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.
What a treasure trove you’ve given us with all the Octavia Butler' information and links, Rosemary. I shall be dipping into them. Her story alone is motivational. As soon as I saw Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ on that list of readings, I knew that would be right up your street! I kicked myself for not clicking on the link in Jedediah’s post, which I’ll be visiting soon. Thank you so much for mentioning Joe and Nelly – that was a surprise!ReplyDelete
You're welcome, Kim! I have fun putting these things together.Delete
I speak with Kim, this is a wonderful sharing of information. I am looking forward to travelling on the net to introduce myself to these sites.I'm especially interested Open Culture. So many people on the list you chose that I will enjoy hearing. Also Jedediah’s posting. You have given me a gift I will enjoy.ReplyDelete
Delighted to have done that for you!Delete
Jedediah Smith here, and so many thanks to you for reviewing our podcast. I am going to make it a practice in future shows (including #3 which went up an hour ago) to make a list of links for poems it they appear somewhere online so that accents and reading environments (sometimes the audio at live readings can be rough) aren't so much of a problem.ReplyDelete
Terrific Jedediah, thanks. That will make a great experience even better!Delete
Oh wow, just had a listen to Episode 3, and it's even more thrilling than the other two! Thank you, thank you!Delete
This was wonderful to read!ReplyDelete
Thanks for saying so, Jenna. Feedback always appreciated (smile).Delete
My goodness what an absolute treasure trove this is, Rosemary! Thank you so much for sharing information about Octavia Butler, I will definitely be looking into it 💝 Also, I am on my way now to visit Jedediah and others. We had a thunderstorm yesterday which resulted in power failure.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you're reconnected!Delete
I recently finished Kindred by Octavia Butler. It was, as I told my husband, some of the best nightmare fuel I couldn't put down. Gripping and unsettling stuff. I look forward to re-reading it again.ReplyDelete
I love how busy our community is with their projects! Lots of good stuff to check out. Thanks for the heads up, Rosemary.
You're right – not even pandemics can stop writers!Delete
Rosemary, I was trying to figure out what short story collection to read next, and your post has made the decision easy (thank you!). My next read shall be Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse, since it contains an Octavia Butler story.ReplyDelete
I recently finished reading Kim's book and learned a thing or three. I shall check out the rest!
Happy to be of help!Delete
Thanks for looking out for us, Rosemary, as you introduce another winner. I think I'm going to be spending all my spare time (when I can find it) at the Open Culture site.ReplyDelete
You may be contributing to the delinquency of a farmer. Ha!
Hmmm, yes, it might take some self-discipline to ration our indulgences!Delete
Thank you, Rosemay. Thank you sooo very much. This week's message for was a pure joy. I always like reading your blurb here. I will read a bit of Octavia, another thanks for pointing her out. I identify with typewriters in a way. I bought my first one, a Royal portable, nanual, while in college my first time. I was working part time in the rug department of a large department store and could have a fifteen percent discount. But i had to wait until my wages were more than my purchase. In high school another boy and I took a "girl's clas" of typing, i did quite well with all those nice girls and finished high in our class, finishing at someplace over 60 WPM corrected. In the Army I was a clerk typist for my first two years; after my six-week Clerk Typist School I was assigned to this Army xchool as an instructor for a year until the school got closed. Each of those times could be a chapter in my memoirs. And each of those folk in her Red List was known a bit or more to me.ReplyDelete
I've spent the last rwo days in a sad atmosphere but uniting way. My wife's sister was just placed in Hospice, we visited her through the window of her nursing abd rehab center. She was going in and out of sleep, after a recent stroke she could never sit up by her own strengt. We could not hold her hand or kiss her brow as she has the COVID-19 adding to her other fatal-to-be situations and so is in isolation and quarantine. These last rwo days are another whole chapter in our lives. Insult to sadness was a blown tire coming back home. Each way is a 350 mile six hour drive, to and from their small North Louisiana town. While hospitalized for the umpthteen time for double pneumonia, their hopistal has no ICU. These sad two days might be recorded in 350 words?
Congratulations to Kim and Gillena.
Thank you again for your nice Octavia Butler introduction. I wonder how her last moments, hours, days, and perhaps weeks were.
As always, thank you for sharing your reminiscences, which give us so much insight into both your life and you.Delete
So sorry about your wife's sister; a very sad situation for all concerned!
Thanks so much, Rosemary. As always, enticing reads, and new finds. Gillena and Kim: how wonderful to hear about your books. I look forward to reading them. Jedidiah is a real find. I recently read a poem of his, and will visit YouTube. As always, great reading, Rosemary!ReplyDelete
It's lovely to have a whole bunch of people to whom to yell, 'Hey, look at this!!!' when I find new treasures.Delete
Hi Rosemary thank you for mentioning 'Pink Crush'. Actually, it is not so new. It was published in 2011. At first it carried a photo of me on the back cover, then i asked for it to be taken down so that some people, that is early buyers in 2011 would have copies with the photo at the back cover and subsequent to that no photo at the back cover but all published in 2011ReplyDelete
Ah, I see. Well, new to me and perhaps to others in our community too.Delete