A Letter from Ray Bradbury
Last week I wrote about Ray Bradbury’s book of short stories, The Martian Chronicles. What I didn’t mention was the time I almost met him.
The meeting fell through, but in the process I received a treasured letter and good wishes from one of our greatest storytellers. Here is part of the letter I wrote to him.
Dear Mr. Bradbury:
Nine years ago, three teenaged boys edged their way to the front door of your house and, wide-eyed, knocked. Your wife answered and told them you were not in, but if they would leave a name and number, you'd call them. And you did! You invited them to your office, and you talked with them about rockets and dreams and books and writing.
But only two of the boys went. I was the third. I had just started my first job, and my overactive conscience wouldn't allow me to call in sick and seize the day for myself. So I had to be satisfied with listening to my friends’ excited accounts of the afternoon’s amazing events. I’ve always regretted not meeting you that day, because I am a devoted Ray Bradbury admirer....
Here is Ray Bradbury’s very generous response, shown on the left.
Dear Ronald Kidd:
Thanks for your good letter, and the memory of a bunch of boys in another time.
It’s good to make contact, indirectly, again... but your letter arrives while I am finishing a new play, a new book, a new screenplay.
I won’t have time until January to do much outside my present schedule. Could you drop me a note again, then, to see if I’m half-sane?
No promises. I may well be in Spain by then. THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES opens on-stage there in January or February. LEVIATHAN 99, another play of mine, opens in Paris around the same time. So Ahab may be completely mad by February 1.
There goes the White Whale. I must follow.
Yours with thanks until the New Year,