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Moments of Transcendent Joy

I have a lot to report on regarding Mythcon and Comicon - but there are some happenings which are special enough they require their own post separate from everything else.

My Keynote Address at Mythcon was about my belief that one's life and work should be about finding - and seizing - those rare moments of Transcendent Joy that cross our paths. Some people have them all the time. I'm getting better at looking for them. And at Comicon, there was one such moment that surpassed all the rest.

I'd agreed to do a signing at Comicon for one of my favorite galleries, Every Picture Tells A Story. About an hour into the signing, the owner, Lee, came over to where I was sitting with the other authors and told me someone wanted to buy my book. I responded with a puzzled look (because that was, after all, why I was sitting in his booth), and he smiled and pointed to the other end of their floorspace.

"It's Ray Bradbury."

I jumped out of my chair and flew over to him. "Ray!" I said. "It's James Owen!"

He took my hand (with his left) and shook it. "But you do comics!"

(I've sent him copies of STARCHILD for years - to which he always responded with a counter-gift of his latest book.)

"Now I'm doing books, too!" I told him.

"It's a beautiful book!" Ray told me. "I want to buy it! Right now!"

"I have one for you," I said, and hopped back to my chair where I had a copy with a dragon drawing already done. I signed it to "Uncle Ray", and handed it to him.

"It's such a beautiful book," he said again. "Your drawings are wonderful! I can't wait to read it!"

"I hope you like it," I told him. "You're one of the reasons it exists. Thank you for the inspiration. Do you think we could get a picture together?"

"Absolutely, my boy!" he said. "I'm very proud of you! Such a beautiful book!"

I knelt next to him and he threw his arm around my shoulder and hugged me. I'm pretty sure I floated back over to my table.

My first exposure to Ray's work was the book S IS FOR SPACE, in the school library that's not 100 yards from where I'm sitting right this moment. Sending him my work was a way of paying him tribute - but his seeing and wanting to buy mine is the fulfillment of a ten-year-old boy's fondest dreams.

Thank you, Uncle Ray.


( 77 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 28th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
Wow. Just... several kinds of wow. You GO.
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)
If nothing else had happened that week, that would have made the trip worth it.
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
That is awesome. xo
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
You stole the words right out of my keyboard.
(no subject) - ohhjuliet - Jul. 28th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - coppervale - Jul. 28th, 2009 06:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
There aren't many that can make me go totally fanboy, but he's one of them. That was totally awesome.
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm usually pretty cool and collected when I meet people I admire. But this was on a scale all its own.
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
what a magical experience. My eyes are all misty just from reading it =D
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
Sending him my work was a way of paying him tribute - but his seeing and wanting to buy mine is the fulfillment of a ten-year-old boy's fondest dreams.
Eeee! I'm all misty. That's great.

<3 Uncle Ray.
Jul. 28th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
That paperback version is still one of my favorite books.
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
Mine too! These pictures are awesome.
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
Transcendent joy doesn't even begin to say how wonderful that is.
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
I agree. You should have seen me just after. I could hardly keep my composure - I just wanted to smile and tear up with happiness.
(no subject) - lynn_maudlin - Jul. 28th, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
That is so awesome! Ray was so great to me and the rest of the cast when we recorded Something Wicked and Halloween Tree. he is so kind and not pretentious at all.

Rather like a certain author of Dragon books I know ;)
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Hooray!
You're one of the folks I was thinking of who would totally understand why this meant so much to me.

And thank you.
Re: Hooray! - godswraith - Jul. 28th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
That is AWESOME.
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
Oh wow. That's beautiful.

*waves* I followed you over from realthog's blog. Hallooo!
Jul. 28th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
Halloo back! realthog is one of Britain's finest sons, and we're lucky to have him.
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
That is so wonderful!
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 28th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
Yep. Five minutes worth of discussion with Ray just rendered every bad review my books will ever get totally irrelevant (to me).

This was the opinion that mattered.
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC)
Aww, that's so awesome! Congrats!
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
Incredible. Transcendent. Amazing. What a day. You go, man.
Jul. 28th, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
It doesn't get any better than THAT, does it?
It must have been an indescribably emotional moment. The account was moving and exciting... I can't imagine the actual event! Hey, Ray Bradbury buying your book... that's HUGE! Really, I'm happy for you!

By the way, continuing through the list I've created out of your characters and mentioned authors here in the blog, I finally made it to Bradbury. I read Martian Chronicles and found it exceptional. I was particularly impressed by Usher II, because it was so unexpected for sci-fi. Now I'm 60 pages away from finishing 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which is absolutely amazing as well. I cannot wait to read more about the Yellow Dragon!
Jul. 28th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
Re: It doesn't get any better than THAT, does it?
Martian Chronicles is one of my personal 'Desert Island' books.
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( 77 comments — Leave a comment )