An excerpt from the upcoming book by Armando Nieto, Mary Conrad, and Matt Pallamary: The Santa Barbara Writers Conference Scrapbook — Words of Wisdom from Thirty Years of Literary Excellence 1973 – 2003
As the SBWC entered its second decade Mary and Barnaby Conrad added Robert Bloch (Pscho), Larry Gelbart (MASH, Tootsie, etc.), Joshua Logan (South Pacific, etc.), and Martin Cruz Smith (Gorky Park) to the lineup of featured speakers. Most notably, conference favorite Charles “Sparky” Schulz was once again in attendance as he would not be attending Wimbledon two years in a row.
Sparky’s confederate Ray Bradbury was ready for a repeat performance, and said “this year I will wander around for the duration of the whirlwind week, try to read whatever the writers hand me, and continue to encourage them to take ideas and set them in motion.”
“Be passionate, be alive!” When Ray Bradbury opened the conference every year the emotional quotient of the audience began to soar.
Ray was the embodiment of what everyone in the room strived to be. He believed that each and everyone in the room can succeed. More than Barnaby Conrad or any other person present, Ray was the biggest cheerleader and besides his undeniable writing skill, it was his special gift.
Writers came to the SBWC for many reasons, and sometimes, they didn’t even know why they came. As Ray has said, “You come because you must!”