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.

Tri magické knižky na dovolenku

Jednu som mala so sebou papierovo: Ursula K. Le Guin: The Earthsea Quartet. V podstate je to sága rozdelená do štyroch kníh (A wizard of Earthsea, Tombs of Atuan, The farthest shore, Tehanu), ktoré sa dajú čítať aj samostatne a ja som dve z nich už kedysi aj mala otvorené, ale teraz som si ich prečítala všetky spolu.  

Treba ich čítať v origináli alebo v nejakom naozaj dobrom preklade, lebo viackrát som sa pristihla, ako si hovorím, že toto by sa teda ťažko dávalo do iného jazyka tak, aby to ostalo rovnako pôsobivé. Nie je to ľahké čítanie… niekedy smutné, miestami temné, celé filozofické, vyžaduje trpezlivosť a stojí za to. Ursula Le Guin vie písať. (Pre záujemcov, ešte ďalšie, trochu ľahšie, odporúčania: The left hand of darknessWild girls, Those who walk from Omelas…)

A kedysi raz niekto o týchto knihách povedal, že pomôže si ich prečítať, keď sa neviete vyrovnať s tým, že vám niekto blízky zomrel. Ak budete v takej situácii, prečítajte. Pomôže.  

It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soul.

To light a candle is to cast a shadow… 

Was I to join them therefore? To let their acts rule my own? I will not make their choices for them, nor will I let them make mine for me.

As a child in Atuan, Tenar had learned how to learn. As a stranger in Gont, she had found that people liked to teach. She had learned to be taught and so to be accepted, her foreignness forgotten.

‘Will you be about the house?’ she asked him, across some distance. ‘Therru’s asleep. I want to walk a little.’
‘Yes. Go on,’ he said, and she went on, pondering at the indifference of a man towards exigencies that ruled a woman: that someone must be not far from a sleeping child, that one’s freedom meant another’s unfreedom unless some ever-changing, moving balance were reached, like a balance of a body moving forward, as she did now on two legs, first one then the other, in the practice of that remarkable art, walking…

‘How she’s changing!’ she said. ‘I can’t keep up with her. I’m old to be bringing up a child. And she… She obeys me, but only because she wants to.’
‘It’s the only justification for obedience,’ Ged observed.

Keď som dočítala Zememorie, tak som sa pustila do knižky, ktorú mala na dovolenke Kika: Kelly Barnhill: Dievča, ktoré pilo mesačný svit. Prvá polovica výborná, druhá sa dala spraviť aj lepšie. 

Každý rok ľudia v Protektoráte obetujú jedného novorodenca čarodejnici, ktorá žije hlboko v lesoch. Už od nepamäti vedia, že len tak ochránia svoje mesto pred jej čarami. Lenže čarodejnica Xan vôbec nie je zlá. Naopak, o opustené dieťa sa postará, nakŕmi ho hviezdnym svitom a nájde mu novú, milujúcu rodinu na opačnej strane lesa. Raz však omylom nakŕmi malé dievčatko mesačným svitom a tomu potom začne v žilách kolovať mágia. Xan sa rozhodne, že dievčatko vychová sama. Dá mu meno Luna a jeho čarovné schopnosti uzamkne do času, keď bude mať trinásť rokov. Lenže s blížiacimi sa trinástymi narodeninami sa kúzla začínajú drať na povrch. Nad lesom sa zlietajú obrovské kŕdle desivých vtákov, pod zemou sa prebúdza sopka a les obchádza žena so srdcom tigra. Z Protektorátu mieri do lesa muž, ktorý je rozhodnutý zabiť čarodejnicu. Čoskoro bude musieť Luna chrániť tých, ktorí doteraz chránili ju. A postaviť sa proti skutočnému zlu…

A potom ešte elektronicky tento cantos: Dan Simmons: Hyperion. Písané v duchu Canterburských poviedok, je to šesť príbehov, ktoré si rozprávajú siedmi spolupútnici. Príbehy sú rozmanité a (pre mňa okrem jedného) zaujímavé, ale nie je to kniha, ku ktorej by som sa ešte chcela vrátiť.  

After fifty-five years of dedicating his life and work to the story of ethical systems, Sol Weintraub had come to a single, unshakable conclusion: any allegiance to a deity or concept or universal principle which put obedience above decent behavior toward an innocent human being was evil.

Prison always has been a good place for writers, killing, as it does, the twin demons of mobility and diversion

I would welcome some glimmer of understanding but, failing that, working on the puzzle will suffice.
indicators of true giftedness in a young person: structured curiosity, empathy for others, compassion, and a fierce sense of fair play
[as she was getting younger] language was the hardest for him. Her vocabulary loss was like the burning of a bridge between them, the severing of a final line of hope
He told me what it was like to be a poet obsessed with perfection, far harsher toward his own efforts than even the most vicious critic. And the critics were vicious
It was hard to describe, but I’d seen rooms full of more important personages rearrange themselves to orbit around personalities like his

It no longer matters who consider themselves the masters of events. Events no longer obey their masters.


Víkendové surfovanie

She Ran From the Cut, and Helped Thousands of Other Girls Escape, Too

Finally, after nearly four years of dialogue, the elders in her village changed hundreds of years of culture and abandoned cutting. She had persuaded the men, and with them the village, that everyone would be healthier and wealthier if girls stayed in school, married later and gave birth without the complications cutting can create.

She and the elders planned a different kind of ceremony to celebrate girls, and the next year, the number of girls in school soared.

The Martians claim Canada (Margaret Atwood), perfektné

a ešte od Margaret Atwood: rozlúčka s Ursulou K Le Guin (Left hand of darkness), ktorá nedávno zomrela  

In all her work, Le Guin was always asking the same urgent question: what sort of world do you want to live in? Her own choice would have been gender equal, racially equal, economically fair and self-governing, but that was not on offer. It would also have contained mutually enjoyable sex and good food: there was a better chance of that.

Why Do So Many Digital Assistants Have Feminine Names?

Hey Cortana. Hey Siri. Hey girl.

Everyone Should Have a House Meal

It is a meal that one automatically falls back on whenever there is no other plan. This sounds immeasurably broad, but there are a number of prerequisites that narrow the field somewhat: The first is that it be intrinsically easy to trim and change into various meals whose roots in common stock are impossible to discern by anyone but the cook. Second, a house meal should be made of common ingredients, so that you are likely to have them. Third, it must be fast to make. Fourth, it can’t demand too much skill, in case some part needs to get handed off.

nové najväčšie prvočíslo – ešte v septembri som na prednáške spomínala to predchádzajúce, ktoré vtedy kraľovalo už rok

Pracovala som v pôrodnici. Už nechcem mlčať o tom, čo som videla 

Monday morning observation

China Has Already Gene-Edited 86 People With CRISPR

Elena Ferrante (My brilliant friend) začala písať pravidelný stĺpček do novín

What scientists want? respektíve, čo niektorí chceli pred 300 rokmi

The Prolongation of Life
The Recovery of Youth
The Art of Flying

Everything I did wrong as a professor (h/t Ondrovi za linku)

21st Century Landscapes