By Kiki Keane
I have finally finished a book! I don’t know what’s been wrong with me the last several months. I used to be able to go weeks without turning on the TV and now channel surfing is the first thing I do upon waking. Taking the TV out of my bedroom hasn’t helped because of this new fangled thing called a computer, which has access to this other new fangled call the internet, which has all kinds of things to help you waste your time. Also, the computer has this awesome little device that allows you to watch DVDs. I am torn between loving technology and the ease with which it allows you to access information and hating because it is so distracting and has made the world so…fast. We know so many things and yet have no time to actually learn. I mean I would probably do pretty good on a current events quiz (as long as it had nothing to do with celebrities). I do watch and read a lot news. But does knowing equal learning? Also, I haven’t learned any of things I set out learn six months ago. Six years ago I was translating a chapter of the Odyssey after only studying Greek for a year (one hour three times a week for two semesters). Given that I could do that, shouldn’t I be farther along in Arabic than “a blue chair”? Yes! And why am I not? Because I can’t look away from the screen. Not the TV screen. Not the computer screen. And not the smartphone screen.
Okay. I’m done with my diatribe and self-loathing now.
On to the news.
Alright, I know that many important things have gone on in the world today: Another massacre in Syria, Russian lawmakers backing $9K fines for protesters, more protesting in Egypt, the anniversary of D-Day, etc. And these stories are important and should be acknowledged, studied and passed on. But for me, the news of Ray Bradbury’s passing is the one that I am most drawn to and the one that has occupied my thoughts the most today. Bradbury is the only writer that has ever, really, truly scared the s*** out of me. I still have nightmares twenty years after reading The Illustrated Man, which had the particularly disturbing story called The Veldt. More than that, though, Bradbury gave me one of the two mantras I live by: “You can’t try to do things; you simply must do them.” I say it whenever I go into a new situation. I used to think the implication was that you had to succeed at what you did. And maybe that was what Bradbury meant. But I choose to interpret it this way: You can’t try, you must do, but that doesn’t mean that you will succeed in what you do. The doing is the success.
I will leave you with this link to a nice bit that Neil Gaiman wrote about Bradbury.