One of the coolest parts of my career over the last five years has been getting to meet and chat with some of my favorite writers. There is a list of work that had an incredible impact on the young me, and a lot of those authors were already dead by the time I got here that I never got a chance to meet.
And sadly, one of those people I was hoping to meet one day just passed away: Octavia Butler.
Summer 1995, was a wild summer because it ended a chapter of my life thanks to a tropical storm and two hurricanes passing through, the last one trashing the boat I lived aboard and forcing my family to move to Ohio. It was a sad summer, leaving what I considered home to one of the grayest states in the US, and to adapting to mid-west norms that I wasn’t prepared for.
But the absolute highlight was this:
Hurricane Luis was the hurricane before Marilyn (the one that left us homeless), and we’d secured our boat and home in Virgin Gorda. I knew the hurricane would be long and I would need reading material to pass the night away, and the owners of a yacht next door were kind enough to provide me with a handful of books. A few mysteries that I can’t remember and a book that I’ll never forget called ‘Wild Seed’ by Octavia Butler.
For hours that night I lay huddled up in a sleeping bag and a flashlight reading ‘Wild Seed’ as the Hurricane battered the house we stayed in, and I made it all the way to the eye of the hurricane having not paid a single bit of attention to what was going on on the other side of a brick wall several inches away from me.
It’s one of those things you hold in your head for the rest of your life, and I always wished to thank her for it.