Legendary American author Ray Bradbury died June 5, 2012, at the age of 91. Back in 2000 he was the featured speaker in Minnetonka at the Pen Pals Lecture Series. He spoke about the greatest influences on his life and career of more than seven decades, and gave this insightful and entertaining speech apparently without notes.
In 2005, Bradbury published a book of essays titled Bradbury Speaks, in which he wrote:
In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back. Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I’ve worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior.
He was an artist who wrote to please himself; it turned out that millions of other people shared his taste in fiction.
How did he get started on this path?
Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, Live forever! Bradbury later said, I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped.