Ursula LeGuin's important National Book Award Speech
The speech was only six minutes long, it was spoken slowly and with pauses. Ursual LeGuin spoke upon receiving the National Book Award. A fantasy writer, for the most part, she is by no means out of touch with what's going on in the world -- the world of publishing, the world of capitalism where the sales departments sometimes have editorial sway.
She said, ”We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. 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, and very often in our
art—the art of words.”
I have been feeling, thinking, despairing because it seems to me that capitalism is a force impossible to combat -- no one seems to be trying and no one can do it alone. I'm sure that my feelings about the ugliness of capitalism's power in American, and in the world, as everything is seen in terms of financial worth, are not mine alone. I SO much hope there are many writers out there just as fearful as I am. LeGuin referred, indirectly but very obviously, to the tug of war between Amazon and Hachette that has, perhaps been resolved.
It's wonderful to hear a quiet, reasoned voice say that capitalism can go the way of the divine rights of kings. The world needs a philosophy far more humane than the profit motive, far more attuned to the ecological disaster the world is headed into. Perhaps I can allow myself to be a little bit hopeful -- it's a new thought for me.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!