Friday, May 13, 2011

Meeting Ray Bradbury: My Dandelion Wish Come True

While riding my beach cruiser around town today, I saw this patch of feathery dandelions growing wild on an abandoned lot. The raw beauty of this rampant and colorless field caught my attention. Look at the seedy dandelions' prolific and resilient nature.

Wild Field of Wishes
(Awesomely amateur photo credit: Carrie Keyes)
 What do you wish for?

The iconic Ray Bradbury once penned a novel called 'Dandelion Wine', a National Book Award winner and semi-autobiographical account of his bygone summer days spent in a small Midwestern town. I met Mr. Bradbury a few years ago at a book signing. He ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and a glass of red wine and spoke, quite charmingly, of his literary beginnings typing in the basement of a building at UCLA. Later, Mr. Bradbury signed a copy of 'Fahrenheit 451' for me. I told him I wanted to write a novel of my own, and that he had inspired me to do so. He inscribed my book as follows:
"Valiant is the word for Carrie."
He was referring to a novel by the same title published in the 1930s, but he encouraged this Carrie to be valiant in pursuit of dreams. A news reporter from Ventura County Life and Style magazine took my photo with Mr. Bradbury and printed it in their magazine. I bought the photograph, and I keep it here on my desk. I like to be close to a literary dream. I am so fortunate to have met the iconic American author.

Meeting Ray Bradbury: A Wish Come True
(Photo credit: VC Life & Style Magazine)
 Here's my wish for you: find inspiration in another. I think (perhaps) Mr. Bradbury would agree that we must be valiant in our pursuit of wishes. You can't sit back and wait for your dream to come to fruition. You must chase it as it floats on the wind.

Find a white-puffed dandelion. Send the feathery seeds floating on the wispy breeze. If you can be patient, and if you are valiant, your wish may come true, and the seed will spawn a new rustic garden of wild dreams for others to wish upon.

That's what Mr. Bradbury did for me.

1 comment:

  1. This is a lovely story, and I love the inscription. I have another friend who was inspired to become a writer by Ray Bradbury: the novelist Dan Chaon. Dan said that when he was in high school he wrote a fan letter to Bradbury, and Bradbury wrote back and sent him a photograph. It made a huge difference to him.