Today the wonderful minds over at The Millions posted an interview with Ursula K. Le Guin. They sat down with the famous author in her Portland home to discuss family, life, and writing. While the entire interview is worth a look, here is an excerpt that stood out to us regarding the permission writers give themselves to find meaning in their work. We feel it’s an area of writing that a lot of new and emerging authors struggle with: the fact that what they’re doing is worthwhile and important. Check out a blurb from this fantastic interview below and be sure to read the interview in its entirety, here.
The Millions: What did you learn about writing from your father and mother? Your mother started writing around the time you started writing.
Ursula K. Le Guin: She got published first though. I suppose what I learned from my father is that writing is something people do. It’s a perfectly normal human activity. You do it everyday. You have a place where you do it and when you’re doing it, it is respected…The family doesn’t bother you.
Now, of course this doesn’t work the same way when you’re not a professor and are a young housewife. But I think it gave me a security a lot of young writers don’t have, the sense that I’m doing something absolutely worthwhile. And the sense that I can and I will make the space in my life to do it. And this can be a huge problem, particularly for women writers. They really want to write, they really have the urge, but they aren’t sure that they have a right to do it. And I was given the right by seeing my father, who I respected and who everyone respected and who was a great guy, just doing it. So that’s a huge gift.
From my mother [it was] more complicated. She, being of her generation, didn’t start writing until she got all her kids out of the house and settled. She felt it wasn’t right to combine writing [with] being a housewife and mother. I had some problems with that in my teens. I wondered if I could do it. My best friend in high school, who was John Steinbeck’s niece, said, “Of course you could do it if you want to. Why not have kids and books?” She was right. So there again, I got support. My parents were supportive, but they didn’t hover at all.