Octavia Butler’s birthday is today (June 22)

And in honor of her memory, I and other members of the Carl Brandon Society are posting about her. That link, BTW, will take you to the Carl Brandon Society’s scholarship page, which helps pay for one writer of color to attend a Clarion workshop. Clarion, as you know Bob, is the premier writers’ workshop in the speculative fiction field, and in its various iterations has been running for more than 30 years now. Clarion is also where Octavia Butler was “discovered”, so to speak; she sold her first story there. And while I myself never went to Clarion or any six-weeker workshop (never had the vacation time… though Viable Paradise, the one-week version, was a pretty solid substitute IMHO), I’m grateful that Octavia went and used this to springboard her career. Because if she hadn’t become a writer, I’m not sure I would be writing today. It would’ve been all too easy to give in to the little voices in the back of my mind, or the not-so-little voices from doubters among my loved ones, who insisted that my dream was unrealistic at best, laughable at worst. She was my clarion call — the lonely beacon in the wilderness letting me know that I was on the right track, that someone had been along the path before me, and that it was possible to reach the end.

So — thanks, Ms. Butler. If memory is the only true immortality, then may you live forever.

(And if you among the still-mortal would like to remember her in a more substantial way, please consider donating to the Butler Scholarship fund!)

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