There are a couple of reasons why I chose to do so. First, and most obviously, it was simply convenient. Lovecraft's birthday just happened to be at hand and so it made sense to take advantage of it. Second, and more importantly, Lovecraft's influence looms large in the hobby, so large in fact that many don't even realize the creative debt they owe to the "Old Gent." In my estimation, Lovecraft is just as important as J.R.R. Tolkien when it comes to his contributions to the cauldron of concepts out of which contemporary fantasy arose.
Without HPL, there'd be no (or at least fewer) tentacled monstrosities from beyond space time or blasphemous tomes containing truths Man was not meant to know to cite just two rather superficial examples of ideas he either created or popularized. More significant, I think, are his themes, such as the insignificance of mankind, the vastness of the uncaring universe, and the double edged sword of scientific knowledge, most of which have infiltrated our popular culture to the point where few give them much thought anymore. All of us in this hobby are Lovecraft's intellectual descendants to one degree or another, no matter how much we might deny it.
Though today is the anniversary of Lovecraft's birth, I nevertheless find myself on this occasion thinking instead of Clark Ashton Smith's elegy "To Howard Phillips Lovecraft," written just thirteen days after HPL's death in 1937. While I find the whole poem quite poignant, I have always been particularly moved by several lines toward the end that grasp at something similar to the overall point of this post.
Lo! in this little interim of daysHow far thy feet are spedUpon the fabulous and mooted waysWhere walk the mythic dead!For us the grief, for us the mystery. . . .And yet thou art not goneNor given wholly unto dream and dust:For, even uponThis lonely western hill of AveroigneThy flesh had never visited,I meet some wise and sentient wraith of thee,Some undeparting presence, gracious and august.More luminous for thee the vernal grass,More magically dark the Druid stone,And in the mind thou art forever shownAs in a magic glass;And from the spirit's page thy runes can never pass.