Ursula K. LeGuin

Ursula K. LeGuin was one of the first writers I came across when I discovered fantasy fiction.  I found her Earthsea Trilogy fascinating in concept, absorbing in detail, captivating in character… and ultimately, disappointing in its philosophy.  Still, I hold a deep love for the second book, and the work as a whole sparked my early interest in Taoism.

She was a profound influence on modern fantasy and science fiction… John Scalzi described her as “the spiritual mother of generations of writers.”  She was an outspoken feminist and a strong believer in the moral and intellectual value of SF&F.  She believed passionately in the power of imagination to make the world a better place.

I can’t think of a more fitting epitaph for her than her own words:

“Only in silence the word,
Only in dark the light,
Only in dying life:
Bright the hawk’s flight
On the empty sky.

—The Creation of Éa”

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Hole in my heart

My mother died yesterday,
And there is a hole in my heart.
She was not an angel,
She was not a saint,
She was my Mom.
She was a good person, a good Mom.
She was smart, funny, kind, generous.
She loved me very much.
I loved her very much.
This has not changed.
She had a long life;
I think it was a good life.
Now she is gone from here,
And so there is a hole in my heart;
I do not know when it will heal.

J.A.E. 1934-2017
Hail the traveler!

Esta Noche

Something inspired by our recent trip to Oaxaca for Dia de los Muertos:

Esta Noche (Atzompa Cemetery, Hallowe’en)

The carnival chaos beyond the gates
Fades to candle-flicker, marigold glow,
Copal and mezcal wafting in the air.
A quieter bustle reigns here, under
The pulsing music. Solemn watchers
Everywhere you look- reserved but
Not resentful of us interlopers. Children
Drowse graveside, couples cuddle, and
All around the dead flit, catching at
The corners of our eyes, like the fleeting
Glance of a painted face, skull brought
Briefly above the skin.  We find graves
Lonely, less tended, light candles and
Place them in reassurance: no one,
No soul is left alone tonight.