26 Feb

Octavia Butler

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.