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  • 365 faces / Day 154 & 155

    Outliers are a separate species. Ray Bradbury was one of them. He just moved on to join his freethinking buddies in the high Heavens for a celestial creative Blue Sky session.

    Knowing him, he will get bored with the eternal bliss soon and drop down to Hell to dig for more edgy writing material.

    I met Bradbury during my Disney days. A lumbering giant of a teddy bear, he had the bright-eyed spark and bushy-tailed attention of a 10-year old. Imagineering was one of his favorite places on Earth: a dream factory filled with creative soul mates where his fantasies, like the parent-gobbling virtual room from his 1950 short story “The Veldt” came true.

    He dreamt that one up decades before the technology to pull it off even existed. We found ways to live it (but without bodily damage) in the themed attractions we built.

    Theme parks, unlike movies, let people experience their fantasies beyond just sight and sound - they step in and feel, smell, touch and taste their imaginary worlds. Dreaming up places like these is a privilege known to but a few. We were the lucky ones: Imagineers, our industry's elite and an explosive combo of artists and nerds wrapped up in widely colorful human packages.

    Part brainiacs part dreamers -- we use smoke, mirrors, tall miracles and watertight logic of engineering to transform fantasy into seamless reality for a few stolen moments of breathless bliss.

    Ray Bradbury was the best one of us: an Honorary Godfather and #1 Fan of our profession. His stories set up our seemingly unreachable goals long before many of us were even born. He made us grow wings to zoom across boundaries of the acceptably familiar so we could create alternate realities and share them across our world.

    He gave us chills, thrills, gasps and giggles. He made us consider the impossible, and half a century ago painted a startlingly accurate picture of our brave new world that has since become the might and madness of our daily reality.

    He never stopped asking questions and listening for answers, and made us remember what matters most: each other and the abundant, precious life that surrounds us.

    I already miss you Ray. I will hang with you in your stories, often. Please come back soon. I will be looking out for you in the blossoming young minds around me.

    In Memoriam of Ray Bradbury
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