Or if youre legendary author Ray Bradbury, you get many more. The octogenarian continues to churn out new material for one reason: He simply loves what he does.
WHEN RAY BRADBURY WAS A CHILD, a carnival performer named Mr. Electrico instructed him to live forever. The encounter inspired Bradbury to write, and hes done so seemingly nonstop ever since, penning dozens of novels including Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles and thousands of short stories. Though the celebrated scribe turns 90 later this year, hes showing no signs of slowing down. With three books due for publication in the next 12 months including a reissue of The Stories of Ray Bradbury (Random House, $32), a collection of 100 of Bradburys short stories that were hand-selected by the man himself Bradbury may well live forever through his work.
You released three books in 2009, have two more coming out this year and at least one in 2011. Youll be 90 in a few months. Explain yourself, good sir.
Love is easy, and I love writing. You cant resist love. You get an idea, someone says something, and youre in love. I went to dinner in Denver about 20 years ago and heard the lady at the next table say to her friends, Oh, my God, Ill bet dogs think every day is Christmas. I went up to her and said, Madam, thank you. Youve just given me a title. Im going back to my hotel, and Im going to write a book called Dogs Think That Every Day Is Christmas. Thats how these things happen.
Youve said that we write because we want to be loved.
Thats the best reason, isnt it? Love is the answer to everything. Its the only reason to do anything. If you dont write stories you love, youll never make it. If you dont write stories that other people love, youll never make it. People love The Martian Chronicles. People love Something Wicked This Way Comes. Ive been well loved in this lifetime.
Whats been the key to being so prolific and so well loved as an author for some seven decades now?
Its pure Zen Buddhism: Dont try to do, just do. If you live this life without trying, its good. If you try too hard, it wont be any good. It just has to be done, period like an explosion.
You began writing when you were 12. At what point did you realize, Im pretty good at this?
Right below my graduation picture in my high school yearbook, there are three quotes from me: Likes to write stories. Admired as a thespian. Headed for literary distinction. I hadnt really written one story yet. All of my poetry was nonsense. I graduated high school not realizing I hadnt gone anywhere yet, but thats the quote I gave them about me. I kidded myself into thinking into knowing I would do what I had to do. It was the Great Depression, after all.
You could not afford to go to college, so you instead got your education in the public library.
I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library, and its better than college. People should educate themselves you can get a complete education for no money. At the end of 10 years, I had read every book in the library and Id written a thousand stories. We need to continue making possible these love affairs we have with literature, which makes us better people.
What would you like someone to take from reading your books?
I am a dog who thinks every day is Christmas. If youre going to be with me, youve got to be a dog like me.