Monday, April 26, 2010

corresponding with a legend. part 2.

ray bradbury's agent, don congdon, died in december.  mr. congdon was aged, but not quite as old as mr. bradbury.  

"they're starting to kick off," i muttered to myself when i discovered the news article, "i better hurry up and wrap this paper up."

so i mailed mr. bradbury another letter humbly asking him for an answer to my question. i also mailed one to michael congdon, don congdon's son, who has taken over his agency.

i knew it was a long shot, but i did it anyway.  after all, tenacity is something that eventually pays off, right?

i still haven't heard anything from mr. congdon.  i assume that my letter was opened by some assistant and put into file thirteen.  who knows?

having dealt directly with mr. bradbury before, i was looking forward to checking the mail that week, expecting a package full of joy.  

i wasn't disappointed.

in addition to my letter, i sent him my 1967 edition of fahrenheit 451 and a request that he sign it for me.

boy did he.  he even drew one of his famous little face sketches.  
see that?  that first word is "brandi".  that's my name.  then "love ray bradbury", the face sketch, and "4/4/10". glee does not even begin to express...

and he signed a little memento on fahrenheit 451 from the national endowment for the arts: 
i could smell the fresh sharpie ink when i opened the package.  i think i may have swooned from delight.

while he didn't answer my question (i mean seriously, the man is in his nineties and not in the best health), i again have communicated in some small way with a hero.  and that's just cool.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

compounding interest

this post’s title has absolutely nothing to do with content. i just like the title.

(sidenote: i’ve always had a thing for a good title. for instance, one of my most influential lit profs in college was obsessed with the title “affairs of state” and all of the wonderful double-entendre-ness of it when discussing early modern english monarchies. thinking of that title still inspires me. and makes me giggle.)

this year has been tough. my family can’t seem to catch a break and it’s beginning to wear on me. that wearing is demonstrating itself through a general lack on contentment with everything. nothing is enough fun right now. nothing is beautiful enough right now. nothing is good and i am unsettled.

a few weeks ago i started thinking about zest. lemon zest, to be exact. (i was making a pie). while wrist deep in dough, it occurred to me that people are a lot like lemons (or limes, or oranges, or any other citrus fruit). we have thick skins that keep the bad things out (most of the time) and are juicy and interesting inside. but the real heart and soul of a person—the part that makes them who they truly are—is their zest. it adds flavor and complexity to their life. without it, they are dull, lacking that little something that makes them complete.

i’ve been zestless for awhile now.

the parts of me that make me feel whole have fallen away, leaving nothing but bitter pith.

it’s as if all the time and energy i’ve expended in the last few months dealing with hardship have only acted as a microplane, slowly grating away my flavor.

i decided then and there that i’m tired of being zestless. i want flavor. i want spice. i want to be the person i think i once was. so i’ve been trying to enjoy more things—to see the fun, beauty, and goodness. and i think it’s working. i’ve had more fun, despite the bad, in the past few weeks than i’ve had in quite awhile.

of course, like all good things in life, i will have to keep trying.

i don’t want to be zestless forever.