Remembering Ray, Daddy and the Bird that Got Away



I ran into Bill Nolan at a Science Fiction convention and we began talking about Ray and the writers group. Bill said he had been to the group once… doubtless before my time. How many great writers have passed through that house and sat round the coffee table reading stories trading ideas, laughter and weaving memories? I wonder if on some new moon night I might return to hear ghostly voices, shades of laughter and unborn stories once again.


Richard Bach was in the group for bit. This story, as so many others, happened before my memory, so I only have tales and an article to go by…

I come from a family of tale spinners, my father and mother both. My mother always told her personal version of history with complete conviction… and even when I knew it was not true it was almost impossible not to believe.

But even memories are not untainted by person recollection.  So here is The tale Of Richard Bach and his bird:

Richard was brought to the group by Ray. He was working on Jonathan Livingston Seagull.  Ray kept saying “Cut it, cut it…it’s too long…if you want it to sell you need to cut.” Richard after repeated rejections grew despondent, even despairing, but he steadfastly refused to chop the feathers, clip the wings or even remove any verbiage from his high flying, transcendental gull. Finally the book sold! It became a flyaway sensation. My father, ever the skeptic found the idea mockable…and so he penned “Ludwig Von Wolfgang Vulture,” about a vulture who learns how to read and eventually enters nirvana. It too became a hit.

Ray, with his custom generosity endorsed both books.  Ray Bradbury on Jonathan Livingston Seagull; “Richard Bach with this book does two things. He gives me flight. He makes me young. For both I am deeply grateful.”

On Ludwig Von Wolfgang Vulture,” Dolph Sharp with this book does three things. he turns a vulture into a mocking bird. He gives a gull a plucking. And he tickles us with the feathers. I’m grateful all over again.-“-Ray Bradbury

When Richard heard about my father’s book he immediately called Ray. “How could Dolph do this to me?” he cried.

Ray tried to be the dove of peace, proffering a literary olive between the gull and vulture.

“He isn’t ‘doing it to you.’  Dolph’s writing the book is the sincerest form of flattery. Without Jonathan, Ludwig could not, would not exist. It’s all in fun, with love!”

But Richard would not be mollified and never returned to the group. Daddy, as always was completely unrepentant.  He wanted to take the show on the road and do a series of public debates, Vulture VS. seagull. It’s a pity it never happened. I don’t know about Richard Bach, I have no memory of him, but my father was a born raconteur, debater and performer.  As Ray said, his delivery would make “world comedians slit their wrists,” in envy.ImageImage


About E.E. King

E.E. King’s has published many short stories. Ray Bradbury calls E.E. King a writer “marvelously inventive, wildly funny and deeply thought provoking. I can not recommend her highly enough.” HER NEW COLLECTION new Collection of Short Fiction “Another Happy Ending,” comes out in October 2013. There is a book launch and party @ Ray Bradbury’s favorite Bookstore Mystery and Imagination Bookstore October 20th @ 2:00 -3:00pm Her first novel, Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife, came out 2010, released in Spanish in 2/2012. She is performing bits of "Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife, all you need to know to choose the right heaven.” (in costume) October 30th @ 7:30-8:30 @Echo Park in “Stories Book and Café.” 1716 West Sunset Blvd • Los Angeles • CA [213] 413-3733 The New Short Fiction Series, Los Angeles’ longest running spoken word series, launched her anthology, Real Conversations With Imaginary Friends, 1/2012. Sponsor, Barnes & Noble. All her books as well as her children’s book The Adventures of Emily Finfeather or The Feathernail and Other Gifts are currently available on audible. E.E. King is the recipient of various international writing, biology and painting grants. Her murals can be seen in Downtown Los Angeles and Spain. Elizabeth Eve King has a background in teaching, painting, theater, comedy and biology. She will be an artist in residence at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art June -Sept 2015 Ms. King is the recipient of two International Tides painting fellowships, and two international biology Earthwatch grants. She was an advisor for the J. Paul Getty’s and the Science Center’s, Arts &; Science program. She was the Science and Arts coordinator in Bosnia with Global Children’s Organization (a summer camp for war orphans and refugees) in 2000. She was the founding Arts & Sciences Director for Esperanza Community Housing Corporation . She’s worked with children in Bosnia, crocodiles in Mexico, frogs in Puerto Rico, egrets in Bali, mushrooms in Montana, archaeologists in Spain and planted butterfly gardens in South Central Los Angeles. The butterflies wish she had chosen a different location. Her short stories have been published widely
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