Ray Bradbury, author of "Fahrenheit 451" and countless writings on science fiction and the human spirit, "passed away" yesterday at the age of 91. He was certainly one of the greatest writers in the last 100 years and leaves the world still ablaze with the fires he started with his great works and the flames he fanned in our minds. If we learn anything from his lifetime spent amongst desks typing and scribbling away, it is that books are powerful igniters for all mankind to lift up and use.
From the time he was a boy he was captivated by books like Tarzan and Flash Gordon. By the time he was a teenager his own short stories made their way into magazines and his career only continued to climb. It was not an easy road for Bradbury, not in the slightest. He is a great example of hard work and persistence overcoming social and financial limitations. His family was on government assistance and attending college was not an option to him. He sold newspapers on the street corner and spent three days a week reading books at the public library for 10 years straight. When he needed to write, he had to rent a typewriter. It was on a rented typewriter in a library that Ray Bradbury wrote his masterpiece "Fahrenheit 451."
Today's writers are very much spoiled, given laptop computers, printers and the internet, but in Bradbury's days, writing was much different. He pursued writing and books because he had a passion for it, not because every household had a computer and he happened to be good in English. He went about a career in literature through reading lots of books and then writing lots of books. Lucky for us that he chose the path he chose because the world is a much better one for it. His stories gave birth to entirely new imaginative and scientific creations that actually took shape and impacted the world. He predicted things like ATM machines, the death of newspapers, television screens taking up entire walls and people wearing earphones which would feed them a never ending supply of entertainment, all before these things happened.
Ray Bradbury was a literary giant whose footprints will be noticed for many years because we will have to keep stepping into them. His stories are so enormous in significance and scope that hundreds of years from now people will read what this man wrote and marvel at his insights and brilliance. In an era where so much attention goes onto war, violence, drugs and sex, here stands a life spent trying to get our attention where it should be, onto peace, creativity, imagination, literature, science and art. We will always have his books and they will continue to shine a light for generations of men in the future who will not have lived when he did but will surely be bettered in their time as we have been in ours by this incredible being.
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I'm David Carus. From overcoming one of the most dangerous cities in the country and graduating from one of the most prestigious colleges in America to leading an educational movement as a teacher and running for Congress at the age of 25, I decided the best hope our world has is through art.