I cannot explain love that is a mix of admiration, adoration and astonishment. Neither can I talk of knowing as a supplement of love since I have never met Ray Bradbury. He’s old and going blind but he has an incredible spirit which I feel inclined to tell you about since it rouses me sometimes. In the murky depths of sleep I am sometimes summoned awake by the Foghorn. Its sound is so piercing that I’m often left staring at the ceiling for many hours until dawn decides it’s time to work. Who knows why this happens? Perhaps there was something in the writing or in the stories themselves that made me more human–more attuned to the rhythms of daily life and more in touch with my own voice. It was Bradbury who taught me presence in a way most gurus could not. He introduced color and texture into my life after he had taken notes from his own life and drawn them out in pages and pages of fantastic stories. His experiences were not unlike ours. In fact, he might have lived a slightly more boring life compared to explorers or vagabonds out there who make adventure a lifestyle and yet, I am more taken by his words than by theirs. He is lightning personified–a quiet presence deeply felt and while seemingly clouded by the thunderous response to his writing which cast him up as a famous writer, he is still very much the light more than the roaring sound.
In most cases the people I look up to let me down which is why I am careful about keeping idols and following mentors. Only few have proven themselves worthy of the title and there is nothing more painful than looking upon someone with deep respect and admiration only to have them reveal that it is all an act–a tedious script involving smoke and mirrors that reveal nothing of a person’s truth. I am afraid of this because I also know how powerful great teachers can be at influencing my own actions. The deeper the reverence the more difficult it is to be objective and as in love, I’ve fallen for these idols so many times that the altar on which I’ve placed them has been chipped and broken in many places.
Yet, careful as I might be with mentors, some just happen to etch a deep inexplicable yearning in me…it’s midnight in the city and I’m awake thinking about an old man who resides way past the tropics and is being wizened by age but who refuses to give in because he knows (he’s always known!) that to live is forever and forever is a long time. I don’t know if he gets lonely, he probably does. I just hope somehow that my longing and my deep affection for him might warm his nights and ease his pain.
I also have to write this all down every now and then because I know that when life does cease in him, a big part of me will die.