Ursula K. Le Guin quotes

  • Music is another way of thinking, or maybe thinking is another kind of music.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Music #Thinking #Way

  • The creative adult is the child who has survived.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Children #Creativity #Creative

  • A person who believes, as she did, that things fit: that there is a whole of which one is a part, and that in being a part one is whole: such a person has no desire whatever, at any time, to play God. Only those who have denied their being yearn to play at it.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Believe #Play #Desire

  • Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Love #Life #Romantic

  • I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries-the realists of a larger reality.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Real #Technology #Thinking

  • Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art - the art of words.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Art #Resistance

  • Nobody who says, ‘I told you so’ has ever been, or will ever be, a hero.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Freedom #Hero #Adventure

  • Owning is owing, having is hoarding.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Hoarding #Owing

  • We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel... is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Inspirational #Real #Book

  • The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Matter

  • What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Funny #Depression #Crazy

  • The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Life #Business #Future

  • When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Light #Shadow #Casts

  • There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Writing #Library #Stories

  • It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Motivational #Graduation #Travel

  • If you want your writing to be taken seriously, don't marry and have kids, and above all, don't die. But if you have to die, commit suicide. They approve of that.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Suicide #Taken #Kids

  • We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable - but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Art #Kings #Resistance

  • The book itself is a curious artifact, not showy in its technology but complex and extremely efficient: a really neat little device, compact, often very pleasant to look at and handle, that can last decades, even centuries. It doesn't have to be plugged in, activated, or performed by a machine; all it needs is light, a human eye, and a human mind. It is not one of a kind, and it is not ephemeral. It lasts. It is reliable.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Book #Eye #Technology

  • Fantasy is not antirational, but pararational; not realistic but surrealistic, a heightening of reality. In Freud's terminology, it employs primary not secondary process thinking. It employs archetypes which, as Jung warned us, are dangerous things. Fantasy is nearer to poetry, to mysticism, and to insanity than naturalistic fiction is. It is a wilderness, and those who go there should not feel too safe.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Reality #Thinking #Insanity

  • Change is freedom, change is life. It's always easier not to think for oneself. Find a nice safe hierarchy and settle in. Don't make changes, don't risk disapproval, don't upset your syndics. It's always easiest to let yourself be governed. There's a point, around age twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities. Those who build walls are their own prisoners. I'm going to go fulfil my proper function in the social organism. I'm going to go unbuild walls.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Wall #Nice #Thinking

  • If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Beautiful #Wisdom #Jobs

  • We're each of us alone, to be sure. What can you do but hold your hand out in the dark?
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Dark #Hands

  • We broke the world to make it whole...
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #World #Broke

  • When we're done with it, we may find—if it's a good novel—that we're a bit different from what we were before we read it, that we have been changed a little, as if by having meet a new face, crossed a street we've never crossed before.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #May #Littles #Faces

  • In many college English courses the words “myth” and “symbol” are given a tremendous charge of significance. You just ain’t no good unless you can see a symbol hiding, like a scared gerbil, under every page. And in many creative writing course the little beasts multiply, the place swarms with them. What does this Mean? What does that Symbolize? What is the Underlying Mythos? Kids come lurching out of such courses with a brain full of gerbils. And they sit down and write a lot of empty pomposity, under the impression that that’s how Melville did it.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Writing #Mean #Kids

  • Can true function arise from basic dysfunction?
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Dysfunction #Arise #Function

  • There's a point, around the age of twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Age #Twenties #Virtue

  • Nothing is yours. It is to use. It is to share. If you will not share it, you cannot use it.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Use #Share

  • If you evade suffering you also evade the chance of joy. Pleasure you may get, or pleasures, but you will not be fulfilled. You will not know what it is to come home.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Home #Joy #Suffering

  • The worst walls are never the ones you find in your way. The worst walls are the ones you put there .
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Wall #Acceptance #Way

  • We like to think we live in daylight, but half the world is always dark, and fantasy, like poetry, speaks the language of the night.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Dark #Night #Thinking

  • A child free from the guilt of ownership and the burden of economic competition will grow up with the will to do what needs doing and the capacity for joy in doing it. It is useless work that darkens the heart. The delight of the nursing mother, of the scholar, of the successful hunter, of the good cook, of the skilful maker, of anyone doing needed work and doing it well, - this durable joy is perhaps the deepest source of human affection and of sociality as a whole.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Mother #Children #Growing Up

  • To see that your life is a story while you're in the middle of living it may be a help to living it well.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Stories #May #Helping

  • I never knew anybody . . . who found life simple. I think a life or a time looks simple when you leave out the details.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Simple #Thinking #Details

  • The story is not in the plot but in the telling.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Writing #Stories #Plot

  • And I speak of spiritual suffering! Of people seeing their talent, their work, their lives wasted. Of good minds submitting to stupid ones. Of strength and courage strangled by envy, greed for power, fear of change. Change is freedom, change is life
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Spiritual #Stupid #Envy

  • You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Revolution #Mindfulness #Spirit

  • I think the mystery of art lies in this, that artists’ relationship is essentially with their work — not with power, not with profit, not with themselves, not even with their audience.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Art #Lying #Thinking

  • It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soul.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Evil #Soul

  • When I was young, I had to choose between the life of being and the life of doing. And I leapt at the latter like a trout to a fly. But each deed you do, each act, binds you to itself and to its consequences, and makes you act again and yet again. Then very seldom do you come upon a space, a time like this, between act and act, when you may stop and simply be. Or wonder who, after all, you are.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Space #Deeds #May

  • As you read a book word by word and page by page, you participate in its creation, just as a cellist playing a Bach suite participates, note by note, in the creation, the coming-to-be, the existence, of the music. And, as you read and re-read, the book of course participates in the creation of you, your thoughts and feelings, the size and temper of your soul.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Book #Soul #Feelings

  • Science fiction is not prescriptive; it is descriptive.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Fiction #Science Fiction

  • Our roots are in the dark; the earth is our country. Why did we look up for blessing -- instead of around, and down? What hope we have lies there. Not in the sky full of orbiting spy-eyes and weaponry, but in the earth we have looked down upon. Not from above, but from below. Not in the light that blinds, but in the dark that nourishes, where human beings grow human souls.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Country #Lying #Eye

  • What is an anarchist? One who, choosing, accepts the responsibility of choice.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Responsibility #Choices #Anarchist

  • When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Sleep #Acting #Information

  • To be oneself is a rare thing, and a great one.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Oneself

  • Great artists make the roads; good teachers and good companions can point them out. But there ain't no free rides, baby.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Baby #Teacher #Artist

  • To oppose something is to maintain it.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Law Of Attraction

  • The artist deals with what cannot be said in words. The artist whose medium is fiction does this in words. The novelist says in words what cannot be said in words.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Artist #Doe #Fiction

  • I doubt that the imagination can be suppressed. If you truly eradicated it in a child, he would grow up to be an eggplant.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Growing Up #Children #Eggplant

  • The children of the revolution are always ungrateful, and the revolution must be grateful that it is so.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Children #Grateful #Revolution

  • It had never occurred to me before that music and thinking are so much alike. In fact you could say music is another way of thinking, or maybe thinking is another kind of music.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Writing #Thinking #Way

  • I don’t think ‘science fiction’ is a very good name for it, but it’s the name that we’ve got. It is different from other kinds of writing, I suppose, so it deserves a name of its own. But where I can get prickly and combative is, if I’m just called a sci-fi writer. I’m not. I’m a novelist and poet. Don’t shove me into your damn pigeonhole, where I don’t fit, because I’m all over. My tentacles are coming out of the pigeonhole in all directions.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Writing #Thinking #Names

  • If it were proven that there is no God there would be no religion. ...But also if it were proven that there is a God, there would be no religion.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Inspirational #Life #Would Be

  • Sure, it's simple, writing for kids... Just as simple as bringing them up.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Kids #Writing #Simple

  • Readers, after all, are making the world with you. You give them the materials, but it's the readers who build that world in their own minds.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Writing #Giving #Mind

  • You sit down and you do it, and you do it, and you do it, until you have learned to do it.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Writing #Down And

  • Translation is entirely mysterious. Increasingly I have felt that the art of writing is itself translating, or more like translating than it is like anything else. What is the other text, the original? I have no answer. I suppose it is the source, the deep sea where ideas swim, and one catches them in nets of words and swings them shining into the boat... where in this metaphor they die and get canned and eaten in sandwiches.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Art #Writing #Swings

  • The important thing is not the finding, it is the seeking, it is the devotion with which one spins the wheel of prayer and scripture, discovering the truth little by little.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Inspirational #Prayer #Important

  • There are no right answers to wrong questions.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Peace #Answers

  • Writing makes no noise, except groans, and it can be done everywhere, and it is done alone.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Writing #Noise #Done

  • Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Changed #Humans

  • I think hard times are coming. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries, the realists of a larger reality.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Reality #Thinking #Hard Times

  • As great scientists have said and as all children know, it is above all by the imagination that we achieve perception, and compassion, and hope.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Children #Compassion #Grieving

  • I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Atheist #Liars #Artist

  • See, the thing is, as a writer you are free. You are about the freest person that ever was. Your freedom is what you have bought with your solitude, your loneliness.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Loneliness #Solitude #Persons

  • We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Kings #Divine #Capitalism

  • The fish in the creek said nothing. Fish never do. Few people know what fish think about injustice, or anything else.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Thinking #People #Injustice

  • We need writers who know the difference between the production of a commodity and the practice of an art.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Art #Practice #Differences

  • So the first step out of childhood is made all at once, without looking before or behind, without caution, and nothing held in reserve.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Childhood #Firsts #Steps

  • If a book told you something when you were fifteen, it will tell you it again when you're fifty, though you may understand it so differently that it seems you're reading a whole new book.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Reading #Book #Fifty

  • I think," Tehanu said in her soft, strange voice, "that when I die, I can breathe back the breath that made me live. I can give back to the world all that I didn't do. All that I might have been and couldn't be. All the choices I didn't make. All the things I lost and spent and wasted. I can give them back to the world. To the lives that haven't been lived yet. That will be my gift back to the world that gave me the life I did live, the love I loved, the breath I breathed.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Loss #Thinking #Voice

  • If civilization has an opposite, it is war.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #War #Civilization #Opposites

  • In the tale, in the telling, we are all one blood. Take the tale in your teeth, then, and bite till the blood runs, hoping it's not poison; and we will all come to the end together, and even to the beginning: living, as we do, in the middle.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Running #Writing #Blood

  • Truth is a matter of the imagination.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Imagination #Matter #Truth Is

  • To be whole is to be part; true voyage is return.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Voyages #Return

  • Children know perfectly well that unicorns aren’t real, but they also know that books about unicorns, if they are good books, are true books.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Children #Real #Book

  • But it is one thing to read about dragons and another to meet them.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Dragons

  • While we read a novel, we are insane—bonkers. We believe in the existence of people who aren't there, we hear their voices... Sanity returns (in most cases) when the book is closed.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Believe #Book #Voice

  • We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Peace #Volcanoes #Feminism

  • My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world, and exiles me from it.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Inspirational #Stupid #Equality

  • You can’t crush ideas by suppressing them. You can only crush them by ignoring them. By refusing to think, refusing to change.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Crush #Thinking #Ideas

  • To make a thief, make an owner; to create crime, create laws.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Law #Anarchy #Thieves

  • As a man's real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing,but does only and wholly what he must do...
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Real #Men #Way

  • Capitalism’s grow-or-die imperative stands radically at odds with ecology’s imperative of interdependence and limit. The two imperatives can no longer coexist with each other; nor can any society founded on the myth that they can be reconciled hope to survive. Either we will establish an ecological society or society will go under for everyone, irrespective of his or her status.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Two #Odds #Limits

  • The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pendants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Happiness #Pain #Stupid

  • The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Book #Reading #Writing

  • Morning comes whether you set the alarm or not.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Funny #Morning #Alarms

  • A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Art #Mean #Writing

  • All makers must leave room for the acts of the spirit. But they have to work hard and carefully, and wait patiently, to deserve them.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Writing #Hard Work #Waiting

  • People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Dragons #People #Deny

  • The airport bookstore did not sell books, only bestsellers, which Sita Dulip cannot read without risking a severe systemic reaction.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Book #Airports #Bookstores

  • Nothing said in words ever came out quite even. Things in words got twisted and ran together, instead of staying straight and fitting together.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Together #Twisted #Fitting

  • Anyhow they’re always exceptions. But most women, their only relationship to a man is having. Either owning or being owned.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Men #Exception

  • To see a candle's light one must take it into a dark place.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Inspirational #Dark #Light

  • A man would know the end he goes to, but he cannot know it if he does not turn, and return to his beginning, and hold that beginning in his being. If he would not be a stick whirled and whelmed in the stream, he must be the stream itself, all of it, from its spring to its sinking in the sea.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Spring #Men #Sea

  • as a writer you are free. You are about the freest person that ever was. Your freedom is what you have bought with your solitude, your loneliness. You are in the country where you make up the rules, the laws. You are both dictator and obedient populace. It is a country nobody has ever explored before. It is up to you to make the maps, to build the cities. Nobody else in the world can do it, or ever could do it, or ever will be able to do it again.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Country #Loneliness #Law

  • He knew now, and the knowledge was hard, that his task had never been to undo what he had done, but to finish what he had begun.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Tasks #Done

  • But need alone is not enough to set power free: there must be knowledge.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Needs #Enough

  • I believe that all novels, ... deal with character, and that it is to express character – not to preach doctrines, sing songs, or celebrate the glories of the British Empire, that the form of the novel, so clumsy, verbose, and undramatic, so rich, elastic, and alive, has been evolved ... The great novelists have brought us to see whatever they wish us to see through some character. Otherwise they would not be novelists, but poet, historians, or pamphleteers.
    -- Ursula K. Le Guin

    #Song #Believe #Character