I begin by evoking the communal loss of Octavia Butler. My grief is compounded by having no one in the nursing home with whom to share the sense of startled bereavment. I remember reading "BloodChild" and calling my father with whom I shared a lifelong love of SF. It was he who bought me a subscription to John W. Campbell's Analog for my 12 or 13th birthday-- maybe both committing me for life to genre. I would later return the favor, subscribing for him and then moving to Asimov's mag where yes, I met, found Octavia butler and followed her ever since ( http://explorers.whyte.com/sf/bch.htm).
From Octavia Butler, I learned the subtle lesson about pernicious hierarchy in humans, and reexamined power. She wrenched and inspired, tittilated and thrilled from Clay's Ark to Wild Seed to Dawn, all the body swapping, mutating, mind changing,wolrd leaping, consciousness twirling unfurling possibility on possibility.
To lose such a pole star and pathfinder as my own reach is shortened, hurts. And it's drag to be in a place like this when such loss occurs.