I am sorry that this comes too late for you to know the impact you had on me.
I’m sad that now, there is no chance I will ever be lucky enough to meet you, even if only for the brevity of a signing.
Your work, and you to some degree, have been there for me from the beginning. Your stories were read to me in utero. My Grandfather, Father and I shared an enormous love for your stories. My mother too.
The routine as driving through the great plains of this country, on vacation to adventures was mom in the passenger seat reading from S Is For Space, R Is For Rocket or the Illustrated man as the prairie grasses waved outside the window.
The Foghorn, is a story that evoke feelings of both comfort and fear; reminding me of warm days in the backseat, My mind drifting before the bright realness I could see, and the cold, lonely night as a creature I’ve never laid eyes upon seeks companionship.
The Flying machine, about not as some might think the failure to see a marvelous object as such, but the fact that there are such remarkable accomplishments, way out of time and place, and fear overrides everything.
The story I can never remember the title of but sticks with me so strongly, about a man who builds a rocket in his back yard, and takes his kids on a journey to Mars via imagination.
Of course the big stories are important too; Fahrenheit, Martian Chronicals, the other collections, all shaped me.
The thing I will be most grateful for will be your love of the Midwest, My Midwest, that smells of Summer and rain, and Autumn and dreams. Mr. Dark, one of the scariest villains ever. A writer who made my home feel as exotic and wonderful as Mars.
I wished I could have met you, talked to you, said thank you. I wish I could have told you how shocked and joyed I was when people compare some of my writing to yours, something I never thought would happen.
The wonderful thing for me though, is there are still plenty of stories you wrote that I have yet to read. And each reading even when I have read before, is just as wondrous as the first.
Goodbye Ray. And thank you.