A review of Conversations on Writing



Conversations on Writing by Ursula K. Le Guin with David Naimon,
Tin House Books, 2018, 150 pages


Conversations on Writing was a collaborative effort between Ursula K. Le Guin and Oregon writer/radio host David Naimon. They discussed fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Le Guin’s take on her craft fits in with her Taoist/Buddhist beliefs and her Anarchist leanings. She gives herself the following advice: “If I can keep myself, my ego, my wishes and opinions, my mental junk, out of the way, and find the focus of the story, and follow the movement of the story, the story will tell itself…”

Le Guin thanked KBOO, Naimon’s radio station, “for being for fifty years the strongest consistent voice in Oregon of and for the arts and the freedom and generosity of thought.”

She also lamented that “While America is busy tearing itself apart into fractions with rant, lies, and mindless violence, it’s in voices like this that you can hear—if you listen—what may yet hold us together.”

And this is precisely what Le Guin’s oeuvre and philosophy of life stand for: an unleashing of the imagination to decolonize the mind and imagine a better world.

Ursula Le Guin reached the end of her long journey before the book went to print. Read it. Pay heed to the final words of a profound thinker.

Maya Khankhoje’s last memory of Ursula Le Guin is that of a teacher sitting at the feet of her students in an act of humility characteristic of the truly great.