The world mourns the loss of Ray Bradbury today, who wrote an excellent introduction to John Collier’s Fancies and Goodnights:
I always wanted to dine with John Collier so I could ask him, ‘What is your secret, how do you do that?’
My great opportunity came when I was invited to a Christmas-week dinner over in the Hollywood hills.
Ordinarily I might have turned the invitation down, for it was from a lady I hardly knew who would surround me with strangers.
’You must come,’ she said. ‘Mr. and Mrs. John Collier will be here.’
’Yes!’ I cried.
I went and the dinner was fine and I sat across from Collier and his wife, questions trembling on my lips.
But Mrs. Collier chatted during the cocktails, recalled travels with the salad, journeyed on with main course, and was still not finished during dessert, which was followed by further recitations near midnight.
Finally, near twelve, the Colliers prepared to leave.
Still lecturing to one and all, Mrs. Collier led John to the door where he turned, smiled, and opened his mouth to speak.
At last, I thought. Now.
’Merry Christmas,’ John Collier said and went out the door.
Now we’ll never know.