Ray Bradbury Longed for Open Seas

For most of you who were there, Ray Bradbury's holographic appearance at IdeaFestival 2007 was the highlight of an expansive three days. Bradbury's stories of finding refuge in libraries while writing Fahrenheit 451, of the serendipitous path that led to The Martian Chronicles, of his deep well of belief in human potential, and most memorably, his tabletop-pounding demand to "do what you love!" - they came back to me this week. There have been other remembrances in the past couple of days since his death - a few of you have taken to Twitter - and many of them have been extraordinarily moving. But the passage below, pulled from a Paul Gilster post at Centauri Dreams, captures a bit of the magic I enountered in an aged and passionate man nearly five years ago.

Neil deGrasse Tyson likes to quote Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on the topic: 'If you want to teach someone to sail, you don’t train them how to build a boat. You compel them to long for the open seas.' Ray Bradbury was not a boat-builder, and in his science fiction he was content to leave the details of construction to others. His driving wish, deep and unquenchable, was to awaken in his readers the same passion for raw experience he found within himself, by invoking the small events that define all our lives. Midnight carnivals, small town summers and rockets cutting into the dawn became his working materials, lighting fires that for many of us will burn long after he is laid to rest.

His invocation to be fully available to raw experience is the secret, isn't it?

Do you long for open seas too?


Image: Andrzej Mirecki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:IKAROS_solar_sail.jpg