“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”
-Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
It is no contest that Ray Bradbury is a good writer, a legend in his own right. With a legacy left behind of writing some of the world’s most treasured stories, Bradbury has touched all our lives.
I was first introduced to Fahrenheit 451 during high school, when my brother was assigned the novel for his summer reading project. He never read it, and the book sat on the shelf untouched, until I devoured what books I had not read and chose to give the assigned “summer reading book” a try. I can’t remember if I read 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 first, but I read them close enough together that I inevitably came to start questioning the environment around me. Both novels, in tandem, served to educate me more than my high school workload. It is a rare gift for a writer to be able to influence a reader’s thought processes and to stir emotion to such a degree that the reader’s worldview shifts. Bradbury was one of those writers.
Bradbury’s work helped open a path on which I now tread. Shortly after reading Fahrenheit 451, I remember reading how Bradbury wrote the short story “The Fireman”, which would eventually turn into the longer novel. Dozens of interviews and articles later, I had developed a vast respect for one of the literary giants of the world, a man who touched life often, and whose genius and kindness will be remembered.
Rest in peace, Mr. Bradbury, and thank you for all you’ve done.