Zen in The Art of Ray Bradbury: Lessons on Living

A stunning retrospective of a local hero.

(This is an excerpt from the , about Ray Bradbury, who recently went to the great beyond, and had a profound effect on many of us.)

Ray Bradbury died last Tuesday, and I lost the best writing teacher I'd never met.

I’ve spent the last week rereading some of my favorite stories in The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles, and I’ve been dipping in and out of the endless summer that is Dandelion Wine. I love his direct, precise language. I love the deceptive simplicity of each story. I love how he defies the standard "show, don’t tell" advice to writers by both showing and telling. I love the tension in an opening line like, “He had smoked a packet of cigarettes in two hours." I love that his advice to new writers is always: "Jump, run, freeze." I love how dandelion wine sounds like a strange and exotic brew, strange until it has been linked so inextricably with the freedom and pleasures of summer, imbued with so much sun-soaked detail, that it is no different than the lemonade my grandmother served us kids at the summer cottage on Long Island: "The wine was summer caught and stoppered."

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