I have a brand new appreciation for Ray Bradbury and Frank Herbert.
They are two of my favorite authors. Frank Herbert. Dune. Wow. I remember the first time I read it. That paperback ended up with so much tape and rubber bands, it was barely recognizable as a book. Every time I opened it, the yellowed pages floated all over the floor. I’d spend ten minutes inserting them back in. “Ok, this is page 23 and it goes here…page 90, it goes here.” Who doesn’t have a book like that? The funny thing was, no way was I getting a new copy. This one had character. Then I discovered Dune Messiah, then, Children of Dune, and God Emperor of Dune. I stopped with that one. By that time, I was a bit Duned-out. Then, Dune, the movie! I remember I was so excited. Would what I had imagined as the Bene Gesserit and the Fremen be realized on the big screen? Who would play Paul Atreides? It ended up being the most horrible movie I had ever seen. An interpretation of a beloved novel so off base, that I wondered if the writers and producers actually read it. It almost totally ruined Dune for me.
Thankfully, it didn’t. Those stories transported me to other worlds so real, that even now, nearly 36 years later, if I closed my eyes I can still see them.
Then there is Ray Bradbury. I’ve read his novels too. It’s his short stories that I love. My favorite book is a collection of his short stories, R is for Rocket. Even as I write this, my mind goes to the one about how on Venus it rains all day every day and it rains so much that there is no color because of all the rain; everything is just white. White plants, white trees. Rain and white. And there’s Uncle Einar, with his great wings, reduced to flying about at night, with a clothesline attached, drying out the laundry. Oh, and The Sound of Summer Running. Imagine pages and pages written about a boy and his excitement over his new pair of “Cream-Sponge Para Litefoot Shoes.” When I finished reading that one, I wanted to run around the block.
Here I am now, with the NaNoWriMo challenge looking me in the eyeballs. I just spent several hours typing away, writing my novel, with the single goal of reaching a certain number of words.
Writers like Herbert and Bradbury, they just don’t write words they make magic with them.