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Nearly meeting Ray Bradbury

Last night began as a disappointment. I had planned to join my mom to her local library a couple hours out of town to attend a lecture by legendary author Ray Bradbury, who was scheduled to show up and share his thoughts on writing. He’s now 86 and in a wheelchair.

Best known for his novels like “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Dark Carnival”, Bradbury was also a colleague of Rod Serling. Bradbury wrote the story “I Sing the Body Electric!”, as well as the adapted Twilight Zone teleplay. The episode aired in 1962.

I couldn’t wait to meet this guy. A bona fide Twilight Zone writer. The idea of meeting somebody who worked with Rod Serling was not unlike the idea of meeting Moses. I own a hardcover book of the original Twilight Zone stories, which includes the unadapted versions of classics from the power-trio Serling, Charles Beaumont, and Richard Matheson. Among the collection is Bradbury’s “I Sing the Body Electric!” which I’d intended for him to sign.

So I pile the dogs in the truck and jump on the freeway at about 4pm. All of a sudden the rain starts pouring down, and everything starts feeling really sketchy. Cars backed up, people going too slow, windshield wipers not working fast enough … and it’s not even rush hour yet. I flip on the traffic news and hear reports of no less than a dozen pile-ups in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. Not good.

I pull off the freeway and give up. The idea of being stuck in a jam for hours with the dogs in the back of the rig just sound like something to avoid.

Anyhow, my mom called me from the event and told me to relax, and know that even Bradbury himself was stuck in traffic. It was also a turn-away crowd with a line of over 300, so there’d be a good chance I wouldn’t get that autograph anyway. Much less a conversation.

I hear the lecture went well. Bradbury hadn’t eaten, and the library assistants did their best to make him comfortable as he spoke. They set him up with a bottle of red wine, and he went on to discuss his love for life and writing. Check out the full story here.

“If you’re not doing what you love, you’re not doing the right thing.”
— Ray Bradbury

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