Hi all, here are some excerpts from this upcoming documentary, produced and directed by Arwen Curry. I got to see the film early because I was part of the Kickstarter campaign that funded the film. It’s a wonderful portrait of LeGuin as a writer, with comments by other writers include Samuel Delany, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell and many others, as well as members of her family.
“I don’t talk about rules because I have come to believe that every story must make its own rules… and obey them.”
“I start pretty much with place, and then the people grow up in the place.”
“Every time you think you’ve found the way, the way changes.”
“In winter, he was sent across Roke Island to the furthest, northmost cape, where stands the Isolate Tower. There, by himself, lived the master namer. Kurremkarmerruk sat on a high seat, writing down lists of names that must be learned before the ink faded at midnight, leaving the parchment blank again. You might say, he who must be sea master must know the true name of every drop of water in the sea. Magic exists in most societies, in one way or another. In one of the forms it exists in a lot of places, is if you know a thing’s true name, you have power over the thing, or the person. And, of course, it’s irresistable because I’m a writer, I use words. And knowing the names of things is… I do magic! I do make up things that didn’t exist before, by naming them. I call it Earthsea, and there it is! It exists! So I had this total parallel between wizards and artists to play with.”
“In Omelas, I was setting up a question about where they might be going, the ones who walk away from injustice, and in my novel The Dispossesed, I wanted to go deeper into that question. This was the late 60s - people were asking, ‘What might a perfect society look like?’ A society that was not based on oppression? And thinking about that question brought me to non violent anarchism. I think anarchist thinking is one of those profoundly radical ways of thinking that is very fruitful, very generative. The more I read in anarchism, the more I realised it was the only major political theory that hadn’t had a utopia written about it. And I thought, well that would be fun! That.would be cool! Then I could kind of, begin figuring out what would a genuine working anarchist society be like? In The Disposessed, a revolutionary group has abandoned their capitalist, Earthlike world to create a just and free society on their moon, with no gender dominance, no coercive government, no private ownership… I knew from the start that it contained its own betrayal. No human society can just find perfection and sit there. That’s not how things work.”
There are much much, more, these are simply some of the texts that spoke most strongly to me…