Quote for Today: Ray Bradbury

“Hello!”
He said hello and then said, “What are you up to now?”
“I’m still crazy. The rain feels good. I love to walk in it.
“I don’t think I’d like that,” he said.
“You might if you tried.”
“I never have.”
She licked her lips. “Rain even tastes good.”
“What do you do, go around trying everything once?” he asked.
“Sometimes twice.”

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Quote for Today: Ray Bradbury

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“I got a statistic for you right now. Grab your pencil, Doug. There are five billion trees in the world. I looked it up. Under every tree is a shadow, right? So, then, what makes night? I’ll tell you: shadows crawling out from under five billion trees! Think of it! Shadows running around in the air, muddying the waters you might say. If only we could figure a way to keep those darn five billion shadows under those trees, we could stay up half the night, Doug, because there’d be no night!”

― Ray BradburyDandelion Wine

Public Domain Image via Pixabay

Quote for Today: Ray Bradbury

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As soon as things get difficult, I walk away. That’s the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you. If you try to approach a cat and pick it up, hell, it won’t let you do it. You’ve got to say, “Well, to hell with you.” And the cat says, “Wait a minute, he’s not behaving the way most humans do.” Then the cat follows you out of curiosity: “Well, what’s wrong with you that you don’t love me?”

Well, that’s what an idea is. See? You just say, “Well, hell, I don’t need depression. I don’t need worry. I don’t need to push.” The ideas will follow me. When they’re off guard, and ready to be born, I’ll turn around and grab them.

Ray Bradbury, “Shooting Haiku in a Barrel”

Public Domain Image via goodfreephotos.com

Quote for Today: Ray Bradbury

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We’re going to meet a lot of lonely people in the next week and the next month and the next year. And when they ask us what we’re doing, you can say, We’re remembering. That’s where we’ll win out in the long run. And someday we’ll remember so much that we’ll build the biggest goddamn steamshovel in history and dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war in it and cover it up.
Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451
Image © Darin Marshall with CCLicense

Quote for Today: Ray Bradbury

It was a pleasure to burn.
 

It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history. With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he flicked the igniter and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black. He strode in a swarm of fireflies. He wanted above all, like the old joke, to shove a marshmallow on a stick in the furnace, while the flapping pigeon-winged books died on the porch and lawn of the house. While the books went up in sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning.
Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451

 

Quote for Today: Ray Bradbury

 

Lilacs on a bush are better than orchids. And dandelions and devil grass are better! Why? Because they bend you over and turn you away from all the people and the town for a little while and sweat you and get you down where you remember you got a nose again. And when you’re all to yourself that way, you’re really yourself for a little while; you get to thinking things through, alone. Gardening is the handiest excuse for being a philosopher. Nobody guesses, nobody accuses, nobody knows, but there you are, Plato in the peonies, Socrates force-growing his own hemlock.
 
―Grandpa, Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury

Quote for Today: Ray Bradbury

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Mothers and Children II
George B. Petty, Chicago, ca 1911-12
Public Domain Image via Wikimedia

Oh, what strange wonderful clocks women are. They nest in Time. They make the flesh that holds fast and binds eternity. They live inside the gift, know power, accept, and need not mention it. Why speak of Time when you are Time, and shape the universal moments, as they pass, into warmth and action?

Ray BradburySomething Wicked This Way Comes

Rooted in Loneliness: Thoughts on Ray Bradbury’s The Fog Horn

Art, like life, relies on communication. What happens when empathy fails and we are struck by how unintelligible we are? Sometimes it seems that the only thing we can share is loneliness itself.

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© John Mavin with CCLicense

One day many years ago a man walked along and stood in the sound of the ocean on a cold sunless shore and said, “We need a voice to call across the water, to warn ships; I’ll make one. I’ll make a voice like all of time and all of the fog that ever was; I’ll make a voice that is like an empty bed beside you all night long, and like an empty house when you open the door, and like trees in autumn with no leaves. A sound like the birds flying south, crying, and a sound like November wind and the sea on the hard, cold shore. I’ll make a sound that’s so alone that no one can miss it, that whoever hears it will weep in their souls, and hearths will seem warmer, and being inside will seem better to all who hear it in the distant towns. I’ll make me a sound and an apparatus and they’ll call it a Fog Horn and whoever hears it will know the sadness of eternity and the briefness of life. ––Ray Bradbury, The Fog Horn

Ray Bradbury’s The Fog Horn is a short story which takes place in a remote lighthouse. Simply told, and yet rich in metaphor, this story has mesmerized readers for more than six decades with its eerie tale of a lonely and unknowable creature drawn to the light and the foghorn. If you aren’t familiar with it, or if you would like to read it again, please do so here.

© krembo1 with CCLicense

© krembo1 with CCLicense

A foggy sea, dangerous and wild, shares a border with a rocky coast miles from human habitation, reachable by a long and lonely stretch of highway. Two men work in a lighthouse there: old McDunn, who has experience with the mysteries of the sea, and our narrator, who is fascinated by the workings of the lighthouse and the movement of the ocean. This evening the old man initiates the younger man into the mystery of the lighthouse. There is something out there in the great deep, something alive and otherworldly, something ancient.

Even without analysis, this story pulls at us, reeling us in like the monster itself. What is it that resonates here? We can take flashlights and go out by the coast to look, but you may find yourself staring into your own darkness, looking at a glimmer of reflected light.

© Wayne31r with CCLicense

© Wayne31r with CCLicense

Lighthouses stand on the border between solid ground and the ocean or other large body of water. Borders are places of danger, conflict, exploration and growth. It doesn’t take much of a stretch to suppose that the solid ground symbolizes the conscious and the sea the unconscious. Both are necessary parts of our world that operate in profoundly different ways. One can imagine a full scale storm here would be terrifying, blending together realities designed to coexist but not to mingle. The fog already obscures the boundary between them. In this particularly lonely and mysterious place, humanity has erected a lighthouse, designed to warn of the dangerous rocks that lie between one realm and another and to keep boats from ramming into the shore. No one ever expected it would provoke a response from the sea itself.

McDunn has been on the edge here a very long time, and the mystery of the sea has gotten into his psyche and blood. At first we may think him a bit dotty and superstitious, but as we see and experience the strange creature he speaks of, we realize that he is on to something. Either that, or he has talked us into seeing what he sees. His intuition guides us into belief in things we don’t understand, things that seem impossible. The world is ancient, he tells us, and it is modern man and his consciousness that fail to make sense in the context of time.

Our narrator is one of those modern men, new enough to the lighthouse that he has never experienced a visit from the creature. He enjoys the company of McDunn, who is a “good talker” and tells great stories. There is curiosity here and a scientific mind. Most of the time, weird things happen while this fellow is out, but tonight the creature will manifest itself not only for the believer’s intuition, but for the skeptic’s rationality, sending the roof crashing down upon both of them.

© John Curly with CCLicense

© john curley with CCLicense

This brings us to the lonely monster, surfacing from the depths where human history is unknown and unexperienced. Primal and lonely, it responds to the flashing lights and the maddeningly sorrowful voice of the lighthouse, mistaking the building for another being of its own kind. It too is made of light and voice. Unfortunately, the beast expects too much from a world unequipped to understand and empathize. Tonight it will be disappointed to find that the lighthouse is unable to return its attention. How can it when it isn’t even alive?

Quote for Today: Ray Bradbury

Librarian_working_at_the_Pointe_Coupee_Parish_Parish_library_in_New_Roads_Louisiana_in_1936Forgive, I hope you won’t be upset, but when I was a boy I used to look up and see you behind your desk, so near but far away, and, how can I say this, I used to think that you were Mrs. God, and that the library was a whole world, and that no matter what part of the world or what people or thing I wanted to see and read, you’d find and give it to me.

Ray BradburyQuicker Than the Eye