Ursula K. Le Guin: No time to spare

Zbierka zamyslení, ktoré Le Guin napísala, keď už mala viac ako 80 rokov. Majú podnadpis: Thinking about what matters a presne o tom sú. Sú napísané trochu voľnejšie ako jej fantasy knihy (The left hand of darkness, The wizard of Earthsea), čo sa týka obsahu miestami dokonca trochu povrchne, ale sú napísané majstrovsky. Pre mňa toto je pani spisovateľka, ktorú by som vydržala čítať veľmi dlho. Pred dvoma rokmi zomrela, takže nové knižky už nebudú, treba ešte pohľadať tie staršie.

The opposite of spare time is, I guess, occupied time. In my case I still don’t know what spare time is because all my time is occupied. It always has been and it is now. It’s occupied by living.
An increasing part of living, at my age, is mere bodily maintenance, which is tiresome. But I cannot find anywhere in my life a time, or a kind of time, that is unoccupied. I am free, but my time is not. My time is fully and vitally occupied with sleep, with daydreaming, with doing business and writing friends and family on email, with reading, with writing poetry, with writing prose, with thinking, with forgetting, with embroidering, with cooking and eating a meal and cleaning up the kitchen, with construing Virgil, with meeting friends, with talking with my husband, with going out to shop for groceries, with walking if I can walk and traveling if we are traveling, with sitting Vipassana sometimes, with watching a movie sometimes, with doing the Eight Precious Chinese exercises when I can, with lying down for an afternoon rest with a volume of Krazy Kat to read and my own slightly crazy cat occupying the region between my upper thighs and mid-calves, where he arranges himself and goes instantly and deeply to sleep. None of this is spare time. I can’t spare it. What is Harvard thinking of? I am going to be eighty-one next week. I have no time to spare.

Writing is a risky business. No guarantees. You have to take the chance. I’m happy to take it. I love taking it. So my stuff gets misread, misunderstood, misinterpreted – so what? If it’s the real stuff, it will survive almost any abuse other than being ignored, disappeared, not read.    
 
Large general questions about meaning can only be answered with generalities, which make me uncomfortable, because it is so hard to be honest when you generalize. If you skip over all details, how can you tell if you’re being honest or not?
 
Maturity is not an out growing but a growing up. Adult is not a dead child but a child who survived.
 
I envy self-confidence even as I dislike it
 
Children have to believe what they are told. Willingness to believe is as necessary to a child as the suckling instinct is to a baby: a child has so much to learn in order to stay alive and in order to be human. 
Specifically, human knowledge is imparted through language, so first we have to learn language, then listen to what we’re told and believe it. Testing the validity of information should always be permitted and is sometimes necessary but may also be dangerous: the little one had better believe without running any tests that the stove burner could burn even when it isn’t red, that if you eat Gramma’s medicine you will be sick, that running out into the street is not a good idea . . . Anyhow, there’s so much to be learned, it can’t all be tested. We really do have to believe what our elders tell us. We can perceive for ourselves, but have very little instinctive knowledge in how to act on our perceptions, and must be shown the basic patterns of how to arrange the world and how to find our way through it. 
Therefore the incalculable value of true information, and the unforgivable wrongness of lying to a child. An adult has the option of not believing. A child, particularly your own child, doesn’t.
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