Writing Nameless Things: An Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin

David Streitfeld in the Los Angeles Review of Books:

PhpThumb_generated_thumbnailDAVID STREITFELD: How’s your health?


How’s your mood?

Okay. [Laughs.] One slows down increasingly in one’s upper 80s, believe me. I’ve dropped most of my public obligations. I say, “No, thank you,” a lot. It’s too bad. I love reading at Powell’s Books. I’m a ham. Their audiences are great. But it is just physically impossible.

Much of the work in these two new Library of America volumes was done in a short span of time — a few years during the late 1960s and early ’70s. You were on fire, writing The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) and The Dispossessed (1974) practically back to back. That was a period when you also wrote the first Earthsea novels.

I worked just as hard before that and just as hard after. The work of that period isn’t all my significant work. There’s pretty good stuff after.

You were also raising three young children.

I had a child under age five for seven or eight years. Number three came along slightly unexpectedly, about the time number two was beginning to go off to kindergarten. I could not possibly have done it if Charles had not been a full-time parent. Over and over I’ve said it — two people can do three jobs but one person cannot do two. Well, sometimes they do, but it’s a killer.

More here.