A/N: This post was originally published last week, and for some reason, it disappeared from the feed. I suspect this had more to do with operator error than any mistake or inefficiency on the part of anyone else. I am reposting it in the event that potential future readers might like to see it.

 

Ray Bradbury died this week, y’all, and the world lost a mighty fine literary talent. I don’t know too much about him, other than the fairly obvious. He was a writer, a defender of books, and an opponent of censorship in any of its various forms. He was a true gatekeeper, and that’s one of the best compliments I can give him. Why a gatekeeper, you ask? Gatekeepers guard whatever is behind the gate, and in the case of books, it is thousands of years of knowledge and history passed down through the eons of mankind’s existence. All of what we are, all of what we have been, and all of what we have hopes of becoming lies there, behind the gates of the human experience. Thus, writers are gatekeepers.

Ray Bradbury inspired me to read, because it was through his books that I first began to understand that reading is important to an educated mind. Reading is its own type of freedom. It awakens the imagination, delights the fancy, and opens our minds to ideas we might not have considered before. Perhaps more importantly, reading helps us realize that we are not alone in the human struggle, but that our hopes and fears and adversities are the same hopes and fears and adversities with which man has been dealing since the beginning of time. Suddenly, we are no longer alone in the universe, but a small part of some larger something.  More than inspiring me to read, his books became a strange kind of obsession for me.

I don’t know how many people can point to someone else and say, “I do what I do because of him”, but in some ways I can. He wasn’t the only writer about which I can say that, but he was one of the first. Ray Bradbury inspired me to write, to create worlds beyond imagining, and to provide the social commentary that is the keystone of a free and democratic society. His characters were the voice of reason for several generations of our humanity. Rest well, Mr. Bradbury, and know that we appreciate your legacy.

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