“Jump off a cliff and build your wings on the way down”.
There is a particular moment when your feet leave the cliff and gravity takes over. No more looking back, no more second thoughts, there is only one direction to go. It is at such moments that angels are born. It is in such inevitable moments we discover our own wings.
That is the sort of life that Ray Bradbury lived, building wings for himself, and us, as he went. He chose to define himself not by his successes but rather by his ability to transcend difficulty with an undiminished capacity to constantly fall in love as inevitably as if it was the force of gravity itself.
I have filmed some cool things in my time, but my favorite all time shoot, the one I was most nervous about and the one that I look back on most fondly, was taking part in filming Ray Bradbury in 2009 at a library dedication. It was a simple thing and yet I was filming a myth, a creature as rare and wonderful as anything I had read in one of his books. The man with wings himself.
Looking back at the interview today, which I have not seen since that time, I recognize how much of what Ray talked about resonates with the way I view the world today. He spoke that day of love, of letting go of our fears, of embracing all the things in the world that are here for us if only we will love.
He stated quite clearly that he was a man driven by such love. Love fueled his art, his relationships, his very essence for every decade since he was twelve and a carnival magician pointed his electrified sword at his temple and told him that he would someday be… immortal.
How true. Some things like fine wine get only better with age. Ray found the elixer of life. He found that love is not an intangible idea but rather a hearty tool that can be projected into the world like David’s sling at Goliath, able to fell any fearful giant with merely the touch of a typewriter and the power of a human heart.
Ray Brabury was a modern mystic, and below we captured one of his final speeches to the world, full of gentle humor, candor and great love.
I love you Ray, and I like so many others wish you God’s speed and a safe journey. May your typewriter be oiled and your seat cushion warmed and ready for your next chapter even as we re-read the last in the video below.