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The Green Morning Edition

Last spring, we added a brood of chickens to our family. We decided that officially made our property a farm and started brainstorming names. I hadn’t officially heard back on my internship placement at the Bradbury Center yet, but was hopeful, and had been rereading The Martian Chronicles in anticipation. I suggested we name our farm for one of my favorite Martian Chronicles stories, and my partner, who had just finished the collection for the first time, agreed. Now we call our little piece of forested valley Green Morning Farm.

What does Ray Bradbury, who spent decades exploring Mars and other extraterrestrial destinations in his mind and on paper, have to do with Earth Day? 

In April 2020, Amy Brady wrote in Catapult magazine about how Bradbury’s fiction, especially The Martian Chronicles, makes the impact humans have on environments visible. In her column, Brady highlights evidence of Bradbury’s critiques of unchecked capitalism and its disastrous effects on the environment and already vulnerable communities. This is an apparent theme in stories such as “–and the Moon Be Still as Bright,” “The Locusts,” and “The Naming of Names,” but I’m not sure Bradbury would agree his stories were outright critiques as much as thoughtful examinations of the human condition. 

An article on JSTOR Daily by Franco Laguna Correa written in January 2020, shortly before Brady’s column, highlights something important that I think Brady overlooked. Laguna Correa pointed out that in his fiction, Bradbury often oscillates between imagining dystopic and utopian futures. This is true even in The Martian Chronicles, where the gorgeous story “The Green Morning” provides a more hopeful answer to the question Laguna Correa imagines Bradbury asking us today: “what role will you play, when my future comes crashing into your present?” 

In “The Green Morning,” Benjamin Driscoll refuses to leave Mars when he’s told his lungs aren’t strong enough for survival in the thin air. Instead, he dedicates himself to planting trees across the barren landscape. But when rain doesn’t come in thirty days, he worries his efforts have been in vain. Finally, two brief hours of rain arrive overnight, and full-grown trees shoot up from the mysterious old soil. Driscoll wakes to a green morning and a current of fresh, cold air, to be enjoyed by everyone. 

“The Green Morning” might be little more than a whisper of hope amongst Bradbury’s dire warnings about humans’ impact on the environment. But it’s one I want to hold onto, which is why it seemed an appropriate name for our family farm. Even in the face of uncertainty, we can persevere, and plant seeds with the hope that when rain finally comes, the fruits will be beautiful beyond our wildest imaginings.

By Sarah Whaley 

“The Green Morning” by Joseph Mugnaini, from the portfolio “Ten Views of the Moon,” authored by Ray Bradbury (image from The Annex Galleries)
Upcoming Bradbury Community Events 
Join us this month on April 28th for another Feed Your Imagination Monthly book club! This month we will be reading “And the Moon Be Still As Bright” from The Martian Chronicles. Click here to register now and go to our FB page for more info!
 
Golden Apple Picks
This month’s Golden Apple Picks were plucked from our incredibly talented volunteer, Max Goller. Max spent 20 years in the US Navy, retiring in 2001. He then transitioned to public school teaching, spending 16 years in the Hamilton Southeastern School District in Fishers, IN and retiring again in 2019. He also worked as the former Director of Education at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library in Indianapolis. As a former English teacher, he is very pleased to be promoting another great literary figure. 

READ

Jerusalem by Alan Moore

Alan Moore defined graphic novel writing for decades through titles such as Swamp Thing, Watchmen and V for Vendetta. Most notable is Jerusalem, a tome of nearly 1300 pages that was conceived as a trilogy but released as a single volume in 2016. Uniquely, according to NPR reviewer Jason Sheehan “Northampton known as the Boroughs (conveniently, also Moore's home) is the only character in Jerusalem that actually matters.” To fully appreciate all that Jerusalem has to offer, I extend the advice my son wrote in his copy of the book he gave me. "Remember to read slowly and accurately. One to two pages read carefully annotated and journaled is as good as twenty pages skimmed.”
 

WATCH

American Gods on Starz

In a tribute to Bradbury, Neil Gaiman wrote, “Long before I was a writer, Bradbury was one of the writers that other writers aspired to become. And none of them ever did. Both Bradbury and Gaiman celebrated the importance of public libraries, the freedom to read and wrote prolifically in multiple genres and styles. When my child’s school pulled the American God’s book from the honors summer reading list, it offered a strong father-child bonding opportunity that carried into the television release. I recommend “The Secret of Spoons” in S1 EP2. Mr. Nancy’s monologue on America and race is a moving example of the powerful writing present throughout the series. 

LISTEN

Devil is Fine by Zeal and Ardor

Beginning at the beginning, Devil is Fine is a uniquely magnificent debut album. Conceived after a 4Chan request for musical genres to mashup, bandleader Manuel Gagneux fused black metal and African-American spirituals with a twist. As Lucien Greves, founder of The Satanic Temple wrote in his endorsement of the album, “If I understand correctly, the notion behind their latest album is historical: what if American slaves had embraced Satan instead of Jesus?” The answer to that question is a damned fine listen!

 

Fun Facts From the Archives
The first time I read The Martian Chronicles, one story stood out in particular. “Night Meeting” is a story about a human, Tomas, and a Martian passing each other on a highway – but they are also passing each other in time. Both able to see their own destination clearly, but their counterparts’ destination in ruins.

Before they meet, however, Tomas receives some advice from the station clerk telling him he needs to “take Mars for what she is” and that it is like a kaleidoscope. Tomas experiences this with his Martian companion, both from different times. When trying to decide who’s timeline is the correct one, they decide it does not matter who is now or who is then. They choose to see each other as they are and accept it. They aren’t so different after all, both young and on their way to respective parties.

In 2015, The Folio Society London published this illustrated edition of The Martian Chronicles. The illustrations are by Mick Brownfield. Seen below is the illustration for “Night Meeting.”

By Kylie Adkins
Folio Society London 2015 edition of the Martian Chronicles with illustrations by Mick Brownfield. 
Bradburyisms

“And the lesson was this; sit in the sun, head down, within a prickly vine, in a flickery light, or open light, and the world will come to you. The sky will come in its time, bringing rain, and the earth will rise through you, from beneath, and make you rich and make you full” - Ray Bradbury, Summer Morning, Summer Night

Sometimes it feels like the only way to discuss the world on a planetary scale is through fiction. Fiction stories printed on pulpy paper, for which Bradbury was paid by the word at a penny and a half. 

Bradbury always seemed to grasp the importance of taking care of our planet, and also having no doubt that if we traveled to some other far off planet or universe, we’d probably ruin that too.

“We Earth Men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things. The only reason we didn't set up hot-dog stands in the midst of the Egyptian temple of Karnak is because it was out of the way and served no large commercial purpose.”

So perhaps on this beautiful Earth Day of 2022, we should take a literal page out of Ray Bradbury’s book. Let us sit in the sun. Let us look at the sky. Let us feel the rain. Let the earth rise up and swaddle us in light. And for the love of god, nobody open a hot dog stand. 

By Jordan Brinker-Saigaonkar

Director’s Note
The Ray Bradbury Center works hard to preserve and advance Ray Bradbury’s legacy. We do this by helping people cultivate their imaginations, foster robust reading lives, and pursue the things they love. But we cannot do this alone. We cannot do it without your support. Your gift means more to us than we can adequately express in just a few short lines. By giving to the Ray Bradbury Center, you become part of the team, part of our work, part of the legacy, and we are beyond grateful. Thank you so much!
 
- Dr. Jason Aukerman, Director
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