I’m not the first to write a post about the passing of Le Guin, and I doubt I’ll be the last. I wrote the below on Wednesday morning, the day after her death was announced. It was part of my morning hand-written pages, so coherency might be lacking, but I wanted to put it up anyway.
Ursula K Le Guin’s death was announced yesterday (she died on the 22nd). It fucking sucks. Ever word I read of her fiction was absolutely gorgeous, and her nonfiction always seemed whip-smart. If I could turn into one author when I grew up, I would want to be her. She’s just a legend of the field. perhaps even more importantly she’s one of the few legends who took a serious look at gender, sexuality, and love. Who wrote about POC consistently. Who was a woman. Who wasn’t a cishet white dude who jacked off to thrust calculations while making every protagonist exactly like himself.
I’m thankful she’s at least left us an amazing corpus of work. I look forward to continuing to read through it. I’d also love to read a collection of her essays and speeches, so I could make sure I hadn’t randomly missed anything when I go searching.
I hope I can be half the writer she was someday.
I actually haven’t read too much of her stuff. I had The Wizard of Earthsea read to me as a child, and finally re-read it a couple years ago. I read Very Far Away From Anywhere Else, which I seem to remember thinking was good, even if it didn’t live up to the image I had constructed from online reviews at the time.
Still, her work was excellent. Still is. I plan on reading either Steering the Craft or Left Hand of Darkness next. I bookmarked at least one essay, too.
I suppose it’d be good to take a lesson from Ged, here, who held his boat together with sheer force of will when he had to, and who eventually barreled towards the end of the Earthsea to embrace his darkness. The only way through is to keep going, to not let fear get the better of us, and to accept our whole selves. Hopefully with a friend alongside us. And, as Le Guin said, to do our work the best that we can.
I think it’s all we can do. But I think it’ll be enough, maybe even to change the world.
RIP, Ms. Le Guin. You left a legacy, and the world is poorer for your absence. I hope our ships pass on the Earthsea someday. I can only imagine how much fun you’d have steering the craft.