Tag Archives: Ray Bradbury

A Night With Ray, Hef and Buzz: The Fahrenheit 451 Screening

Ray Bradbury celebrates his birthday with a little help from his friend, Hugh Hefner.

It’s not every day you see Mr. Playboy, the real-life Buzz Lightyear, and the greatest living science fiction author together in the same room.

It’s Ray Bradbury Week in Los Angeles, because one day just wouldn’t be enough to celebrate such a prolific author. A resolution by the city council made it official, thanks to the efforts of novelist and screenwriter Steven Paul Leiva, who organized the week’s festivities.

I was fortunate enough to attend a special screening of the 1966 film by Francois Truffaut of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, which also featured a conversation with Ray and Hugh Hefner, moderated by Geoff Boucher of the L.A. Times Hero Complex blog.

A year ago, when Bradbury was about to turn 89, Leiva wrote a column called “Searching For Ray Bradbury” that became the spark that lit the fire for celebrating Bradbury’s 90th in a fashion befitting the author’s stature.

Chatting onstage before the film, Hef recounted when Playboy magazine was just starting out how he contacted Bradbury about publishing Fahrenheit 451 in serial form. Continue reading

How to Feed Your Muse: 7 Writing Tips From Ray Bradbury

A young Ray Bradbury, head in the clouds, imagining Martians.

Is writing a chore for you? It doesn’t have to be.

The man who wrote about a future in which firefighters burn books to prevent negative ideas from spreading has some positive words for writers.

Whether you write a blog, advertising copy, marketing materials, novels or science fiction, the challenge is to keep your writing fresh and inspired. If you already understand how storytelling helps make great copy, you’ll want to know this master storyteller’s tips for rediscovering the joy of writing.

Ray Bradbury discusses his techniques for cultivating writing inspiration in a collection of essays entitled Zen in the Art of Writing. “Ideas lie everywhere,” he says, “like apples fallen and melting in the grass for lack of wayfaring strangers with an eye and a tongue for beauty, whether absurd, horrific, or genteel.”

Wow. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Here then, are 7 writing tips from Ray Bradbury. Continue reading

Ray Bradbury, The Writer Raised By Libraries

Ray Bradbury is 90 years old today, and although his body is failing him, his imagination hasn’t yet. In honor of the occasion, Los Angeles is kicking off a weeklong celebration of his life and work.

The author of such classics as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, and Something Wicked This Way Comes has been honing his craft since his teens. At age 14, a precocious Bradbury persuaded George Burns to let him write for the Burns & Allen comedy show. Since then he’s produced more than five hundred published works—short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, television scripts and verse.

Raised on Ray

I grew up reading Bradbury’s short stories and novels, starting with The Martian Chronicles, and had the privilege of meeting him 20 years ago when he spoke at the San Juan Capistrano Library. A captivating storyteller, he talked about the inspiration he drew from libraries, books, and comics dating back to Buck Rogers in the 1920s. I still have a cherished photo of me posing with my “buddy” Ray.

Future blogger meets futuristic author: Me and my "buddy" Ray Bradbury, 1990.

“Libraries raised me,” Bradbury recounted in a New York Times story detailing his efforts to save a local institution. “I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.” Continue reading