James Tiptree Jr. was a writer who (he once said) longed to stop sweating over words and drafts and instead storm naked with a hard-on waving thru the world spouting whatever comes. He was a man who (he once said) shaved and put on lotion before reading a letter of a woman, or writing one. He was she. She, like Woolf, didn’t want to write for half the world. She disliked her first name, Alice, it belonged to her mother, who chose it because it had no nickname. She overcame this cruelty and more. She took a man’s mind, and wrote. Most of her stories ended in death. On May 19, 1987, when she was seventy-one and her husband eighty-four, she shot him and then herself. She observed and learned from shooting him: she had wrapped a towel around her head, so it wasn’t bloody and messy.
The double life of Alice B. Sheldon, Julie Phillips