Writing about everything from aging to a Christmas tree to an encounter with a rattlesnake, Ursula K. Le Guin will have you thinking about what matters, too.
At the age of 81, Ursula K. Le Guin, the award-winning novelist, was inspired to start a blog, (though she never liked the sound of the word “blog”).
One of Le Guin’s concerns about blogging was the potential for “limitless” conversations with strangers, saying, “I am much too introverted to want to do that at all.”
But after reading the blog by Portuguese writer, José Saramago – who did not interact directly with his readers – Le Guin decided to give blogging a try.
The best of these blog posts became “No Time to Spare”. In this collection, Le Guin makes it clear that she has no time to spare, especially for people who tell her, “You’re only as old as you think you are!”
To tell me my old age doesn’t exist is to tell me I don’t exist. Erase my age, you erase my life – me.
Le Guin describes herself as an “implacable editor” when it comes to language and its specificity. She doesn’t believe in evolution, she accepts the theory of evolution; there’s a difference. The theory of evolution isn’t a matter of faith, but of evidence.
The idea that only belief sees the world as wonderful, and the “cold hard facts” of science take all the color and wonder out of it...is just hokum…I wish we could stop using the word belief in matters of fact, leaving it where it belongs, in matters of religious faith and secular hope.
Le Guin’s beliefs do extend to a real Christmas tree, a definite presence in the room, especially if the tree is placed near a window.
I believe a Christmas tree should be seen from outside and also should be able to see outside. To be exact, I don’t think a tree can see, but it may be aware of light and darkness….Holding darkness in it, a forest darkness, in the green arms held out so calmly, steadily, without effort.
When visiting a California ranch, Le Guin comes upon another definite presence. She hears a noise she recognizes: the hissing buzz of a rattlesnake’s rattles.
Startled by my movements, it was heading off into the high grass. About fifteen feet away it looked back, saw me looking at it, and stopped there, its head up and facing me and its gaze fixed on me. As mine was fixed on it...They say a snake’s gaze is hypnotic, but who was hypnotizing whom?
Throughout this volume, Le Guin is able to charm her readers, whether describing the antics of her cat or her jealousy of other writers.
For this collection of writings, Le Guin won the Hugo Award and the PEN Award for the Art of the Essay.
See more Books to Read:
The Reader on the 6.27
Once Upon a Tome
Read This for Inspiration
Vivian Maier Developed
Jane Austen: A Life
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