the language or the themes and characters (believe me, it's impossible). But he does offer us a way out of the quagmire of modern literature (in all fields). DON'T THINK! This is why he inspires writers. He says to hell with it all. To hell with structure classes on how to write and the writing guru's such as Robert McKee and Syd Field who promote this way. To hell with deep character motivation and sheet upon sheet of research. He says write your joy, your sadness, show the world your tears and your smiles. In essence, don't be afraid.

I have a simple analogy for this. Who would you rather hear a story from? A grandfather, friend (whomever you like) who is enthusiastic and clearly involved? Or one of those synthetic computer speech engines?

I know which I'd choose. And I feel there's a lot more people who think the same way.

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pterran
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posted 01-26-2003 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pterran   Click Here to Email pterran     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello, Mr. Anger,

I've been enjoying your posts, as much as I find myself in disagreement with some of them.

About the craft of writing, I think a better word than your "personalisation" might be "individuality" or "originality."

"Bradbury is a true original," I think is how some of the cover blurbs say. And it's true and that's what seems to attract most of us to him.

As for the slams against McKee and Field, I haven't read the McKee book (Yeah, I know, he figures in Adaptation, which I haven't bothered to see) but I have studied Field and Field makes some good points. Bradbury may argue the "Don't Think!" mode of creation but he freely admits to the "create hot, revise cold" school of writing. There are underlying rules in what makes a good story, whether you're aware of them or not, but not matter how enthusiastic the storyteller is, if these rules aren't followed, you ain't gonna like the story very much.

Pete

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WritingReptile
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posted 01-26-2003 02:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WritingReptile   Click Here to Email WritingReptile     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ah yes, that elusive, indefinable quality of "voice". I agree Ray's is quite original and it's one of his great strengths. Anyone with a voice definitely stands out from the crowd.

Also, I think structure is fine thing to have, and if you are writing a screenplay it is essential. Funny, no one ever complains that a sonnet is too structured. Thatís the nature of the medium. But if structure is ALL you have, then it's a problem.

Even Ray, who clearly advocates the "Don't Think" sort of approach, warns that you much have the basic mechanics down so you don't trip over yourself when you go to write. His approach to writing also explains why he has written so few novels (considering most of his "novels" are collections of short stories)...you need solid structure and complex, well defined characters to sustain a story of any great length. (That's not a knock against Ray--he can do it all, of course.)

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pterran
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posted 01-26-2003 06:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pterran   Click Here to Email pterran     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Writing Reptile,

Mega-dittoes! I'd forgotten to use the most obvious argument for structure: the sonnet. Try to impose that kind of rigidity on any other kind of written piece and you're accused of cookie-cutter creativity.

And mega-dittoes, again, on the point of Bradbury and novels. In fact, I think that's Bradbury's great strenght: the short story. (I find screenplay's more akin to short stories than novels, too. That's why I think most of his stories would translate for the screen so well. Yeah, yeah, I know the story about Peckinpah ripping the pages out and stuffing them in the camera. Bradbury may think he writes cinematically but I'm not so sure.) Gathering the similarly themed stories and adapting them to book length works ideally for him but the work where he's tried towards a more novelistic approach - I'm thinking of the murder mysteries - don't work so well.

Pete

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Nard Kordell
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posted 10-20-2003 11:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nard Kordell   Click Here to Email Nard Kordell     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Decided to stick this post somewheres.
It's an older Bradbury interview (1999) but an interesting one to read. (apologies to those who read it already. Sorry, thus have to find something unto now Unread!)

(click on, or type into finder): http://www.weeklywire.com/ww/09-27-99/alibi_feat1.html

[This message has been edited by Nard Kordell (edited 10-20-2003).]

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From Greentown Illinois
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posted 10-21-2003 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for From Greentown Illinois   Click Here to Email From Greentown Illinois     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think he inspires because he isn't afraid to express, with his heart, any thought that pops into his head. I used to live with a friend who would express in words, writings, music, video, art, food and inventions (among other things). He did some crazy stuff and he opened my mind and my heart. I get the same feelings from Mr. Bradbury. He just goes for it - he isn't afraid to share himself. That is a beautiful thing and Ray Bradbury is a beautiful man.

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vanamonde
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posted 10-21-2003 04:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vanamonde   Click Here to Email vanamonde     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ray knows how to find the profound beauty in everything, even sorrow and pain and loss.

when humans see the juxtaposition of beauty and emotion that Bradbury loves to make in his stories, we are often left breathless...

i think he inspires because once we know that feeling of breathlessness, we not only know that we want to experience it again, but we know a little more about how we work, how to make it happen, and we want to let others know the feeling as well.


as a side note, i also think this is why the users of this forum are so good with words. reading why we think ray bradbury inspires: is inspirational.....

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Awareness
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posted 10-24-2003 01:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Awareness   Click Here to Email Awareness     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
He speaks the language of details. He writes in such a way that you can't just read his books. At the risk of sounding like a big cheeseball, I'd say his stories are more of an experience. If he describes a cool October breeze, you feel it; a certain scent in the air, you can taste it in the back of your throat. No detail goes unnoted. And therefore on the reader's end, nothing goes unfelt. To read Bradbury is to become detached from your world, and enveloped in any of his. You're on mars, you're in October country, you are living another life somewhere else. And it is fantastic. I wouldn't have it any other way. It's the most beautiful way to escape whatever is going on in your life, if only for an hour or so. And the impression is a lasting one.

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lmskipper
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posted 10-24-2003 10:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lmskipper   Click Here to Email lmskipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Awareness--There's nothing cheeseball about what you just said. You captured the feeling beautifully that Ray gives me, and I'm sure most of the other people who post here, when reading his stories. Maybe he's rubbing off on you!!

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Rodger
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posted 11-11-2003 10:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodger   Click Here to Email Rodger     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think that Ray inspires so many because he connects with the 8 year-old in all of us. His love of dinosaurs and things that go bump in the night. You know that if you had been the kid down the street from Ray's house that there would have been late summer sleepovers in the backyard with flashlights and squirtguns. Ray remembers those thoughts and expresses them for all of us.

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Nard Kordell
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posted 08-25-2004 11:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nard Kordell   Click Here to Email Nard Kordell     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How does Ray Inspire?
...can be followed by this older posting of....
Why does Ray Inspire?

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philnic
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posted 08-26-2004 06:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for philnic   Click Here to Email philnic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Because everything is a metaphor, he can't help showing us things as we have never seen them before?
http://history.nasa.gov/EP-125/part6.htm

- Phil

www.bradburymedia.co.uk

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Nard Kordell
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posted 08-26-2004 09:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nard Kordell   Click Here to Email Nard Kordell     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Re-reading some of the above posts, they are really insightful. One of them, by 'Awareness'... is interesting: ''he stays with you!''
I'll go further: His words fidn their way into your bones and blood to stay there....in a wonderful way. The wonder of Ray Bradbury is that fifty years from now, Ray's words will still haunt and thrill the reader.

Why does he Inspire? It's the character of Christ embroidered into his works. I know that for sure!! For others, it's a different story perhaps. But that's mine.

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libRArY
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posted 08-27-2004 10:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for libRArY     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can you really explain easily why Ray inspires?
It's a gift, and if I was a poet maybe I could explain it. A poet could use regular language to equate something of the power of why Ray inspires with something familiar.
Maybe it has to do with Ray having the power over simple language to express things we cannot explain so easily. With enough expression to trigger insights inside of us.

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dandelion
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posted 08-28-2004 03:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dandelion   Click Here to Email dandelion     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
He is able to combine all the best aspects of every great literary and artistic work of the past with his own unique take on the world to fully illustrate what many people have felt and experienced but could not express. Yes, the fact that he gets into one's system IS a good thing, but he expresses so many things SO perfectly it's hard for any writer under his influence to try not to repeat him, let alone top him. Ray is not only a whole library in himself, he is a whole world and a whole UNIVERSE in himself at which most mere mortals must stand in awe.

[This message has been edited by dandelion (edited 08-28-2004).]

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courtnic000
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posted 08-30-2004 12:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for courtnic000   Click Here to Email courtnic000     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think that Ray Bradbury has changed my life in a few ways. I think that reading the book that I was required for school has really effected the way I have seen things today. If I wasnít able to do something that I want, such as listening to music or drawing, I would be torn apart inside. Just imagining not being able to do the things I love make me realize how much I take them for granite. Now that I have read the book it makes me think about how lucky I am to be able to have the freedom that I do.

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Nard Kordell
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posted 10-09-2004 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nard Kordell   Click Here to Email Nard Kordell     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
courtnic000

If you truly believe, deep down inside, what you are saying...and it's not mere 'feelings' pouring out with idealistic emotions, then you are wiser than your years. Some people don't ''get it'' until much of life has had its way with them. Freedom, to be freedom, must set with a moral compass. Otherwise one finds his darkest hours as his comforter. When I read parts of 'Fahrenheit 451', I find books being burned the likes of Dickens, and the heart of Poe. It's ironic, I find, that 451first appeared in Playboy, which never has held any moral sensibilities. It's a convulted image of Christ eating and drinking with the sinners, that Bradbury should have done business here. We see good in much of Bradbury's works. But when Bradbury hardly wonders today if there is a life after death, I am inclined to think if bad company corrupts good morals.

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