Saturday, January 27, 2018

Imagine Something Other


"I think that hard times are coming, when we will be wanting to hear 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.

Right now I think we need writers who know the difference between the production of a commodity and the practice of an art."

                                             [Excerpted from an event, November 19, 2014.]

Le Guin's words challenge and inspire us to be more mindful of the way we practice our art--and its potential role in suggesting the possibility of something more, something better than the reality one is presented with.  John Lennon is an example of a voice that asked us to imagine a world without war.  (He also asked us to imagine a world without religion, borders, or greed.  Then, as now, however, not everyone wants to change, or to be one with the "Other" in today's or tomorrow's reality.)

Still, I like her conviction that writers, poets and artists offering creative alternatives to the status quo need to have their voices heard.  Writers can create stories that transcend the reality we're given, to imagine a different, better one.  Poets could give us words that profoundly resonate, leading to life-changing insights.  And artists can make us see, instantly, what words often struggle to say, and can't. 

In all this, it seems to me, it's less important whose voice is doing the voicing than the meaning of the message conveyed. That messages can be misinterpreted (or go unheard) does not mean that some aren't or that their impact is unfelt.  Grounds for hope.

Thank you, Ursula Le Guin, for your words and the reflections that resulted. R.I.P.


Click here for Ursula K. Le Guin website.