No Time to Make Friends or Enemies

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I say it often, that the people I most respect are those that are most alive. I mean, the ones who actually seem to ENJOY being alive, and who make us feel better when they’re around.

Ray Bradbury is one of those people, and I desperately miss him. He and I have never met, but it FEELS like we have, and that feeling came around when I finished his Collected Stories, today’s book in The Bouncer’s Book Club.

Just reading my notes on the book, I’m blown away…again…at how much Ray wants US to live just as intensely as HE did, and as intensely as he wrote.

His stories are filled with such great imagery too. Some examples:

Crowds closing in “like an iris focusing”

“The wheat rippling with moonlight on it, making it into a sea”

“The color fell from her face like light leaving a click-off bulb.”

“Silence opened to let the car pass, and closed swiftly in behind.”

My favorites of all the stories included would have to be “The Rocket Man”, and “Kaleidoscope”, among many others. The whole thing is excellent, jeez.

Just take a look at some of my personal study notes from the book:

Ray wrote Fahrenheit 451 on rented typewriters at the UCLA library, where he had to insert a dime for each half hour of typing time

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“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. You just have to get people to stop reading them.”

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“I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries.”

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“And the blade went on rising, crashing, severing, with the fury and the rage of a man who has lost and has lost so much that he no longer cares what he does to the world.”

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“Timothy looked at the deep ocean sky, trying to see Earth and the war and the ruined cities and the men killing each other since the day he was born. But he saw nothing. The war was as removed and far off as two flies battling to the death in the arch of a great high and silent cathedral. And just as senseless.”

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“Did all dying people feel this way? As if they had never lived?”

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“I like to watch school let out each day. It’s like someone threw a bunch of flowers out the school front doors.”

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“How could friends and enemies come about in this impossible, quick lifetime? There was no time to make either, was there?”

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“We have forgiven each other, dear boy, which is the finest thing that men can do.”

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“Kid, don’t tell us what we should be when you don’t even know what we ARE.”

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“What does it all mean? No other question made sense, with death breathing down our necks.”

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“Gifted with life, the least we can do is preserve and pass on the gift to infinity. That’s a goal worth shooting for.”

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THE WISDOM:

Everything is a distraction. Everything.

Everything that takes you away from what you most want to do with your one and only life is a giant, ignore-able distraction.

Set against the 14 billion years of the Earth’s existence, however many years are allotted to us are, almost literally, NOTHING, and what do we do with them?

We waste them. Constantly. Consistently. Heartwrenchingly.

Since we have so little time, where do we find the time to make enemies? We barely have enough time to make FRIENDS! Do you see how CRAZY that is?

You literally Do Not Have Any Time To Waste.

There is not a single minute in your 24 hours each day that you can afford to lose, yet we ACT as though there are. We act as though we had all the time in the world to spend with the people we love, and the people we enjoy being around, so we delude ourselves into thinking we have the time to make enemies too.

Well, we don’t. If I’ve learned anything from Ray Bradbury, and I’ve learned a lot, it’s that.

All the best,

Matt Karamazov

NOTE: Today’s lesson came from The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury. You can get my notes on this book, as well as my notes on every other book I’ve ever read, by clicking HERE.

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NOTE: Check out the fascinating book discussions we have going on over at The Bouncer’s Book Club on Facebook! Instead of just reading MY writing all the time, you’ll be able to benefit from the wisdom and insights from many other insatiable readers just like you.

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NOTE: Do you want to read more books? I’ve created an online course, Hit the Books!, that will teach you how to read faster, make more time for reading, understand and remember more of what you read, how to choose what to read, and so much more. You can check it out here.

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