"Each person who tries to see beyond his own time must face questions to which there cannot yet be absolute answers," -Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man.
The news of Ray Bradbury's death Wednesday morning forced me to think back to what the author has given me through his writing.
I first became familiar with Bradbury's work not through the ink on the page, but through the movie adaptation of Something Wicked This Way Comes. The chilling, remarkable and telling story of youth, good and evil made me want more.
But it wasn't until middle school that I picked up Fahrenheit 451.
"It was a pleasure to burn."
The book began with such a jolt, as much of Bradbury's work does. And just as they begin, they end with a message, a metaphor of some kind. Bradbury's work leaves readers with a thought.
My favorite parts of Bradbury's work are the messages. The deep meaning of his words seems to be different for every reader. Speak to five people who have read any short story from Bradbury's The Illustrated Man, and most likely you will get five different meanings, all of which are near and dear to the heart of the reader.
Bradbury's work was cautionary, but not in a preacher's voice. His messages were clear and timeless, with room for interpretation and individual meaning.
Above all, Bradbury was one of the greatest writers ever to have lived, in my mind and on my shelves. But I'm never sad when an author dies. Just as a musician lives on through timeless musical notes, Bradbury will live on in the ink on the pages in my worn out and well-loved copies of his work.
"And when he died, I suddenly realized I wasn't crying for him at all, but for all the things he did...He was individual. He was an important man. I've never gotten over his death," -Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451.
To read two of Bradbury's most fascinating Fahrenheit 451 passages about death, visit Slate.com. Also, if you are a fan of cheesy but awesome sci-fi drama, find old tapes or DVD's of "The Ray Bradbury Theater."
This column originally appeared in Marlboro-Colt's Neck Patch.