Reading the empty spaces


There is some majorly wacked-out stuff going down all over the globe these days.

From the most horrific, to the most mundane, it’s bizarro world out there.

I’m not really sure what to think of it all.

However, of one thing I am sure.

This morning I learned that Ray Bradbury has died. He was 91.

And I am devastated.

In terms of books, I am not one to mince words.

If I like an author, I will make it known. If I don’t like an author, well, I won’t waste my time.

And I love Bradbury.

(I refuse to use this verb in past tense. Just because he died doesn’t mean I am magically going to stop celebrating his works.)

I love him.

His writings are of such majesty that they brings tears to my eyes, and gooseflesh to my arms, and warmth to my cheeks.

They bring me pain and strength and desire and need – to my head, to my hands, to my heart, to my feet.

I’ll never forget the first time I read Fahrenheit 451.

I was in grade eleven and I had just finished reading Catcher in the Rye. Reading these two books back-to-back exploded my brain so hard it’s amazing that I managed to speak in complete sentences for the remainder of the year.

I wanted to know more.

I wanted to know everything.

I re-read 451 for the first time in the summer of 2007. This time around I took it slowly, reading each chapter and then pausing – taking time to digest the words, the ideas, dissect my growing feeling of unease, of understanding how this fictional world was so alike the one I inhabited – flesh, bones, blood, mind, and heart.

It unnerved me.

And I wanted to know more.

I wanted to know everything.

After this, I read The Martian Chronicles. Sandwiched in between Asimov’s I Robot series and Heinlein’s The Moon is a Dark Mistress, I learned about the Earthmen, and Those Summer Nights; The Settlers and The Green Morning.

“Ylla” (like so many of the book’s other stories) moved me in such a way that I have a hard time communicating them through my typed words.

Everything seems too silly, too trite.

He made a world that I wanted to visit. Wanted to dream about.

All of his worlds – I wanted to know them.

Know everything.

My favourite Bradbury work is Something Wicked This Way Comes.

This book is probably the most terrifying, most beautiful book I have ever read.

Will ever read.

Often times, when I am feeling overwhelmed, or lost, I will pick up Mr. M’s and my dog eared copy and re-read the following passage:

“Why love the woman who is your wife? Her nose breathes in the air of a world that I know; therefore I love that nose. Her ears hear music I might sing half the night through; therefore I love her ears. Her eyes delight in seasons of the land; and so I love those eyes. Her tongue knows quince, peach, chokeberry, mint and lime; I love to hear it speaking. Because her flesh knows heat, cold, affliction, I know fire, snow, and pain. Shared and once again shared experience.”

I will think about good and evil.

About youth.

About age.

I will think about the American Dream, and its evolution. I construct a world that I imagine Bradbury inhabited as he created his work. I deconstruct the world I inhabit when I read his work.

His books make me nostalgic for a time and place I have never known.

For a time and place I will never know.

I have nothing in common with Charles Holloway, and yet I feel for him. I yearn for him.

I am him.

If you have never had the chance, please, take the time and read this book. It is magic.

Bradbury was a literary giant, unmatched by most, in a league of few.

I sincerely hope that individuals, young and old alike will continue to read his works.

Lest we all become firemen.

Lest we all become consumed by fire.