While I tend to enjoy science fiction movies, I’ll admit that I typically shy away from the book genre. Certainly, I’ve read speculative fiction by Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, and George Samuel Schuyler, but I don’t know whether my reading list goes too far beyond their titles. After reading about Junot Diaz’s character Oscar’s fascination with the genre, I decided to complete my first book by Octavia Butler (or set the goal to do so). Not to mention, my mother read 3 of Butler’s books back to back this summer and wouldn’t stop talking about them. Sadly, I’ve only read half of Butler’s Kindred, but did extensive research on the author for a near 100-page annotated bibliography. What’s really funny is that I have several of Butler’s books on my shelves–and never read a one. Shame.
I wanted to insert an excerpt from Wild Seed, but when I attempted an online search, I pulled up a reference from my own dang blog! Yes, this one! What do you know? I mentioned the book in 2007 and am just getting around to reading it—5 years later. See for yourself. I’ve never had my research lead back to me. This is a first. I’m proud. And to this day I’m still making the same claims about finishing Kindred.
As a fiction writer, I’m often inspired by words of wisdom from authors whose books I’ve enjoyed. Well, I’m still in the beginning stages of Butler’s Wild Seed, but found a quotable in Bloodchild titled “Furor Scribendi”:
Sometimes when I’m interviewed, the interviewer either compliments me on my ‘talent,’ my ‘gift,’ or asks me how I discovered it. (I don’t know, maybe it was supposed to be lying in my closet or on the street somewhere, waiting to be discovered.) I used to struggle to answer this politely, to explain that I didn’t believe much in writing talent. People who want to write either do it or they don’t. At last I began to say that my most important talent — or habit — was persistence. Without it, I would have given up writing long before I finished my first novel. It’s amazing what we can do if we simply refuse to give up. I suspect that is the most important thing I’ve said in all my interviews and talks as well as in this book. It’s a truth that applies to more than writing. It applies to anything that is important, but difficult, important but frightening. We’re all capable of climbing so much higher than we usually permit ourselves to suppose. The word, again, is ‘persist’!”
Anyway, let me persist with my reading, something Butler also recommends, obviously.
Happy reading, y’all.