She’s making the rounds to promote the reissue of her writing book, Steering The Craft. I would have loved to buy that book at Powells but it had sold out by the time I arrived. So I grabbed a trade paperback of The Left Hand of Darkness, probably my favorite of her books anyway, and waited in the long long long line for her to sign it. 🙂
Before the signing started, though, she spoke briefly about Steering The Craft, writing in general, and then also took questions. Here are some of the things she said that I enjoyed enough to write down:
“Every story must make its own rules and obey them.”
“You can learn to deserve your gift. To make something well is to give yourself tooling.”
“When Tahanu came out, all the male scifi critics said, (whiny voice) ‘Oh! she’s turning into a feminist and ranting at us!'” (This whiny voice was HILARIOUS btw.)
She mentioned she has three desks — the one where she answers paper correspondence when she can, the one where the cat sleeps, and the one with the big Mac (computer) on it.
What she’s reading now: Elena Ferrante, and next up is Jane Smiley as recommended by her daughter.
“I guess I was just arrogant and determined.” — on why she kept writing after so many years of not being published
“No one knows where publishing is going — it’s a real mess. And it’s hard on you young writers. It wasn’t so good when I was writing, and it’s worse now. But the readers and writers will find each other, even if our publishing system is kind of a bust.”
“Don’t let the old guys scare you; they’re kind of on the way out.” — on being a woman writing in a men’s world (as you can imagine this got a lot of laughter and applause)
Born in 1929, Ms. Le Guin is a national treasure (and a Portland resident)! I hope we have many more years to enjoy her.