All I could recall later was Bradbury's child's grin and twinkling eyes looking into mine and his encouraging words. It is this moment I think of now, when I look back, that made me want to be a writer, that made me consider writing as a serious pursuit.
The contest was, of course, small and local, and my competition was limited, but it still meant something to me, more and more as I grew older and continued to write.
It wasn't, however, until much later I would learn to appreciate Bradbury's prose for what it was: pure genius. I have now consumed most of what he's written, read and reread much of it. 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' is one of my favorites and his short stories are incredible! His prose style is complex, rich, and somehow remains endearing and sweet while covering many dark and fantastic subjects.
I have always dreamed of publishing something--a novel, a significant story, something--that Ray Bradbury would eventually read and perhaps even enjoy. That will never happen now, but Bradbury's influence will never leave me. I will always wonder, whatever it is I write, no matter the level of my success, what Mr. Bradbury would think of it. Would he like it? Would he not? And I will always wonder, and his influence will grow with me, making everything I write that much better, and he will live amongst all writers and go on and on...