Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Octavia Estelle Butler, 1947-2006

"Prodigy is, at its essence,
adaptability and persistent,
positive obsession. Without
persistence, what remains is an
enthusiasm of the moment. Without
adaptability, what remains may
be channeled into destructive
fanaticism. Without positive
obsession, there is nothing at all."

Octavia Butler died yesterday of head injuries she sustained in a fall outside her home. She was only 58, but in her short time, she changed the landscape of speculative fiction for the better, realizing its potential for exploring new realities in a way that honored diversity, depth, and complexity.

The verse I quoted above is one she created for her character Lauren Oya Olamina, the heroine of Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, my favorite of Butler's works. Like Olamina, Butler was a visionary, a leader, and a strong woman in body, mind, and heart.

Our world will be as much poorer for the loss of her active, "positive obsession" as it was made richer by it.

Bless her.

Photo credit: Joshua Trujillo/Seattle Post-Intelligencer