December 5, 2018

Ursula Le Guin

American novelist Ursula Le Guin was my kind of person. It seems to me that she spoke the truth as she saw it. Perhaps that is why her thoughts and ideas aren't more well known.

Le Guin passed away at the beginning of the year, and The New York Times actually noted the solemn event in their obituary pages, possibly due to a Mother Jones story in 2013 that found that only about 21% of the Times' obituaries were for women.

Maybe things are getting better.

Her outlook on things make a lot of sense to me. The two most important things to her were

1. family, and 

2. being creative. 

She once said that she enjoyed housework. I think she probably enjoyed just about everything, and took nothing for granted.

Here are a few of my favourite quotes by this amazing writer:

“A decision worthy of the name is based on observation, factual information, intellectual and ethical judgment. Opinion—that darling of the press, the politician, and the poll—may be based on no information at all.” 

“I’d like a poster showing two old people with stooped backs and arthritic hands and time-worn faces sitting talking, deep, deep in conversation. And the slogan would be “Old Age Is Not for the Young.” 

“It goes right back to the idea of the Power of Positive Thinking, which is so strong in America because it fits in so well with the Power of Commercial Advertising and with the Power of Wishful Thinking, aka the American Dream.” 

“Spare time is the time not spent at your job or at otherwise keeping yourself.” 

“None of this is spare time. I can’t spare it.” 

“It appears that we've given up on the long-range view. That we've decided not to think about consequences—about cause and effect. Maybe that's why I feel that I live in exile. I used to live in a country that had a future.” 

Ursula Le Guin passed on at the beginning of this year, January 22, 2018. She was 88.


  1. Great ideas, that woman.

    1. "A bad idea, like a lie, can travel have way around the globe while the good idea (the truth) is putting on its shoes", to riff off of Mark Twain. It is amazing how we can collectively ignore the messages and truths of good people trying to help us. How wise we could be if continuous learning and self-improvement were the goal.

  2. I am always learning new things on this site, and today I learned the name of a kindred spirit. From her I will learn even more things as the ripple of knowledge continues outward. Thank you, Gregg, for continuously expanding my ideas through sharing these posts. Nancy

    1. Long may the knowledge ripple! Learning together is where it is at. Thanks for reading, and sharing your thoughts.

  3. Anonymous12/06/2018

    The thoughts on spare time were especially appealing to me today. Thank you for bringing her ideas to light.
    And isn't it unbelievable that women are still so underrepresented in all areas of culture? Men are seen as the culture makers, but women are culture. But I may be biased, being a woman. ;)

    This sort of non-recognition happens in spades in the art world. Often, life-long female artists aren't given any institutional recognition until they reach their 80s. !! And then, the curators that "discover" then pat themselves on the back for being inclusive. I have a be in my bonnet about all this, obviously.

    I've been reading Anne Lamott and dear dear Barabara Kingsolver lately. I love women writers. -Erin

    1. Linda and I are with you on this one. My mother raised me to be sensitive to such things, and I thank her for that. How can one dismiss the contributions of 50% of the population based on what kind of genitals they have, or rather, don't have?

  4. Your blog is swoon-worthy. Ursula is one of my heroes!

  5. Anonymous12/08/2018

    I first read Le Guin over forty years ago, "The Wizard of Earthsea". This quote still stays with me.
    “And he began to see the truth, that Ged had neither lost nor won but, naming the shadow of his death with his own name, had made himself whole: a man who, knowing his whole true self, cannot be used or possessed by any power other than himself, and whose life therefore is lived for life's sake and never in the service of ruin, or pain, or hatred, or the dark.”

    Life is not about winning or losing or even keeping score, but living the best life you were meant to live. I particularly like her thoughts on "spare time". Ed

  6. Ed,

    Thanks for sharing that fantastic quote. Love it. Here's to living the best possible lives we were meant to live.


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