His stories, the ones I first encountered in middle school, the ones that made me read more and then read everything of his over the next few years, more than any stories I read before or after, made me want to write. Later, I would find other writers who affected my sensibilities about fiction more and who stretched my ideas about what fiction could achieve, but the intensity, joyous and horrifying, with which Bradbury infused his best stories, formed the foundation for my understanding of how fiction could both capture the attention of a reader and express the personality of the writer.
It's those first writers we discover, those early encounters, that provide the primary sense of what fiction can and must do, just as our families provide the template for how we think human interactions function and what they can mean. For being a part of the family that formed me, thank you, Ray. You marked me.