Bradbury, and Kitty Steals the Show: Chapter 1
June 6, 2012
I was going to make this a self-promotion day, but then the first thing the internet told me was that Ray Bradbury passed away last night. I knew the next time I saw a headline about him it would be this, and it has made me sad. I thought about delaying announcing that I’ve posted Kitty Steals the Show’s first chapter, out of respect. Then I thought that Bradbury would be quite upset that I had delayed talking about my own writing on his account.
So here it is, the first chapter of Kitty Steals the Show, which is due out July 31.
I saw him speak several times. The first was at the Air Force Academy, where he was presented with the falcon statue that the Academy frequently presents to guests, and he said, “I’ll paint it black and make my own version of The Maltese Falcon,” which I imagine scandalized the uniformed officials there. He also said, when asked how he got his first story published, “I didn’t publish my first story, I published my ninety-first story!” Which for teenage me, who was starting to collect her first rejection slips, was good to hear.
The second time, I was able to get him to sign a copy of Zen in the Art of Writing, which can be a vaguely maddening book since much of his advice boils down to, Just Do It.
I’m one of those writers who cites Bradbury as a major early influence. I already loved him as a reader, for The October Country and The Illustrated Man and Something Wicked This Way Comes and all the rest. But it wasn’t necessarily his take on that fantastic that influenced me. It was his words. The way he could make me smell a new a pair of sneakers in Dandelion Wine, or feel the thing in the jar as a horror in my gut. He made me realize that individual words that have power, and you’d better use them well if you expect your writing to make an impact.
Time to go read some books, I think.