The Better Part of Wisdom Edition

Ray Bradbury’s long career as a writer earned him international acclaim, unprecedented for one who cut his creative teeth on the fragile paper of pulp magazines during the first half of the twentieth century.

This child of the Depression, unable to afford college, pursued his postsecondary education as a type of autodidact. He schooled himself on how to develop his literacy by visiting the local public library several times per week and selecting professional Los Angeles based writers such as Leigh Bracket and Henry Kuttner as mentors.

In addition to being mentored by these hands-on volunteer tutors, Ray Bradbury stood on the shoulders of literary giants through his intense library reading sessions.

His strongest influencers include Steinbeck, Hemingway, Shakespeare, Poe, Dickens, Shaw, Welty, Doyle, Whitman, Dickinson, and many authors. He was also influenced from a young age by creative adventure and fantasy story writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ray Cummings, Clark Ashton Smith, his future mentor Edmond Hamilton, and Nelson Bond.

Bradbury internalized the styles of these writers, allowed them to seep into his subconscious, and used his typewriter as a medium to channel his own unique form of storytelling.

Bradbury’s stories depict people from all walks of life, and I think most readers will recognize that even though his perspective may have been limited at times, his goal was always to treat these characters with deep affection and respect, from Hispanic Americans (“The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit”, “I See You Never”), to African Americans (“The Other Foot,” “The Big Black and White Game”), to members of the LGBTQ+ community (“The Better Part of Wisdom,” “The Cold Wind and the Warm”). 

I believe that this is in part why nearly all of Bradbury’s books remain popular today: there seems to be something for everyone in his novels and story collections.

By Dr. Jason Aukerman, Director

Upcoming Bradbury Community Events 
The Ray Bradbury Center will be going live again on Thursday, June 30th for another Feed Your Imagination Monthly Lunchtime Story Club!  

This month’s story will be “A Scent of Sarsaparilla” from A Medicine for Melancholy. Click here to read it online!

And since we’re meeting at noon, feel free to have some lunch or a snack and pour yourself a nice tall glass of sarsaparilla. 

Register now! 
Now through August!

The Ray Bradbury Center is re-opening for tours! We are located on IUPUI's campus in Indianapolis, Indiana.

We’ll be open 11am-2pm every Wednesday. If you wish to come with a group or on another day, please contact us at

To RSVP, pick a time on our Eventbrite page found here!

And if you can't make it in person, check out the Virtual Tour!
Golden Apple Picks
This month’s Golden Apple Picks were plucked from our wonderful friend at the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, Kelly Kerr Cook. Kelly is a writer, indie filmmaker, and the office manager of the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute. She loves Pennywise the Clown, David Bowie, Star Wars, and Speculative Fiction. She graduated a few decades ago from the School of Liberal Arts and still doesn’t know what to be when she grows up.


Feral Creatures, by Kira Jane Buxton

Hop into the Hollow Kingdom Series with the second installment, Feral Creatures.
Join S.T., America's Best Crow, and Dennis, his bloodhound BFF, in their adventures to save humanity from extinction in a post-apocalyptic world.


Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+

Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place between the first and second Star Wars trilogies and follows Obi-Wan, reprised by Ewan McGregor, as he is hunted down by Darth Vader and his inquisitors, forcing him to face his ultimate failure -- the corruption of Anakin Skywalker.


Car Seat Headrest on Spotify 

Car Seat Headrest is an Indie/Lo-Fi Pop band formed in 2010 as a solo project for lead-singer, Will Toledo. As the band has grown in size, it has also changed in sound with later albums featuring more electronic influences. Lovers of great songwriting should give this band a listen. 
Fun Facts From the Archives
As we continue our work sorting and organizing the 150,000+ pages of Bradbury's papers we thought we'd share a before and after photo of the processing. 

Bradbury's file drawers were certainly a rainbow of colors compared to the processed drawers, but don't worry - all of those terrific folders will remain forever in our collection.

By Nancy Orem
Did You Know?

Ray Bradbury received letters from fans all over the world.
The 15,000+  pieces of correspondence include letters from 69 countries and all 50 states!

Check out the map below to find out which countries!

"And I think it's gonna be a long, long time
'Til touchdown brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home
I'm a rocket man
Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone"

-- "Rocket Man" written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin

These famous lines may not have been written by Ray Bradbury, but they were heavily inspired by his stories. The main influence is "The Rocket Man" in The Illustrated Man (read an excerpt on The MacLean's Archive here) as cited by primary songwriter Bernie Taupin. "The Rocket Man" is about a father who is an astronaut by trade and leaves his family for work for months at a time, though John was apparently unaware of this influence. Taupin took this idea of space travel as average work and ran with it to write this influential and well-known song.

Though "The Rocket Man" is the main influence for the narrative of the song, the lyrics also reflect a line in "The Man" (published in The Illustrated Man, as well) where Captain Hart says "It's been a long time, a long, long time since - since I relaxed." Though this story has a decidedly more religious tone, the theme runs parallel to "The Rocket Man" -- men who are also searching, not quite realizing what they had in front of them.

"Rocket Man" was featured on Honky Chateau (1972) by Elton John and has gone double platinum in the UK and triple platinum the United States. The song has also been covered by a number of popular artists like Puddle of Mudd, Kate Bush, and William Shatner. "Rocket Man" ranked #149 in Rolling Stone's 2021 update of their "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" demonstrating its staying power and cultural influence. 

By Kylie Adkins

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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