For those who are aware of Kathy’s work and personality, she’s a sharp-tongued observer of the human condition who broke onto the indie journalism scene with her long-running Your Negro Tour Guide column in Cincinnati CityBeat back in the ’90s. The column was shelved and then revived and renamed, but the fire is still there, of course.
Our Black Sci-Fi Book Club discussion will be Kathy’s first time reading Octavia Butler’s work but not her first experience with black sci-fi. She’s into Samuel Delaney because “he was gay and came out when it was not the new black.” “Along with Marilyn Hacker, he invented his own language and his autobiography freaked my brain hole when I was only pretending to be a writer,” she adds. “I didn’t know we were allowed to be so blunt about our own experiences.”
I was surprised to discover that Kathy had never read a Butler novel or short story but then she made me remember that “blackness” and “nerdiness” as they relate to sci-fi are in the eye of the beholder.
“I used to consider myself black for a long time until I encountered myriad shades, shapes and expressions of blackness diametrically opposed to my own,” she says. “I had to greatly reconsider and reorganize my own ‘blackness’ and I automatically assumed I was a nerd mainly because my two brothers chastised me for talking white–whatever that means–and because I’m smart. I left the house and realized there were, and continue to be, people smarter than I who wear glasses, who read voraciously and who do not pretend to pop bottles or turn up. Then I realized that, like blackness, nerdiness is all the way open for discussion and interpretation.”
We’re looking forward to Kathy’s take on “The Evening and The Morning and The Night.” Hope you can join us! Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 6-7:30 p.m., Corryville branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, 2802 Vine St. (45219)