Once upon a time a woman gave birth to a son, the first seed of her womb. When he was placed upon her breast, tiny and wrinkled, the weight of her hopes and dreams descended upon him. The crooning of family and friends who laid eyes upon him bolstered her hopes and she built formidable castles that gleamed in the Sun. Images of welcoming and feasting burst before her in glorious array; she the matriarch of a vast sea of sons. Maybe one beautifully lithe daughter, her splitting image, suitors lined up and clawing at each other to marry her. She envisioned adoring grandchildren racing through the corridors of her castle, their bubbly giggles rebounding off solid walls, full of the vigour of youth.
She basked in the praise showered upon her and bloomed in the validation given to her. She had a son.
She had not prepared herself for fear or desperation. She had not seen Death stealing glances at her precious bundle, it’s long greedy fingers reaching out of the veil to caress his cheek. “Mine,” it had whispered, sending a chill through the room that settled in her womb, scorching it with frozen heat so it would never bear another soul.
No one knew.
He brought a young girl home, “My wife…”
The castle gleamed, no one knew.
“You’re not welcome anymore, my wife…”
The castle dissolved into the image of a small cottage. She could not have forseen.
“You cannot see them, Mom. My wife…”
“I’m unwell, Mom. My wife…”
The cottage crumbled into dust that sailed on huge gusts of winds, scattered, and were lost.
The cold earth slips from her hands, dropping hollowly onto the cedar box. “My son,” her wreaked voice croaks.
“My son,” Death corrects, a fixed smile upon a terrible visage, a friendly hand intertwined with the woman her son had called, “My wife.”
A few years ago someone gave me a book. She has been in the practice of sending me books she has enjoyed and I bless her every day for it. She knew I was at Uni and could not afford to purchase novels.
One of the books she sent me was Seed to Harvest.
Prior to this book, I had not read any speculative fiction that had a character who looked like me who I wanted to be. I was in my 30s and my sense of place in story telling was completely transformed. There was no turning back. If you have not read Octavia Butler’s work, please add it to the list of things you MUST do.
With Ms Butler on my mind, I launched into telling stories of a fantastical nature (Chapter One & Two), and the ride through my imagination was a rollercoaster.
So when I’m surfing online and I find pictures like this,
I’m ashamed to say that envy creeps up like a long discarded lover and tries to throttle me for leaving it.
I wish there was a way to tell Ms. Butler how much her work changed my life and my journey through imagining. You are missed, by those who knew you, and those who wish they had.
How are you? I hope you are well.
Recently, I sent a request out to join a group of people in an online social group. At first the experience was incredible because people there seemed to like the same things I liked. I chatted and talked and gave my opinion to anyone who had the opportunity to read it. I was so excited! Normally I post interesting tidbits of scientific research and innovation on my facebook page and you can literally hear the internet crickets calling for mates. This was the opportunity I had been waiting for… or so I thought.
After a short while I realized something about this group. They did not really purport to be the people they had advertised themselves to be and so I did not really fit. Intelligent rational discussions about a topic quickly deteriorated when people felt attacked because there were dissenting voices and no one could be heard.
It literally took Friday, Saturday and Sunday for me to be DONE! I find that a part of me is a little sad to see that once again, there isn’t a community of people with whom I would fit snugly. I’ve thought of creating my own, and maybe I will when time permits.
For now, here is one tip from me to you.