I've been a little sad this week.
If you ever were to ask me what fiction book(s) I would want to have with me if I were to be stranded on a desert island, I would definately say "Anything Octavia Butler." When a friend e-mailed me about her passing last weekend, it completely stopped me in my tracks. I talked to a friend about it Monday evening, and said something very similar to what Angel is saying on the subject...
Octavia's passing for me is such a lesson in impermanence. We are not (any of us) promised tomorrow, so we really need to be about the business of doing whatever it is we feel moved to do with our lives... What are we waiting for?
A few months ago, I read Octavia's final novel... an engrossing twist on vampire lore called Fledgling. I was so excited about the work... and I thought it would become a trilogy to match Wildseed, Mind of My Mind and Patternmaster. I absolutely couldn't wait for the next installment. And then Octavia died.
I have but one opportunity to read something she wrote that I haven't read yet... I'll need to procure a copy of the book she personally felt was sub-standard and has been out of print for ages... a book that fans still rave about called Survivor. A few years ago, battered, well-worn copies were selling on Amazon.com for anywhere between $100 and $400 dollars. I can't imagine what they must be going for now.
I'm thinking now about my own survival. I've been really unhappy with corporate life for a long time. In my ideal scene I'd be writing, going on retreats, practicing yoga, becoming certified to teach yoga, exploring my artistic side (musically and visually) and spending more time with my daughter. My current job doesn't afford me the time to do any of these things with consistency without feeling like a zombie.
Maybe 2006 will be the year that I totally reconstruct my life, and maybe Octavia will be the inspiration.