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Monday, May 4, 2015


Not far from our mosque in Chino, there's a Goodwill thrift store where I often go looking for used books -- James Lee Burke, Lee Child, Walter Mosley, John D. MacDonald, et al. So what usually happens is I'm riding my bike heading for the main intersection where the Goodwill is, and I sometimes get this "urging" to go in there because there's something cool I need to check out. I've learned to listen to this quiet insistence (my being nudged, as it were, by the Higher Power I call Allah) and I am always rewarded.

This time around (about a week ago), I get nudged to go inside and peruse. . . I see a Travis McGee novel (Darker than Amber) which I promptly snap up, plus a book called "Aromatherapy A-Z" which intrigues my didactic sensibilities, and I spy a Bradury classic: "Fahrenheit 451" -- but since I've already got a copy, I do no more than give it a loving glance of appreciation and fond remembrance.

But something keeps pulling me back to it, so finally I pull it out from between some cookbooks where it was resting (did the book shelver mistake it for recipes?) and I see that it's a 40th anniversary edition with a new introduction by its esteemed author. I open the nice-but-not-mint copy and there, on the inside front page, is the large looping scrawl of a signature: Ray Bradbury and a date: 3-18-94. O-M-G as the kids today would say.

Yes, I was seeing that right: a signed 40th anniversary edition of "Fahrenheit 451" !!! Needless to say, it was soon mine for a mere $3. And the oddest part of it was that, for some unknown reason, page 58-59 had been half torn from the tome. A fitting irony about a book where firemen "censored" books by setting them on fire.

And it got me to thinking about my "homage" to Bradbury's classic, something I'd written almost as an explanation to myself in answer to the question: How could such a state of affairs evolve in the modern age? My answer was the 5,000 words you see below -- "Mightier than the Sword" -- written before I changed my name after accepting Islam Ahmadiyya in 1994. (By the way, I have in my typewriter collection a 1929 Royal just like the one displayed in the title. Can you spot the "mistake" in the image? Hint: I wanted the typewriter to face toward the lettering in the title, not away from it, so I used a manipulation common in all graphic design programs. I used Quark to create the magazine-style portfolio of my writings (and some from a few friends) which I produced when I lived on Maui from 1996-2000. That's why the issue number is "0". . .  Enjoy!)