Quotes by Octavia E Butler

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When I was 7 and went to the zoo with my second-grade class, I saw chimpanzee eyes for the first time - the eyes of an unhappy animal, all alone, locked in a bare, concrete-floored, iron-barred cage in one of the nastier, old-fashioned zoos. I remember looking at the chimp, then looking away. more...

Not everyone has been a bully or the victim of bullies, but everyone has seen bullying, and seeing it, has responded to it by joining in or objecting, by laughing or keeping silent, by feeling disgusted or feeling interested. more...

Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over. more...

Simple peck-order bullying is only the beginning of the kind of hierarchical behavior that can lead to racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, classism, and all the other 'isms' that cause so much suffering in the world. more...

If vampires were a separate species, and they were into genetic engineering, what would they engineer for? more...

The big talent is persistence. more...

I'm comfortably asocial - a hermit in the middle of a large city, a pessimist if I'm not careful, a feminist, a black, a former Baptist, an oil-and-water combination of ambition, laziness, insecurity, certainty and drive. more...

Tolerance, like any aspect of peace, is forever a work in progress, never completed, and, if we're as intelligent as we like to think we are, never abandoned. more...

A 10-pound sack of potatoes lasts a long time. more...

Every story I create, creates me. I write to create myself. more...

Getting your writing criticized can be a lot like getting skinned, and you respond to it just as enthusiastically. more...

I don't write about good and evil with this enormous dichotomy. I write about people. I write about people doing the kinds of things that people do. more...

I had a long period of writing what I think of as 'save the world' novels. 'Fledgling' was a chance to play. more...

I think people really need to think what it's like to have all of society arrayed against you. more...

Most of us, if we're not careful, tend to dehumanize the enemy. more...

Most vampires I have discovered are men for some reason. I guess it's because of Dracula; people are kind of feeding off that. more...

Science fiction frees you to go anyplace and examine anything. more...

Every story I write adds to me a little, changes me a little, forces me to reexamine an attitude or belief, causes me to research and learn, helps me to understand people and grow. more...

I took classes taught by an elderly woman who wrote children's stories. She was polite about the science fiction and fantasy that I kept handing in, but she finally asked in exasperation, 'Can't you write anything normal?' more...

The norm is white, apparently, in the view of people who see things in that way. For them, the only reason you would introduce a black character is to introduce this kind of abnormality. Usually, it's because you're telling a story about racism or at least about race. more...

People who think about time travel stories sometimes think that going back in time would be fun because you would have all the information you needed to be much more astute than the people there, when the truth is of course you wouldn't. more...

Delusional pain hurts just as much as pain from actual trauma. So what if it's all in your head? more...

I think we need people with stronger ideals than John Kerry or Bill Clinton. I think we need people with more courage and vision. more...

Hollywood wants to go for the flash, because that's what a lot of them think science fiction is. more...

How dull it is to have people defining you. more...

I don't know how much of a market there is for space opera. Just because it's in the movies doesn't mean magazines are buying it. more...

I had novels to write, so I wrote them. more...

I learned that five- and-six-year-old kids have already figured out how to be intolerant. more...

I pecked my stories out two-fingered on the Remington portable typewriter my mother had bought me. I had begged for it when I was ten. more...

I used to give up writing like some people would give up smoking. more...

I wanted to write a novel that would make others feel the history: the pain and fear that black people have had to live through in order to endure. more...

I'm not pessimistic about much of anything. more...

I'm very happy alone. more...

Movies are extremely imitative of one another. Whatever works, people will try to do it. more...

My characters hope for better lives. more...

My race and sex had a great deal more to do with what people believed I could do than with what I actually could do. more...

Religion is everywhere. There are no human societies without it, whether they acknowledge it as a religion or not. more...

Science fiction is not formulaic. more...

Science fiction, extrasensory perception, and black people are judged by the worst elements they produce. more...

Too many writers get into that gross-'em-out factor. more...

We are a naturally hierarchical species. more...

With a disaster like global warming, it's too late to worry about when it's looming except to figure out how to adapt to it. more...

Writing has been as difficult for me as for people who don't like to write and as little fun. more...

As a black and as a woman, I didn't think that I would really want to live in any of the eras before this, because I would inevitably be worse off. I would have spent more time struggling just to prove I was human than doing my work. more...

At school I was always taller than the rest of my class, and because I was an only child, I was comfortable with adults but shy and awkward with other kids. I was quiet, bookish, and in spite of my size, hopeless at sports. In short, I was different. And even in the earliest grades, I got pounded for it. more...

Beware, all too often we say what we hear others say. We think what we are told that we think. We see what we are permitted to see. Worse, we see what we are told that we see. more...

In countries where there are no racial differences or no religious differences, people find other reasons to set aside one certain group of people and generally spit in their direction. more...

Several years ago, when I was about to start a novel, I thought I might get some mileage out of the idea of a civilization in which people somehow felt - that is, they shared - all the pain and all the pleasure they caused one another. more...

The lovely thing about writing is, well, two things. One, writing fiction allows us to bring an order to our lives that doesn't exist in real life. And two, it allows us to create human characters that we know better than we will ever know anyone in real life. more...

The major tragedies in life, there's just no compensation. But the minor ones you can always write about. It's my way of dealing, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than psychiatrists. The story, you see, will get you through. more...

When I was between 2 and 3 years old, I got to know my first non-human being. The non-human was a cocker spaniel named Baba. We weren't friends, Baba and I, nor enemies. He wasn't my dog. He belonged to the people my mother worked for, and he lived in the house with them and us. more...


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