Skip to main content

Introducing Ray Bradbury.

So I've started reading some Ray Bradbury. I've read all of four stories from this collection of his short stories, but I'm already about as impressed as one can reasonably be. These are just some initial impressions, mind you.

with cat
I've started with some of his short stories because that's what I'm interested in writing. I want to learn to write short stories, so that's what I'm reading. And, yes, this is my first Bradbury. No, I have not read Fahrenheit 451. Somehow. Eventually, though. Over on my other blog, I reflected on some advice he gave about storywriting.

But on to my impressions.

I like how he conveys his characters, how minimally. Unlike my beloved Alice Munro--who outlines her characters in innumerable gentle, only just discernible strokes yet leaves one fully possessed of each character's nature and history, or all one needs of it--Bradbury makes a few large strokes, creates a bold outline, but gives hardly anything else. And yet his characters still feel alive (I think). Like Munro, he provides his readers with just enough to give the story life--a balancing trick that at least theoretically baffles my novice hand.

But the kind of information they each give offer their readers and the means of conveyance differ. How, though? Hm, I've too little data to know yet. Both bring their characters and their stories to life in what strikes me as such obviously different ways, but I've read too little of Bradbury to make any definitive comparisons or claims.

My guess so far: He makes his characters' motivations clearer than Munro does. As in, his protagonists' goals may be more explicit or easily inferred. That's not a bad thing; in theory that gives his stories obvious drive, energy; his characters are more immediately accessible. If so, then perhaps Munro needs that more "fleshed out" approach, if we can call it that, to help imply her characters' motivations; readers have to infer--among other things--her characters' motivations, so they need more material, more premises, from which to make their inferences. Where the materials Bradbury provides are bold but sparse, Munro's are secretive though plentiful.

Well, that's a neat hypothesis. Good explanatory power, even almost falsifiable....hm. It could of course be coincidence or explainable some other way. Thankfully, I have another 96 stories from Bradbury to read, enjoy, and study.

Comments

Other things that might interest you...

This moment: A tattoo.

So I read Mrs. Dalloway in high school, and it was perhaps the most beautiful thing I'd ever read. One passage in particular, very early in the book, hit me hard with my first experience of the sublime, and stayed with me—and led at last to my first tattoo.
In people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June.  (Emphasis added; full paragraph included below. From the full text of the novel as made available by the University of Adelaide.)

The paragraph this is from, the 4th paragraph of the novel, is the 1st passage with the stream of consciousness the book is famous for; although self-limited here, the flow is no less gorgeous. In the passage, Clarissa is walking on a street to get those famous flowers herse…

Losing Doolittle.

I recently got to spend a few days at the lake house my family used to visit through most of my childhood; we no longer own it, and it turns out I missed it more deeply than I realized.

Anthony and I both got the week before NYC Pride off this year, so I contrived to get us a little time there. The cousins who own Greenshore gave Anthony and me permission to relax there for several days rather than just the 1 or 2 I had expected. Good god, I'm grateful for that.

I missed this place. Standing on the balcony, the porch, or the dock and looking out over the lake, I was reminded of the beauty and tranquility this lake represents for me. The meaning and memories, too.

This was always a place of solace and stability for me. We moved around a lot when I was a kid, but we always came back to this place. It had been in our family for generations before I was even born—if we'd been able to keep it, it would have been a solid 4 generations including mine. This was where I figured out I w…

Gardenzia carnivorus.

I recently got back into horticulture after a bad moment of burnout, and wouldn't ya know it, I'm back at it with carnivorous plants! Despite tweeting about it endlessly, I haven't actually explained how or why this started.

Back in middle school, I helped my science teacher set up a carnivorous plant display. Nothing elaborate, mind you; a terrarium with a bunch of sphagnum moss and some pitcher plants, a sundew or two, maybe a Venus flytrap? Didn't leave much of an impression, except maybe that they died and that sucked. shrug.
A couple years later, I was in a bog near my grandmother's lake house, when things changed forever. I was in the back end of the canoe, and as my dad pulled the front end out of the water, I glanced to my right and spied, on a stump with some moss, sundews (Drosera rotundifolia, to be precise).
Of course I recognized therm instantly—they're hard to mistake, with those the sparkling tentacles and all. I gathered 3 or so of them (I know