Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Bradbury Shelf, Part 1

When I first started getting serious about writing back in the eighties, there was a weekly cable series called The Ray Bradbury Theater. Each episode would begin with the grand old writer riding that wonderfully ornate elevator in L.A.'s Bradbury Building. He'd enter his office (a.k.a. "my magician's toyshop"), which looked just like the kind of place Mr. B would cook up his stories. I can still see him sitting there in his horn-rims, peering around the room, looking for inspiration as the camera caught a dozen little details amid the glorious clutter -- rubber dinosaurs, an authentic Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, rocket models (and Captain Nemo's Nautilus!), old movie stills, a little Abraham Lincoln doll, bottles of Mr. Dark's Elixir, and even what looked like (gasp!) a first-generation Mr. Coffee coffeemaker -- while Bradbury's voice crackled, "What shall it be...out of all this...what do I choose to make the story?"

Of course, I'm sure that jammed little suite of rooms was mostly the dream of a set-designer. I don't think Bradbury had an office in the Bradbury building. But I don't doubt that his office was at least a little bit like the one we saw in those opening credits. I hope so, anyway.

I've tried to do a little bit of that in my own office. I've got a few "Bradbury Shelves" -- that's what I like to call them, anyway. They're little collections of things that have inspired me along the way and inspire me still. A couple touchstones jammed in there, too...and a couple memories. Here's a look at one of the shelves:

I'll be back tomorrow with a little more detail about some of the contents. Until then, have fun looking around....