Friday, October 17, 2014

Ursula LeGuin, Introducing Him/Herself

It's no secret that I love the writing of Ursula LeGuin. When asked for the title of my favorite book, I have a hard time coming up with anything other than The Dispossessed, even though I first read it when I was 15.

Despite my love of LeGuin, my knowledge of her complete works is less than perfect. I just found out about an essay she wrote in the late 1980s called Introducing Myself, which makes me appreciate her writing even more, if that's possible. In it, she deals with age, gender, and the presentation of the self with such humor that I can't even say anything worth saying about it. Here's one excerpt:

I don’t have a gun and I don’t have even one wife and my sentences tend to go on and on and on, with all this syntax in them. Ernest Hemingway would have died rather than have syntax. Or semicolons. I use a whole lot of half-assed semicolons; there was one of them just now; that was a semicolon after “semicolons,” and another one after “now.”

And another thing. Ernest Hemingway would have died rather than get old. And he did. He shot himself. A short sentence. Anything rather than a long sentence, a life sentence. Death sentences are short and very, very manly. Life sentences aren’t. They go on and on, all full of syntax and qualifying clauses and confusing references and getting old.
I'm not sure how much of the essay is included on the linked site (Brain Pickings). I guess I'll have to check out a copy of the book of essays where it was published in 2004, The Wave in the Mind.

1 comment:

Gina said...

I was going to say, "Wave of the Mind." Another Le Guin fan first told me about this essay collection. Did I ever tell you that she left me a comment at my Perceval blog? I'd written a post about an article she wrote for The Writer. One of those wow moments. She was very supportive.