Bradbury country

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THE RAY BRADBURY THEATER 1.01: “Marionettes, Inc.” (1985).

SEPTEMBER 10th 2018 — What is Bradbury country? It’s a place where the magic of life and childhood are still possible. Where the elements and outwardly simple, primal sensory experiences can still get to you. The night means something, and the wind, and all the repeated rituals of life.

The first image and sound of the first episode of THE RAY BRADBURY THEATER after Mr. Bradbury’s introduction:

Boiling eggs, closely followed by brewing coffee and toasting toast. I can’t begin to say how refreshing it was to me to see and hear these things. I could taste and smell the eggs, the coffee, the toast.

I was reminded of the good things in life, the things we would miss most if we were shot out into space, never to return.

Where in our filmed fiction these days do we even see or hear these things anymore? And when we do, nearly always they are no more than halfhearted daubs of color to lend the thinnest surface gloss to a story without real human warmth.

In Bradbury and other fiction I can love, these things are primal, self-sufficient experiences that need no other justification. They may serve some story functions, but that’s not really why they’re there. They’re there because in these things our love of life finds expression. We share.

But that’s already getting too far into analysis. Better to just experience and savor when we can.

Why am I so preoccupied with what I call human warmth? And why the same with thoughts concerning childhood?

The questions are nonsensical to me, because I cannot imagine a human being I could love or even like who cared nothing for human warmth, and no artist or kind person worth much of our time has lost touch with or stopped caring about childhood — their own, and that of others.

And a person with a reasonably healthy and developed mind who did not concern himself or herself at all with thoughts and hopes of making the world a better one for children to grow up in could perhaps be called something of a monster.

When I came to Iceland again, one day I was alone pushing a cart in a supermarket,  feeling sad for reasons I won’t even try to put into words — and remembering the amazing scenes with Sarah Palmer at a grocery store in the TWIN PEAKS Season 3 trailer and episodes — and suddenly I heard a child’s voice that made my eyes sting.

It was so clear from that voice that this child was growing up in a caring family, in a world that is largely safe and where real childhood is still possible.

I had not heard that anywhere since my own childhood. Not in Finland and not in Paris.

It is a quality that I see and hear here, in passing, all the time. But I don’t remember it from Finland since I was a kid myself.

And like I’ve said, I believe there can be no greater gift you can give in this life than giving a child a safe, happy, good childhood and start in life.

We are here now — but one day we won’t be. We have to care and do what we can.

Sometimes I have days or nights when I feel I am on the very edge of the cliff. In my life, in better days, and on better nights, I have been lucky enough to be the recipient of great human warmth in many forms.

Words, deeds, from people very close and from people very far and even personally unknown to me. They all found some ways to pour some of their warmth out into this world, to pass it forward, and to give some of it to others.

When I feel on the edge of that cliff, I must remind myself that even if a wind were to gust up and blow me over that edge, I should try to turn around and hurl as much of my warmth back into the world as I can, even in that last moment — like a wizard casting their life energy as a final message and protection and strength over those with life still ahead of them.

I am not a wizard, but I care. Whether in art or daily life, if we find ways to do that, we are helping.

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