My friend Ellie Ann tweeted a wonderful quote from Ray Bradbury that reminded me of just how much I loved him and how much he’s influenced my writing and my life. So I’ve decided to reprint an open letter I wrote to him on my old blog, a letter he never got to see before he died a couple of years later.
Dear Ray Bradbury,
I’m writing you this letter and posting it to my blog, even though I’m pretty positive you’ll never read it, because you’re a cranky old man who hates the internet. But on this, your 90th birthday, I have something to say to you, and this is my best forum for saying things that I want people to read, so…here goes.
I love you, Ray Bradbury.
Not only have you filled my life with beautifully written stories, you have (through your words–your stories, your essays, your poems) encouraged me to live my life with my heart on my sleeve, my passions and my dreams out front for all the world to see. Like Mr. Electrico did to you, you’ve shot me full of lightning and told me to “Live forever!”
I’ve done my best to do that. I’ve walked in dreams and nightmares, played with my toys and danced through life as much as I can. I’ve sometimes lost my way, but whenever I do, I just reread your stories, your essays, your poems. I stop walking with my eyes trained on my feet and start running again, my eyes gazing up at the stars. You laugh and whisper in my ears, reminding me to love life, to love people, to love the world. And most importantly, when I need it most, you remind me that I can do what I want to do.
You’ve touched my life, inspired me and driven me, in so many ways, at some many times in my life. You’ve been with me more than any other author. You’ve been my friend and my teacher. And we’ve never even met.
I don’t know that I’ll ever get the chance to tell you this to your face, but I want you and the world to know how much you mean to me. You’re a cranky son of a bitch, but dammit, I love you! I love you so much, Ray Bradbury. Thank you for being you and sharing yourself with all of us.
Happy Birthday, Ray Bradbury.
Your friend and fan,
Joshua M. Neff