On Saturday Catmandeux and I took the long trip across the country, from the East Coast to the West. Southwest Airlines has many advantages for flyers, including being able to change reservations without penalty, which is why I like it. What Southwest does not provide is ample space for a 16-pound cat to fit comfortably under a seat. Then somehow I forgot that Saturdays are when families—large families with lots of children—travel. So between inadequate room for the cat and my feet and all the kiddie hubbub, it felt like the longest trip of my life. And then this morning Catmandeux woke me up to feed him at 3:30 a.m., because he was still on East Coast time and thought it was 6:30.
With all that behind me, I decided to do something I enjoy, which in this case was framing large photos and prints. I put on the news to catch up with the world while I was working, but after 15 minutes of conspiracy theories about Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide and horror stories about El Paso, Dayton and the Mississippi workplace raids, I turned to PBS for solace. The American Masters series has a new episode, The Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, about the life and work of the famous science fiction writer.
I have never read science fiction; it isn’t a genre that has interested me. Well! After an hour of listening to and about Le Guin, I must look into her work now. And I hope you will, too. She was so much more than a writer of science fiction; her work reflected her knowledge of cultural anthropology, Jungian theory and Taoism. She is considered by Michael Chabon to be the greatest writer of her generation.
Ursula Kroeber Le Guin was the mother of three children, married to the historian Charles Le Guin for 65 years. During all that time, she wrote and wrote: short stories, poetry, many books of fiction and reflections on life. I cannot begin to explain how complex and forthright she was. You need to watch “The Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin” on PBS and listen to her yourself. And did I mention she loved cats? I’ll end with this wonderful Le Guin quote on the absurdity of denying your age: “If I’m ninety and believe I’m forty-five, I’m headed for a very bad time trying to get out of the bathtub.”
Have a good week!