In memory of Ursula
Ursula Le Guin passed away on Monday of last week, and since then I've felt oddly like I have a hole in my chest.
The only time I can remember feeling similarly was when Nora Ephron left us, but my devastation over the loss of Nora felt more... obvious. That is to say, I'd unapologetically adored Nora's work for half my life, whereas I didn't read Ursula's books until college. It would follow, in my logical brain, that losing Nora would feel worse than losing Ursula. But that's never the case with grief, is it. Grief is weird and incomparable. If I've learned anything from celebrating the lives of these two women, that would be it.
As I read articles and tributes to Ursula last week, it struck me that I will never get to tell her how deeply her words have affected me, how much her very existence has made me want to be a better writer, a gentler writer, a stronger writer, a softer writer. Also, a better human, a gentler human, a stronger human, a softer human. That knowledge widens the hole in my chest even now.
But more than that, there's something about knowing that she (perhaps unintentionally, at times) raised an entire generation of science fiction/fantasy readers, and now she is gone. She was all of our mother. We felt strangely connected to this woman we'd largely never had the opportunity to meet, and now there is nothing but silence on the other end of the tin can telephone line. That leaves a vacancy.
Maybe because I don't feel like I can sit in that silence quite yet, or maybe because I am clinging to echoes of her voice, I'm posting a few of my favorite Ursula interviews, tributes, and stories here. Thank you, Ursula, for your huge and beautiful voice.