An Open Thank You to Mr. Harlan Ellison

Introduce yourself here. One post per person. Use replies to those to discuss someone.

Moderator: Moderator

Cemari
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:09 pm

An Open Thank You to Mr. Harlan Ellison

Postby Cemari » Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:25 pm

Letter to Harlan:
I do not think you know me, but you are an important key to why and how I made it to 50 years old this year and I wanted to say from the depths of my heart, thank you. This note for me, is like the candle that some people light on the anniversary of their father's death. My dad used to say that ingratitude is worse than witchcraft, so I need to say thank you to you for helping me to survive.
I was an upper middle class black girl who grew up in one of Ohio’s many hippy enclaves, and was an unwitting integrating child during the turbulent 60s and 70s--when the rift between Blacks and Jews grew wide as the parting of the red sea. I lost many of my childhood friends who were Jewish and chose, for lack of a better term, to pass into the acceptance by other caucasians and reject any association with me. I mention this for context as I look backwards from 50 at the pivotal points in my life and that was a point where I turned away from my "happy hippy/black panther" childhood into a level of simmering anger that something was not morally "right" in my world.
Ok, so, nu, why should I care you might say? I have followed your career with interest. Life was, and sometimes is hard for me. I kept the faith because you were an example of someone from Ohio, you were attuned and sensitive and you did not give up your fight with sadness, darkness, and depression. And you have a way with words.
When my parents cataclysmically divorced, I retreated into science and then speculative fiction. After years of Xmen, Dune, and the Thomas Covenant saga, your Dangerous Visions anthologies and the stories you selected helped me cope with the anger and rage I felt when people I expected to help me, chose instead to hurt me--or even worse--while I was pursuing a Phd in Economics, marginalize and ignore me. I selected the anthology from a Random House book club deal back in the early 80s. So the first blessing in my life, that helped save my life was Dangerous Visions.
The second blessing was to know that you were from Ohio--as you know few people IN Ohio, see a reason to be FROM Ohio, and many people FROM Ohio--like Chrissy Hyndes go back "and their city is gone". So as a (former) skinny little (girl) from (near) Cleveland Ohio, I thank you for showing me that people can make it by being FROM Ohio.
Third and most importantly, the best gift you gave me was Miss Octavia Butler. Having read Dangerous Visions, I was receptive to your endorsement of her work on the paperback version of Wild Seed/Adulthood Rites/Dawn--I forget which one. I may never have found her, or Dawn or Parable of the Sower or dealt with the Crack epidemic's impact on the Black community, or met her in person before she passed--if not for your endorsement of her as the best speculative fiction writer. Her vision of the African Diaspora, in Wild Seed and her Patternmaster series, along with the literature of Toni Morrison, also a writer from Ohio, helped me survive with my spirit somewhat tattered, but still intact. That kindness of connecting people to a source of strength, makes me want to give you the money I don't have! (and that is a lot!)
And well, as for the screenplay of A Boy and His Dog, and the episodes you wrote of some of my favorite sci-fi during my formative years, thank you is not enough said for the ROFL and the LOL your wit has given me. I remember seeing you on Merv Griffin or Dinah Shore, and thinking--he does the Buckeye State proud!
My fear for the future, is that with electronic media, people may lose connection between humans that write and edit and create, and their own ability to do the same. My concern is that with the ability to exclude that comes from digitized machine coded information that is un-intelligible to the average human, young children of all races will not be given the chance to dream (I'd quote Shakespeare--but I'm 50 and I forgot the "perchance to dream..." quote) of a world where visions are dangerous, in part, because they free the mind from the shackles of intellectual bondage of force fed internet slop and video game violence and information overload. At 22, your anthologies, scared me and freaked me out, and let me speculate that I was not alone, even when I thought that I had been isolated and would never find or be able to define "my people." Now, at 50, I am a part of a community of humans who I love and care about in varying degrees and who, I believe, love and care about me in the similar fashion. This is a victory for my humanity because we TRY--meaning we hold eachother up, even when sometimes we let eachother down.
The raw human emotions you catalogued helped me deal with my rage at the machine and repent with the Harlequin. The human interactions in your speculative fiction, gave me a way to deal with people individually, rather than as a stereotype, even when I felt the people may have stereotyped me in ways that robbed me of the right to be a fully animated emotional human. Gore Vidal is gone, and I did not want to miss the opportunity to say to you, while you are here, thank you. Thank you, and Thank you. Thank you for speculating that there is something out there, that I do not know exists right now, that is worth living for. Thank you for fear and faith.

Cemari
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:09 pm

Re: An Open Thank You to Mr. Harlan Ellison

Postby Cemari » Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:26 pm

OMG! I did not know you were a defender of literary rights in the electronic age! We should talk!

diane bartels
Posts: 1255
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:29 pm
Location: CHICAGO IL

Re: An Open Thank You to Mr. Harlan Ellison

Postby diane bartels » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:08 am

Cemari, sorry I am so late responding to your post, but life has been up and down for me. I am assuming this is your first time here. So welcome. This is a nice place. I feel about Harlan and his work much as you do. I am 52(Jeez how did that happen?), and my adolescence and early adulthood were made much better by Harlan. Many of us here experienced the transformative power of his work. I hope you enjoy this site and the people in it as much as I do.


Return to “Webderlanders”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest