I found this and other wonderful samples of writer Octavia Butler's motivational notes to herself, thanks to a friend who shared this one on facebook.
Wow, the determination! And what a reminder to all of us writers not to give up. (If we ever do feel like that, maybe we can borrow some of her self-talk.) Do, do, do go to this link and have a read, and watch the (very brief, yet inspiring) video. You can also read more about her by clicking the various other links you'll find there, and at Wikipedia.
(Wikipedia says, 'At the age of 10, Butler begged her mother to buy her a Remington typewriter, on which she "pecked [her] stories two fingered".' This particularly excited me: my grandfather left me his Remington when I was 9, and I'm still pecking away two-fingered on my keyboards, lol.)
In case you didn't know of this woman, she was a multi-award-winning science fiction writer. In order to succeed, she overcame extreme shyness, dyslexia, repeated rejections of her early submissions, and all the inequalities and disadvantages attendant on being a black woman in the USA.
I wasn't aware of her before, even though I love science fiction. Now that I've also looked up her prolific output, I can only wonder at my ignorance. I'll certainly be seeking her books now!
But there's more! The site featuring Octavia's words is a find in itself:
It offers (among others things): Free Courses; Great Lectures; Free eBooks; Free Movies; and Great Recordings. The last one particularly caught my eye. Here's what's listed under that heading:
What treats! The first one for me will be Ginsberg himself reading Howl. Oh, wow, the things this technological age makes available to us!!! I don't do bucket lists, but this is something to make sure I grab while I'm alive, and be devoutly grateful not to have missed. And there are plenty of other enticements on the list, too.
Closer to Home
Our online home, that is. I wonder how many, reading newish PS&U participant Jedediah Smith's poem for the latest Weekly Scribblings, also clicked the link to something called The Pojo Show Episode 2? I did, from curiosity. And oh, what a treat! It turned out to be the second of a new series of Podcasts by Jedediah and collaborator Batty Royale, inspired by this pandemic situation we all find ourselves in. The theme for this one is Coronavirus II: Poetry on Illness and Loss.
Consisting of poems and songs, it's beautifully put together and lasts for a fraction over half an hour. They had me at St James' Infirmary, an old favourite, the opening number. I was even more enraptured when they included another great love, James Dickey's The Hospital Window ("I have just come down from my father"). Other moving and exciting pieces, I didn't know and was glad to encounter. (As so often, I found the American accents difficult at times and missed the odd word here and there, but that's a problem that can't be avoided in these days of international audio sharing and all kinds of accents. I can always search the texts online.)
At the very end Jedediah and Batty go back through the material shared, with some brief, informative words on each – and some remarks I was glad to hear, about the crossover of poetry and song. I found this bit, in its own way, as interesting as the rest of the content. Well, it seems that Jedediah has also hosted a radio program, so it's not surprising he knows how to make stuff entertaining.
Now I'll be checking Episode 1 in the very near future: Coronavirus I: Poetry and Plagues thru History. (If this is all beginning to sound unpleasantly morbid, the experience of listening to Episode 2 was far from that!) Episode 3, with the theme of Isolation (ranging from loneliness to imprisonment) will be posted today.
To find these and future episodes, you can subscribe to them on Jedediah's YouTube or go to the Sound Files section at his website. I enjoyed the visuals on YouTube (faces of the poets and musos) so I've bookmarked it and subscribed.
Our Own Success Stories
Spotted recently on Instagram:
Gillena (well-known to all of us, who blogs at Lunch Break) has a new book of poems out. It's available, as paperback or ebook, from AuthorHouse.
Material shared here is presented for study and review. Poems, photos, and other writings and images remain the property of the copyright owners, usually the authors.