Our shelves strain under the weight of fine fantasy, horror, and dark beauty dressed as poetry, prose, philosophy, and other pages that enchant and inform.
Among the stacks and shelves reside the collected works of one of the world's most celebrated writers, who also happens to be (arguably) the greatest champion of Hallowe'en and lover of all things spooky in American literature.
And today he celebrates his 91st birthday.
Is it really possible he's ninety-one? The Perpetual Kid is this old?
Then again, is it possible he was ever this young?
Friend of one Forrest J Ackerman, from whom Ray received early help in publishing, and with whom he shared a long and wonder-filled friendship.
Ray (L) and Uncle Forry in costume.
So many words written.
So many dreams he has dreamed.
So many dreams his dreams have caused me.
So many enriching, inspiring, impacting images he has granted the world...
His own painting of The Hallowe'en Tree, 1960
It is quite simply impossible for me to overstate his influence in my creative life as a writer, musician, painter, sculptor and most blessedly as a Hallowe'en artist, an Autumn Person.
My love of his work is pure and boundless, and my gratitude for his existence is exceeded only by my inability to properly express it.
Raise 'em high, fellow Autumn People...
A toast -- I don't know how tired you are after such a remarkable life, but here's to hoping you see at least a few more Hallowe'ens, Ray.
You've given so many of us so much Hallowe'en magic.