Thursday, June 07, 2012

Ray Bradbury

I see Ray Bradbury has died at the age of 91.

I have had a curious love-hate relationship with Ray Bradbury since 3rd year at high school.

I was a late starter really in English - never really enjoying the subject until high school. I was just coming around to it in 3rd year, despite a rather fierce 6 foot tall English teacher who frightened me half to death. She was the much-feared Mrs Findlay, I can still hear her today yelling at us "That's Findlay with a 'D'!" As if we'd ever forget! She was a great hater of nail varnish and I remember the girls, and sometimes even the boys daring each other to come in wearing paler shades in an attempt to get through a whole 40 minute period without being dragged physically into her cupboard to have it removed with the nail varnish remover she kept in there!

Anyway, enough about Mrs Findlay's hatred of nail varnish, and back to Ray Bradbury... We had been asked to write a short essay on a subject of our choice. I wrote mine, re-wrote it and was feeling very pleased with myself. I thought I had finally got the hang of essay-writing. I handed it in and waited smugly for a nice fat 'A' on the paper when it was returned. A week later she threw it at me and spat 'I've given this a zero because I refuse to mark plagiarized work!'  I hadn't the foggiest idea what she was talking about. I wanted to cry. What have I plagiarized? I asked. This is almost a verbatim copy of Ray Bradbury's Pedestrian and well you know it girl! she accused. I had never heard of Ray Bradbury! I had never read the Pedestrian and I felt aggrieved that she was accusing me. I felt it was somehow Ray Bradbury's fault for stealing my idea and causing me public humiliation and I couldn't quite work out who I hated more - Ray Bradbury or Mrs Findlay!

Anyway, I should probably finally give up the grudge and allow myself to read The Pedestrian at long last!

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