“You’re always using a persona when you’re writing, and there’s a certain amount of distortion for effect, especially with writers, and the story that is told to an audience of one may not be the complete story. But the story I want to tell you here—and it’s an unofficial story, full of outtakes and digressions—is about who your friends can help you to become, when you’re alone and don’t know what to say or which self to be.”
The text of my talk for the Tiptree Symposium, given on December 4, 2015, is out now in the April 2016 issue of the literary science fiction journal The Cascadia Subduction Zone. In ‘“I Begin to Meet You at Last”: On the Tiptree-Russ-Le Guin Correspondence’ I spoke about Alice Sheldon’s exchanges with her two closest pen-friends, and more generally about archives and letters, friendship and the joy of encountering like minds.
If you wait long enough for it to load, you can watch the talk on video at http://media.uoregon.edu/channel/archives/10353.
In part 2 of the symposium video, http://media.uoregon.edu/channel/archives/10366, at about 26:15, you can hear Ursula Le Guin read the magnificent letter she wrote to Alice Sheldon after Alli ‘came out’ to her as Tiptree.
Ursula Le Guin reading, me tearing up. Photo: Nina Kiriki Hoffman