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I Will Admit To Some Distraction Today

Webcomics tomorrow; today belongs still to someone bigger.

The news yesterday could not, in truth, have been unexpected — the death of an 88 year old can never be said to be unexpected — but that took none of its sting. Ursula K Le Guin exited this world yesterday (very much, I expect, on her own terms, as that was how she had behaved for all her preceding days), and we are the poorer for it.

I knew that loss would come some day and I knew it would cause me sorrow because there are those people whom we all agree bear the spark of greatness and wisdom. I knew that some others surely must have felt as I did.

I underestimated by a considerable degree to which Ursula K Le Guin influenced very nearly every single person I know, those who are publicly creative and those who are less so. She existed as part of the background of our lives, so universally present we didn’t remark on it until we marked its absence. It is not possible to compare any one person’s death to another, but in the keenness of loss, she seemed to take her place next to Prince and Bowie. But there was more this time.

As before, person after person spoke of the joy they took in creative mastery, about the comfort they took from a body of work. But beyond they they spoke of how she fundamentally inspired their own work, shaped their ways of thinking, opened their eyes to different ways of looking at the world. It shouldn’t surprise me, this depth of love and loss. It doesn’t; who could fail to love Ursula K Le Guin, after all? And at the same time it does; who could possibly have drawn meaning from her as profoundly as me? Damn near everybody that had ever heard of her, as it turns out.

And there is the comfort I take, that everybody that took meaning and inspiration from Ursula K Le Guin did so in many ways that were similar, and each of us in a direction or two that was singular. The conversation we are now having about what she meant to us is revealing things I might never have found on my own. Without any further words, she directs this conversation and guides us to be better than we were.

And for somebody that stood her ground with cussed determination and brooked no fools gladly, the familiar rest in peace seems insufficient. So revel in stubbornness, Ursula K Le Guin, and forgive us if we don’t get it all as right as we should as quickly as we should. We’ll get there eventually, and we’ll find you were shouting encouragement to us all along.

Spam of the day:

Click for dating online

What percentage of dating profiles do you figure include some variation on Must love Ursula K Le Guin? I’m betting more than there were at the start of the week.

I used to read a lot of science fiction back in the ’70’s and ’80’s. Not so much anymore. And I was mostly a “hard” science fiction fan. But I do remember reading The Left Hand Of Darkness and finding it both entertaining and thoughtful. She’ll be missed.

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