All Time Famous Ursula K. Le Guin Quotes

Ursula K. Le Guin Quotes

Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) was a prominent American author renowned for her groundbreaking contributions to science fiction and fantasy literature. Born in Berkeley, California, Le Guin’s notable works include “The Left Hand of Darkness,” a pivotal exploration of gender on the planet Gethen, and the Earthsea series, a fantasy saga emphasizing the coming-of-age journey of a wizard named Ged. Her novel “The Dispossessed” examines societal disparities on neighboring planets, while “The Lathe of Heaven” delves into the consequences of a man’s reality-altering dreams. Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle encompasses a series of interconnected novels exploring diverse cultures and themes. A recipient of multiple awards, including Hugo and Nebula honors, Le Guin’s literary legacy continues to transcend genre boundaries, impacting readers with her thought-provoking narratives on anthropology, sociology, and human nature. She passed away on January 22, 2018, leaving an enduring influence on speculative fiction.

Ursula K. Le Guin Quotes

1. “The creative adult is the child who has survived.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

2. “Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

3. “No darkness lasts forever. And even there, there are stars.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

4. “You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

5. “The worst walls are never the ones you find in your way. The worst walls are the ones you put there .”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

6. “Only in silence the word, only in dark the light, only in dying life: bright the hawk’s flight on the empty sky.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

7. “I think hard times are coming. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries, the realists of a larger reality.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

8. “When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

9. “We read books to find out who we are.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

10. “The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

11. “To hear, one must be silent.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

12. “We decided that it was no good asking what is the meaning of life, because life isn’t an answer, life is the question, and you, yourself, are the answer.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

13. “What is an anarchist? One who, choosing, accepts the responsibility of choice.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

14. “The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

15. “Light is the left hand of darkness and darkness the right hand of light. Two are one, life and death, lying together like lovers in kemmer, like hands joined together, like the end and the way.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

16. “We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

17. “My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

18. “We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

19. “One must work with time and not against it.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

20. “People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

21. “There are no right answers to wrong questions.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

22. “We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, 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. Very often in our art, the art of words.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

23. “There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

24. “All knowledge is local, all truth is partial. No truth can make another truth untrue. All knowledge is part of the whole knowledge. Once you have seen the larger pattern, you cannot go back to seeing the part as the whole.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

25. “Fiction – and poetry and drama – cleanse the doors of perception.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

26. “To be whole is to be part; true voyage is return.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

27. “The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pendants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

28. “We like to think we live in daylight, but half the world is always dark, and fantasy, like poetry, speaks the language of the night.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

29. “Well, the secret to writing is writing. It’s only a secret to people who don’t want to hear it. Writing is how you be a writer.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

30. “When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

31. “Writers have to get used to launching something beautiful and watching it crash and burn. They also have to learn when to let go control, when the work takes off on its own and flies, farther than they ever planned or imagined, to places they didn’t know they knew.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

32. “If you evade suffering you also evade the chance of joy. Pleasure you may get, or pleasures, but you will not be fulfilled. You will not know what it is to come home.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

33. “We’re each of us alone, to be sure. What can you do but hold your hand out in the dark?”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

34. “The Earth is beautiful, and bright, and kindly, but that is not all. The Earth is also terrible, and dark, and cruel. The rabbit shrieks dying in the green meadows. The mountains clench their great hands full of hidden fire. There are sharks in the sea, and there is cruelty in men’s eyes.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

35. “My world, my Earth is a ruin. A planet spoiled by the human species. We multiplied and fought and gobbled until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite nor violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

36. “Those who build walls are their own prisoners. I’m going to go fulfill my proper function in the social organism. I’m going to unbuild walls.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

37. “I am living in a nightmare, from which from time to time I wake in sleep.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

38. “Maybe when you meet the people you are supposed to meet you know it, without knowing it.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

39. “But it is one thing to read about dragons and another to meet them.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

40. “The word must be heard in silence; there must be darkness to see the stars.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

41. “There’s a point, around the age of twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

42. “Truth is a matter of the imagination.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

43. “Besides, when you say you’re a feminist it annoys the bigots and the old farts and the prissy ladies so much, it’s kind of irresistible.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

44. “The story is not in the plot but in the telling.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

45. “What good is power when you’re too wise to use it?”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

46. “Skill in writing frees you to write what you want to write. It may also show you what you want to write. Craft enables art.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

47. “Dragons are more dangerous, and a good deal commoner, than bears. Fantasy is nearer to poetry, to mysticism, and to insanity than naturalistic fiction is. It is a real wilderness, and those who go there should not feel too safe.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

48. “The children of the revolution are always ungrateful, and the revolution must be grateful that it is so.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

49. “The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

50. “You sit down and you do it, and you do it, and you do it, until you have learned to do it.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

51. “The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

52. “No, I don’t mean love, when I say patriotism. I mean fear. The fear of the other. And its expressions are political, not poetical: hate, rivalry, aggression.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

53. “Sometimes you must go against the wheel’s turn.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

54. “I had forgotten how much light there is in the world, till you gave it back to me.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

55. “Those who build walls are their own prisoners.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

56. “Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

57. “If you’re a fiction writer, though, I can tell you how to let people talk through you. Listen. Just be quiet, and listen. Let the character talk. Don’t censor, don’t control. Listen, and write.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

58. “Greed puts out the sun.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

59. “All of us have to learn how to invent our lives, make them up, imagine them. We need to be taught these skills; we need guides to show us how. If we don’t, our lives get made up for us by other people .”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

60. “Nothing is yours. It is to use. It is to share. If you will not share it, you cannot use it.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

61. “The end justifies the means. But what if there never is an end? All we have is means.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

62. “It’s a rare gift, to know where you need to be, before you’ve been to all the places you don’t need to be.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

63. “What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

64. “Absolute freedom is absolute responsibility.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

65. “Not even need and love can defeat fate…”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

66. “It is only when science asks why, instead of simply describing how, that it becomes more than technology. When it asks why, it discovers Relativity. When it only shows how, it invents the atom bomb, and then puts its hands over its eye and says, My God what have I done?”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

67. “I do not care what comes after; I have seen the dragons on the wind of morning.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

68. “Fantasy is probably the oldest literary device for talking about reality.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

69. “To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

70. “Would you walk away from Omelas?”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

71. “I write with all my heart.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

72. “The notion that fantasy is only for the immature rises from an obstinate misunderstanding of both maturity and the imagination.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

73. “Life goes on, even if two-headed and glowing faintly in the dark.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

74. “What goes too long unchanged destroys itself.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

75. “Belief is the wound that knowledge heals.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

76. “This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

77. “To find a new world, maybe you have to have lost one. Maybe you have to be lost. The dance of renewal, the dance that made world, was always danced here at the edge of things, on the brink, on the foggy coast.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

78. “I always wondered why the makers leave housekeeping and cooking out of their tales. Isn’t it what all the great wars and battles are fought for – so that at day’s end a family may eat together in a peaceful house?”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

79. “When people say, Did you always want to be a writer?, I have to say no! I always WAS a writer.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

80. “See, the thing is, as a writer you are free. You are about the freest person that ever was. Your freedom is what you have bought with your solitude, your loneliness.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

81. “The greatest religious problem today is how to be both a mystic and a militant; in other words how to combine the search for an expansion of inner awareness with effective social action, and how to feel one’s true identity in both.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

82. “Great self-destruction follows upon unfounded fear.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

83. “The trouble is, women have to be absolutely first class to get where third-class men get.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

84. “The same old hypocrisy. Life is a fight, and the strongest wins. All civilization does is hide the blood and cover up the hate with pretty words!”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

85. “This is. And thou art. There is no safety. There is no end. The word must be heard in silence. There must be darkness to see the stars. The dance is always danced above the hollow place, above the terrible abyss.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

86. “The light is the left hand of darkness.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

87. “To make a thief, make an owner; to create crime, create laws.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

88. “Nobody who says, ‘I told you so’ has ever been, or will ever be, a hero.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

89. “The hunger of a dragon is slow to wake, but hard to sate.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

90. “Children know perfectly well that unicorns aren’t real, but they also know that books about unicorns, if they are good books, are true books.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

91. “To oppose something is to maintain it.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

92. “A forest ecology is a delicate one. If the forest perishes, its fauna may go with it. The Athshean word for world is also the word for forest.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

93. “The desire for power feeds off itself, growing as it devours.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

94. “Success is somebody else’s failure.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

95. “And day to day, life’s a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. You need distance, interval. The way to see how beautiful the earth is, is to see it as the moon. The way to see how beautiful life is, is from the vantage point of death.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

96. “One voice speaking truth is a greater force than fleets and armies…”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

97. “I believe that maturity is not an outgrowing, but a growing up: that an adult is not a dead child, but a child who survived.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

98. “Paradise is for those who make paradise.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

99. “The daily hummingbird assaults existence with improbability.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

100. “Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward towards the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

101. “The direction of escape is toward freedom. So what is ‘escapism’ an accusation of?”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

102. “In so far as one denies what is, one is possessed by what is not, the compulsions, the fantasies, the terrors that flock to fill the void.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

103. “Music is another way of thinking, or maybe thinking is another kind of music.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

104. “I came into science fiction at a very good time, when the doors were getting thrown open to all kinds of more experimental writing, more literary writing, riskier writing. It wasn’t all imitation Heinlein or Asimov. And of course, women were creeping in, infiltrating. Infesting the premises.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

105. “The danger in trying to do good is that the mind comes to confuse the intent of goodness with the act of doing things well.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

106. “There’s a great fear of the imagination. It’s a dangerous thing. It’s out of control, it’s subversive.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

107. “The law of evolution is that the strongest survives.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

108. “Revolution is our obligation: our hope of evolution.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

109. “A machine is more blameless, more sinless even than any animal. It has no intentions whatsoever but our own.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

110. “Writing makes no noise, except groans, and it can be done everywhere, and it is done alone.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

111. “A story rises from the springs of creation, from the pure will to be; it tells itself; I takes its own course, finds its own way, its own words; and the writer’s job is to be its medium.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

112. “We need writers who know the difference between the production of a commodity and the practice of an art.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

113. “Ultimately you write alone.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

114. “All or nothing at all, the true lover says, and that’s the truth of it. My love will never die, he says. He claims eternity. And rightly. How can it die when it’s life itself? What do we know of eternity but the glimpse we get of it when we enter in that bond?”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

115. “Fake realism is the escapist literature of our time. And probably the ultimate escapist reading is that masterpiece of total unreality, the daily stock market report.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

116. “Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art – the art of words.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

117. “First sentences are doors to worlds.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

118. “The Earth is beautiful, and bright, and kindly, but that is not all. The Earth is also terrible, and dark, and cruel.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

119. “You must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good and evil will follow on that act.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

120. “Where do you get your ideas from, Ms Le Guin?” From forgetting Dostoyevsky and reading road signs backwards, naturally. Where else?”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

121. “Without war there are no heroes. What harm would that be? Oh, Lavinia, what a woman’s question that is.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

122. “The reason literacy is important is that literature is the operating instructions. The best manual we have. The most useful guide to the country we’re visiting, life.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

123. “We will not know our own injustice if we cannot imagine justice. We will not be free if we do not imagine freedom. We cannot demand that anyone try to attain justice and freedom who has not had a chance to imagine them as attainable.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

124. “Go to bed; tired is stupid.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

125. “If civilization has an opposite, it is war. Of these two things, you have either one, or the other. Not both.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

126. “The misogyny that shapes every aspect of our civilization is the institutionalized form of male fear and hatred of what they have denied and therefore cannot know, cannot share: that wild country, the being of women.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

127. “To break a promise is to deny the reality of the past. Therefore it is to deny the hope of a real future.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

128. “Men who fight wars in winter don’t live till spring.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

129. “Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

130. “Stories are what death thinks he puts an end to. He can’t understand that they end in him, but they don’t end with him.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

131. “Translation is entirely mysterious. Increasingly I have felt that the art of writing is itself translating, or more like translating than it is like anything else.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

132. “Peace above all, until the War comes…”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

133. “It is hard to swear when sex is not dirty and blasphemy does not exist.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

134. “I certainly wasn’t happy. Happiness has to do with reason, and only reason earns it. What I was given was the thing you can’t earn, and can’t keep, and often don’t even recognize at the time; I mean joy.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

135. “Knowledge sets us free, art sets us free. A great library is freedom… and that freedom must not be compromised. It must be available to all who need it, when they need it, and that’s always.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

136. “A man does not make his destiny: he accepts it or denies it.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

137. “Great artists make the roads; good teachers and good companions can point them out. But there ain’t no free rides, baby.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

138. “If a book told you something when you were fifteen, it will tell you it again when you’re fifty, though you may understand it so differently that it seems you’re reading a whole new book.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

139. “A library is a focal point, a sacred place to a community; and its sacredness is its accessibility, its publicness. It’s everybody’s place”.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

140. “They can send death at once, but life is slower…”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

141. “If you evade suffering, you also evade the chance of joy.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

142. “Where does your soul go, when you die in Hell?”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

143. “Let age be age. Let your old relative or old friend be who they are. Denial serves nothing, no one, no purpose.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

144. “There are dance artists, painting artists and writing artists. Authors are writing artists. You can practice art in whatever medium you choose, and words are mine.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

145. “It is a terrible thing, this kindess that human beings do not lose. Terrible, because when we are finally naked in the dark and cold, it is all we have. We who are so rich, so full of strength, we end up with that small change. We have nothing else to give.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

146. “And in poetry, beauty is no ornament; it is the meaning. It is the truth.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

147. “He was very weary; the day had been long, and full of dragons.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

148. “They made love. Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; re-made all the time, made new. When it was made, they lay in each other’s arms, holding love, asleep.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

149. “Where there’s property, there’s theft.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

150. “Success is somebody else’s failure. Success is the American Dream we can keep dreaming because most people in most places, including thirty million of ourselves, live wide awake in the terrible reality of poverty.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin

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