Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin: speaking for myself

Oh very well. Buried among my un-uploaded web files, I found one of my collected Le Guin book reviews, and another of the introduction to her work that I wrote when she was Mythcon Guest of Honor in 1988. I prepared these when I first put up a personal web page in the early 2000s, but I never loaded them, I'm not sure why. Oh yes, I remember why I didn't load the essay: it was already seriously outdated by then, and I meant to add annotations, a la UKL's own reprinting of From Elfland to Poughkeepsie, but I never did that either. Well, I'm not doing it right now, but I can put the files up.

So here's what I had to say about the living Le Guin, and it will speak for what I wish to say now.

The 1988 introduction, unrevised.

The reviews, except for:

Gifts, Voices, and Powers, which I had already uploaded for some other commitment.

And lastly, a favorite recent Le Guin quote, from the essay "Living in a Work of Art", on her childhood Maybeck home, from her recent collection Words Are My Matter. Here's a variant on Hide-&-Seek that I didn't know, but admire the ingenuity of:
Does anybody play Sardines any more? For Sardines, you have to have a large house, quite a lot of people, and darkness. One person is It. Everybody but It waits noisily in one room, long enough for It to find a hiding place somewhere else - under a bed, in the broom closet, in the bathtub, anywhere It pleases. Then the lights go off, and separately, in silence, everyone hunts for It. When you find It, you say nothing: you simply join It in the hiding place. If that's a broom closet there may be room for quite a few; if it's under a bed, there are problems. One by one other humans find the site, and squash themselves into the sardine can, and suffocate giggles, and try not to move, until at last the final hunter finds them and they all burst free at once. It's a good game. Our house, with its endless nooks and corners, was a perfect Sardines house.

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