Back in June - ironically enough, just before modern American literature icon Ray Bradbury passed - I resolved to enforce in my daily reading life what, also ironically, could be considered the "Bradbury Daily Plan." He proposed that a writer should, every day, read a short story, a poem, and an essay.
I decided to make that my daily reading diet, with some tweaks, because of course I'm also always reading two novels at once, one in the morning, and one at night, so I added to that (and keep in mind, I'm an English teacher with the summer off):
- a poem in the morning at breakfast; a poem at night before bed (currently, Robert Frost in the morning, William Blake at night)
- a chapter of non fiction in the morning (currently, C. S. Lewis)
- a short story before I writing in the morning
- several short stories in the afternoon, specifically horror anthologies
- and, at the very LEAST: one Bradbury short story every day, and if I could fit in more than one, more power to me
Last night, I read the last Ray Bradbury short story I own, in his 100 Most Celebrated Tales - "All In a Summer's Night." A perfect story to end a perfect summer of reading, in memory of Ray Bradbury. What's astounding, of course, is knowing there are SO many other short stories of his out there.
I'll probably hold off, though, on reading any more Bradbury stories until next summer. For me, after this summer...reading Ray Bradbury short stories will always be a summer endeavor, as it should be. Besides, with school starting up, I'll soon be teaching Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine and The Halloween Tree. More than enough Bradbury to keep me happy for awhile.
It's been a dizzying summer, intellectually. Between the daily Bradbury challenge, horror anthologies by Charles Grant, Karl Edward Wagner, J. N. Williamson, nonfiction from Stephen King, C. S. Lewis, Noel Carroll, gothic novels and literary collections like Winesburg, Ohio and the current James T. Farrell's and others...add in the novels and novellas I've read...and my head is spinning. In all the right ways. And I can tell you, though I don't intend on writing short stories any faster than I am now, (I still plan on writing slowly and carefully) there are so many more ideas, now. So many more.
I'm not going to recount ALL the short stories I've read this summer. That would be tooting my own horn a bit much. But, here's the result of my summer "Bradbury Challenge":
4 collections total:
The October Country
The Martian Chronicles
The Illustrated Man
The Golden Apples of the Sun
Bradbury Stories: 100 Most Celebrated Tales
For a total of: 197 short stories
There are still so many other Bradbury stories to read. But those will have to wait until next summer. Because that's how I want to remember him, as drowsing slow and easy in the cool but soon to be roasting early mornings, basking in the blazing glow of an eternal summer sun...