This post, by Neil Gaiman, originally appeared on The Guardian UK on 6/6/12.
Fantasy writer Neil Gaiman remembers his friend Ray Bradbury who has died at the age of 91
Yesterday afternoon I was in a studio recording an audiobook version of short story I had written for Ray Bradbury‘s 90th birthday. It’s a monologue called The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury, and was a way of talking about the impact that Ray Bradbury had on me as a boy, and as an adult, and, as far as I could, about what he had done to the world. And I wrote it last year as a love letter and as a thank you and as a birthday present for an author who made me dream, taught me about words and what they could accomplish, and who never let me down as a reader or as a person as I grew up.
Last week, at dinner, a friend told me that when he was a boy of 11 or 12 he met Ray Bradbury. When Bradbury found out that he wanted to be a writer, he invited him to his office and spent half a day telling him the important stuff: if you want to be a writer, you have to write. Every day. Whether you feel like it or not. That you can’t write one book and stop. That it’s work, but the best kind of work. My friend grew up to be a writer, the kind who writes and supports himself through writing.
Ray Bradbury was the kind of person who would give half a day to a kid who wanted to be a writer when he grew up.
I encountered Ray Bradbury’s stories as a boy. The first one I read was Homecoming, about a human child in a world of Addams Family-style monsters, who wanted to fit in. It was the first time anyone had ever written a story that spoke to me personally. There was a copy of The Silver Locusts (the UK title of The Martian Chronicles) knocking about my house. I read it, loved it, and bought all the Bradbury books I could from the travelling bookshop that set up once a term in my school. I learned about Poe from Bradbury. There was poetry in the short stories, and it didn’t matter that I was missing so much as a boy: what I took from the stories was enough.