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Desc:“We Will Need Writers Who Can Remember Freedom”
Category:Arts, Business
Tags:science fiction, capitalism, hope, Ursula Le Guin, National Book Foundation
Submitted:Pillager
Date:11/22/14
Views:1301
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Comment count is 30
Rodents of Unusual Size
I love her. But if I ever make it as a writer, I'm selling the fuck out.
baleen
Le Guin can say this because she's made it as a literary author, a small and virtually impossible eschelon to get into and actually make any money.

You usually pitch a book, the editor and publisher or agent say, "As is, I can't sell it. Nobody is going to buy it." Then you cut 1/5 of it, make it punchier, listening to your editor all the way, and then you give it back to your agent, and then they either say "This is still shit and I can't sell it" or "Thanks for this, I can sell this." You need them, because the publisher is your shark tank or dragon's den, they do all the work that writers can't do. The PR, marketing, distribution, accounting.

There is a new kind of writer that I call a social media spectacle. They share the process of writing, even if their writing is awful, and their charisma, charm, and just the focus on support that they offer fans makes them commercial writers. Writing is no longer an art form in and of itself, it is a club. You can cosplay as a writer, all you have to do is write and tell other people that you love their writing. It's like a pyramid scheme of non or vaguely talented people shoveling money onto one another's saddles and 5-starring all their work wherever it appears. Really weird, but there you have it.

Rodents of Unusual Size
I mean I guess she's bitter over adaptations of her work being truly shitty and I feel for her because the director of the Earthsea miniseries actually refused to talk to her or take advice from her (!) and then it wound up being boring and uninspiring.

But yeah, you pretty much have to look at marketability, and where you would fit in as a writer. If you have a different take on a genre subject, it has to be done in a way that doesn't alienate the reader too much. There are a million ways to do that and it takes studying what does make it in order to do it yourself, like it or not.

ashtar.
*fist pump*
infinite zest
Ursula's so cool. I had the pleasure of meeting her on regular occasions at company events and fundraisers she'd show up to, and for years I didn't even realize who I was talking to.
infinite zest
sorry, geeked out a little there and couldn't write a coherent sentence.

cognitivedissonance
I met Vince Guaraldi as a kid and had no fucking clue who he was.

ashtar.
I was Neil Gaiman for several months and didn't even realize it.

yogarfield
We've come full circle because I'm pretty sure I've heard these stories before.

Coggy, he Vince played at your high school or something like that?

infinite zest
Ashtar wins, but yeah I think Wizard of Earthsea was the third book I ever read alone, after The Hobbit and Watership Down, I believe in that order. They just sort of sat in the library while everybody was checking out and not returning Redwall and NIMH (our elementary school had pet rats) so she's kind of the reason why I started to like reading and writing in the first place.

Maggot Brain
Reminds me of my two cousins that were both aspiring writers who majored in English. One of them gave up and went back to school to become a baker and other one ended up writing copy for ads.
Dinkin Flicka
My experience has repeatedly confirmed my convictions (as often happens, eh?) that the industries of publishing, film, music, and (although it's a bit more concentrated) theatre are ridiculously fucked up. I hope your two cousins the utmost contentment with what they have and, if they so desire, that they write for pleasure on the side (being a baker sounds nice, too).

Maggot Brain
Things seemed to work for the baker, he's all fat and happy now. The last time I saw the other one he looked like he got assimilated into the LA douche bag machine.

baleen
The Earthsea books were the first "young adult" books that I read, in 6th grade. They remain my favorite books, and one of the reasons why I can't get into Harry Potter, a muffled echo of the brilliance of the story of Ged.

I saw her speak at the Elliott Bay Bookstore when I was maybe 13-14 years old, when her books were still alive in my memory. I still think about that lecture, it was brilliant. Really an amazing and underappreciated talent.

Plus what they did to Earthsea on that shitty soap opera adaptation on Syfy was unforgivable.
Dinkin Flicka
What about this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tales_from_Earthsea_%28film%29

baleen
It inhabits a special place in my head that I don't want associated with Studio Ghibli.

I'm not the biggest anime fan, I like some of it, but it would have to be a film for me, and it would have to be directed by somebody that really understands high fantasy, epics, archetypes in storytelling, mythology etc. I guess Peter Jackson could kinda pull it off, but I'd like to see an outsider with a track record of producing deeper stuff to give it a shot.

EvilHomer
>> but I'd like to see an outsider with a track record of producing deeper stuff to give it a shot.


Nick Bravo?

That guy
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Kid Fenris
Always good to hear from her.

Also, Daniel Handler looks like Rob Ford there at the end.
yogarfield
I will die before I write copy.

Also fun fact: Philip K. Dick and Le Guin went to the same high school and never spoke to one another until years later.
Dinkin Flicka
They also share middle initials. Our first mistake was not doing the same.

yogarfield
Are you trying to cyber me? Are we to make the fuck these two never made? Can sex be, and is Love real?

Dinkin, let's go out back.

Dinkin Flicka
!!

I'm blushing!

EvilHomer
When I was little, I had a copy of the Wizard of Earthsea. My mom bought it for me at a sleepy little used bookstore in upstate Massachusetts, where she and my dad would meet to hand me over for our biweekly custody visits. The book's previous owner had taken a black magic marker and, in big bold letters scrawled across the fore-edge pages, written the word "FUCK".

That is all I can think about whenever someone mentions Ursula Le Guin.
Old People
When I was 15-16 I worked at the Public Library. I was a little shit, and I created for myself the superhero persona of "The Library Avenger", which meant that among other things I would flip to the scariest parts of the Steven King books and profusely illustrate them with googly-eyed vampires and crudely-drawn ghosts with huge shlongs.

Old People
You know, the Internet has actually ushered in an age of unprecedented global freedom, so five stars for fogey alarmism.
Dinkin Flicka
yeah i know right cuz shes totally not in touch w reality here

PS. Your username, hypocrite!

Old People
I'm sure she's right in the head, but I think she's taking a fashionably dire point of view while neglecting the efflorescence of global information-sharing that is taking place while she is in her dotage.
As for my username, young man, I'll have you know that being a member of the Better Than Your Generation gives me an admirable perch from whence to critique my colleagues in senescence. Now, for the last time, get off my damn lawn and go flick your dinkins in someone else's toolshed!

Dinkin Flicka
You are far more mellifluous and sagacious than I initially gave you credit for, sir, and I should not have treated you to such grammar-hatcheting sardonicism. I do not & cannot fully believe you're as old as you're intimating (just as you ought not assume that I am as young as the voice with which you read my words sounds in your head) -- out of my abiding attempt to be mindful of my/our epistemological limits, which itself is not unrelated to my grave disagreement to your sanguine take on the internet, its unprecedented global freedom (how hard do you suppose it would be for you to find out who I am, how old I am, and where exactly I have typed this comment from?), and its efflorescence of global information-sharing (if it's so efflorescent in its global information-sharing, then why, if scientists claim global warming is 'unequivocally' linked to anthropogenic causes, are our elected representatives not implementing a solution on a global scale [or any scale, for that matter] at a speed that said scientists are comfortable with? NB: I do not believe it is because the science is in fact bad, nor do I believe that the information has not effloresced-- it just would have and could have happened without without the internet, and, I could hypothesize, with far greater efficacy-- in a manner that did not require so much expended energy from the earth [electricity, plastics for computer components, etc], so little energy expenditure from the person [a few thousand synapses], and so much empty debate in every voice on the internet speaking with equal volume and granted equal authority in the democratic forums we all welcome, loathe, and have become, often unknowingly, trapped within). I would demand an answer from you and posthaste too, but since the sun has long set over the parts of the planet where I assume you are at this very second, I will only bid you and all your kind sweet dreams.

Wait a minute, none of this has to do with what she said! I don't think she even mentioned it in the video! and I am too old now to rewatch it.

Old People
You're right; I'm 34. I just thought Old People was a funny username.
And yeah, we're fucking up the environment post-haste, but I do believe that in the meantime the Internet serves as a wonderful way for people to connect and share stuff (https://secure.avaaz.org/en/ climate_march_reportback/), and for those unfortunates who live in authoritarian countries to get the word out about injustice in a way that never used to be possible (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/06/04/be-you r-own-tank- man/). Keep your chin up!
I'm in the States and fixing to head overseas on a contract soon, either Panama or Iraq depending on the whim of my wicked paymasters, and I'm squandering my remaining free time by getting messed up and dicking around on the internet and not getting laid. But I'm in the Western Hemisphere for now, so good night to you too!

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