I don’t have time to write a proper meditation, the kind of meditation he deserves.
And the most recent piece he wrote, in the New Yorker‘s current (delightful) science fiction issue. I just read it a few days ago.
One of the most important books of my youth was his Dandelion Wine. When I ventured out of California for the first time, into Missouri on a little vacation, I gasped in recognition at the green green green, gently un-flat countryside. Driving through rural Missouri, I could finally understand Ray Bradbury. And Mark Twain.
Dandelion Wine is the best—perhaps the only (my only)—evocation of the feeling of childhood’s limitless possibility, and of the golden mysteries of the everyday.
The way that new sneakers make you feel you can run straight up to the clouds. Fireflies (even more mysterious to a California kid who’d never seen them). A grandmother who cooks best half-blind, dipping her hands into spilled-over piles and sacks of flours and vegetables in an unlit kitchen. When her family helped her by cleaning it all up and organizing it, her food just wasn’t as good. Wine made from weeds in a magical contraption kept in the basement.
This was a little bit my childhood. A little bit America’s childhood. A little bit fantasy, as all childhood is.
When I was a kid, everyone was always talking about Fahrenheit 451. Yeah, I read it. But it was no Dandelion Wine.
New sneakers still remind me of this book. Always.
Thank you, Ray Bradbury.