Some love for Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin was my mother’s favourite author. Mum kept encouraging me to read her books, but I have always found her writing difficult to focus on; although her prose is beautiful, I find it takes quite a lot of effort and thought to read and it’s sometimes a bit much for my ADD brain. When I have managed to persevere with her books, however, I have been amply rewarded: The Dispossessed is one of my all-time favourite novels and I also loved A Very Long Way from Anywhere Else.

What prompted me to write this post, however, was not Le Guin’s books but her blogging. She writes at the Book View Cafe Blog, along with several other cool authors, and also at her website. And she has written a story and posted it on her blog: Ninety-Nine Weeks: A Fairy Tale. It’s a pretty depressing fable about poverty and unemployment, and although I could make a small quibble about the coal versus wood economics in the first couple of paragraphs, it is well worth reading. She ends it with some sobering facts and figures about unemployment in the USA.

After reading this story I started searching through the archives at Le Guin’s website and I found this gem: A letter to The Oregonian from October. On the power of demonstrations, she writes:

They [previous demonstrations] were about nuclear bomb testing that put strontium-90 in our kids’ milk. They were about a misguided war in Viet Nam. They were about civil rights for black people. They were about women’s rights and gay rights. They were about a misguided invasion of Iraq. This one’s about a misguided economic policy combined with a misguided war in Afghanistan.

We stopped testing bombs. We got out of Viet Nam. Civil rights for blacks, women, and gays have moved towards equality. We’re getting out of Iraq. Maybe we’ll get a wiser economic policy and get out of Afghanistan and your editorial writer can forget why there was ever a tent city in downtown Portland.

Whenever I hear people complain about protesters and idealists, this is what I want to say. Whenever someone claims that protesting doesn’t achieve anything, this is what I want to say. Whenever I hear someone complaining that feminists/LGBT folk/people of colour/Occupy Wall Street protesters are too “shrill” or “angry” and should “calm down”, this is what I want to say. Disadvantaged groups don’t get their rights by asking nicely. I can’t think of any major advances in the rights of disadvantaged groups that were made without  those people having to protest, to fight for their rights.

Thank you, Ms. Le Guin, for your excellent books and for your thoughtful blog posts. Thank you for not staying silent on Occupy Wall Street; thank you for writing and being a vocal ally.

Finally, a link to, a site for published authors who support OWS. Several have contributed short pieces of original writing in support of the movement.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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