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Both short non-fiction pieces reprinted in 1995 in Bloodchild and Other Stories. The first originally published as Birth of a Writer, reprinted under Butller's preferred title of Positive Obsession. Interestingly, that latter phrase also crops up very early in Parable of the Sower...so perhaps more about that later.

Positive Obsession is Butler's own (brief, 14 loosely set pages) account of her reading and writing life, also posing a question: "And what good is all this to Black people".

I think her question is perhaps well answered by subsequent generations. Perhaps she would have been pleased to know that her work has been of use to people who are not, in fact, Black, as well.

She talks about being a Black science fiction writer, and says: "Now there are four of us: Delany, Steven Barnes, Charles R. Saunders and me." She would be pleased, I think, to know how many more there are now. Many such lists have crossed my desktop in the past few years, here's one: https://list.ly/list/qe-black-science-fiction-writers.

Black is a word that labels an identity other than my own, that carries intimations of ethnicity, citizenship, generation and cultural affiliation. I'm not Black, but I relate directly to many other aspects of her life as recounted here: as a member of a family; as a woman; as a reader; as someone ridiculed for being tall; as someone who "...has something that they can do better than they can do anything else" but has not yet found out what to do about that. There are many points of connection that bring me into sympathy with and help me to understand something about the rest.

I'm glad I read this.

Furor Scribendi is even shorter at just four pages, and is Butler's advice for would-be writers.

Note: Originally posted this just for the first, but the second is so brief I've added it here by editing rather than giving it its own post.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
9th Jun, 2016 08:55 (UTC)
I didn't know of Saunders, but I've ordered his first novel now.
9th Jun, 2016 13:16 (UTC)
Oh good. I don't know that I've ever read anything by him. Let me know how you get on with it.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Caroline M

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