Short Essays / Stories 4 You

Meeting Octavia (p.s. Happy Birthday!)

In my 20s, “Octavia E. Butler” was the answer to: If you could meet anyone alive or dead, who would it be? I had finished ‘Wild Seed’, her fourth book in the Patternist series, wondering about the woman who wove provocative social and racial themes into complex sci-fi plots. Twenty years later in July of 2001, I met her. It was on a Saturday in Alaska at the Anchorage International Airport. I was with my husband, who was catching a jet to King Salmon, Alaska. We were sitting at his departure gate before I headed to the restroom, passing a tall black woman. “Uh, excuse me, Ma’am?” I asked. The woman turned around. “Are you Octavia Butler?” In the deepest, richest, most regal voice, she inton

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