Tag Archives: Delany

Written relationships between writers

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the authors that we’re studying don’t hang out with each other on a daily basis. With so much correspondence in the UO Special Collections to read, there seems to be a never-ending dialogue between these writers that simply must continue over Sunday brunches and late-evening walks. Aren’t those the things that all authors do?

Apparently, some of them don’t. Because many of the authors are quite geographically diverse, some of them only see each other at conferences or when one of them makes a great trek to spend a weekend with another. Delany writes to Russ in his letters about how sometimes he doesn’t feel like he really knows her, since he only sees her from her own self-representations in her letters. They do meet in person sometimes, but more often than not they are forced to learn about each others’ personalities through letters and professional writing.

This is something that I think everyone can relate to—not seeing a friend as often as you’d like, and thereby needing to find out about each others’ lives via written correspondence—but authors have an extra perk that the rest of us don’t have: It’s their job to be articulate in writing. I wonder what this means for their relationships: Are the relationships between writers that are based on written correspondence more fully-developed or cleverly detailed than the same kinds of relationships between non-writers? Or do they get bogged down in storytelling techniques?

Advertisements

An opinion on academia…

Being mired in academia can sometimes be exhausting. The constant rigid adherence to a 10-week timeline and flow of assignments and meetings form a bubble around those invested in education, so it sometimes is hard to remember that there is a whole world out there that doesn’t behave in this peculiar way.

While browsing the Special Collections for a (surprise) school project, it was then very funny and surprising to hear two of my favorite authors wryly discuss the pitfalls of education.

In a letter to Joanna Russ, Samuel Delany wrote about how professors in academia are likely to think of the world’s whole range of human intelligence as perfectly represented in the gap between their worst and best students. He explained that since these professors are surrounded with learning minds all day, they sometimes can get trapped in the mindset that the whole human race works on the same sliding scale. (Is there a ring of truth to that, Stabile? Hopefully in teaching FemSciFi this term your worldview is markedly more positive than some other terms.)

Delany, at the time of the letter’s writing in 1971, had taken some classes at City College of New York but had not yet become a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia. He had also attended the semi-prestigious Bronx High School of Science, so Delany was no stranger to teachers and their (sometimes exasperated, sometimes optimistic) attitude towards students.


Ada Test Site

For experiments!

Ada Journal Review

Review site for the Ada Journal

James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award

"Best way to teach flying is to fly." - Joanna Russ

Queer Geek Theory

"Best way to teach flying is to fly." - Joanna Russ

Comments for SF Signal

"Best way to teach flying is to fly." - Joanna Russ

io9

"Best way to teach flying is to fly." - Joanna Russ

Ursula K. Le Guin: New on the Website

"Best way to teach flying is to fly." - Joanna Russ