Dear Mr. Samuel Delany,
I didn’t start with Dhalgren; I had to build up to that. I started with a slender, beautiful volume containing Nova and Babel-17, on display next to a picture of you. You looked like family to me. Then I read Dhalgren, at times turning the book sideways in my hands, looking under and around it for clues, feeling the world. This was a new way to read: feeling everything, relinquishing the familiar. You made me blush, you made me start considering the decimal system to measure my new loves, you showed me how brave it is to write yourself into the future as an object of desire.
And then I read in your autobiography that you were living these explorations of pleasure as a radical, world-changing practice. Your writing and life suggested to me that pleasure was a way to claim race, class, ability, body size, beauty, gender, and other marginalizing tools as distinctions of sensual relevance, potential delights in a delicious world. I call myself a pleasure activist and a sci-fi writer, and I thank you for being a beacon in the dark for strange, beautiful, black desires and liberations.
With respect, love, and gratitude,
Give today to support the Stories for Chip campaign to fund an anthology of fiction and essays on honor of Samuel Delany (who made my life today by commenting on this note on the facebook)…if you’re not familiar with his groundbreaking work, go read all of it!