Soon after getting back echoweaver replied to some e-mail I'd sent to the gaming group and mentioned that she and hubby were planning on going to hear Ursula K. Le Guin speak. We rather jumped on that one; callicrates thought she was speaking on Thursday, which is our default game night for months with only four letters. The upshot was that I went to KC, then walked across the street to the younger sibling of the Chinese Buffet we adore so much. One of the waitresses we've met a few times over there was at the new one and she recognized us.
After Chinese we all hopped into echoweaver's hubby's car (Mmmmm, UNM parking passes) and went to campus. The lecture actually started on time and ended a minute or two early, and it was worth every minute. I believe the show was being broadcast live on the radio, at least from the context of several of the remarks. I missed a lot of the intro because I was not on time. I also thought it was really neat that they had two women taking turns signing (as in ASL) the English portion of the lecture.
She read the introduction to Changing Planes which I'm clearly going to have to read. Fortunately, unlike our Earthsea books, Changing Planes was not one of the casualties of the leaky closet. Ah well, we can solve that on Thursday.
Speaking of Thursday, it turns out that Ms. Le Guin is appearing on Thursday, but it's at a book-signing for a small independent bookstore near our house and next door to one of our favorite restaurants. The way to get onto the autograph line is by having a receipt from the store, which is fine since we need to replace the Earthsea books anyway. It's going to be a bittersweet event for Andy, though; last year on July 30th or 31st he heard Ms. Le Guin speak and she signed one of his books to Andy, Thena (who had died on the 29th), Gail, and me. Now, some two weeks after we lost Gail, he will again be having a book signed by her.
Ms Le Guin spent the bulk (or, in her own words, the "better part of the hour") reading poems she translated from Chilean. A Spanish student read the original versions, usually stanza by stanza, after Ms. Le Guin finished reading in English. Ms. Le Guin called the woman "The other Chilean poet"; Gabriela Mistral had also won the Nobel Prize but her personal/political life was not nearly so colorful as Pablo Neruda's, so she isn't well-known outside of Chile.
I'll definitely want to get a copy of the translated poems. They were mostly very dark, and there are recurring themes of cutting, bleeding, burning, and biting snakes in half. Apparently in Chile Ms. Mistral has been imaged into a bland schoolteacher whose lover committed suicide, and in the Nobel mini-biography this is reinforced. According to Ms Le Guin, though, Ms Mistral was a very complex person and the suicide was her son at the age of 17, not a lover.
In Q&A it came out that many people believe Ms. Mistral was lesbian, as she lived the last decade or three of her life with a woman. Ms. Le Guin's answer was that if she was lesbian, she may well not have been out to herself, and was certainly not flaming. She also reminded us that Gabriella was a product of her times and her culture, and that our times and culture (which Ms. Le Guin herself is only half part of, according to her) are vastly different. I'm hoping callicrates quotes some of the Q&A in his journal since Ms. Le Guin had some excellent quotes sprinkled throughout.
One person ("I am a writer, like you") had to ask the inevitable "How do I get my novel published" question. Geef, I've never written a whole chapter, let alone a novel, and I knew the answer to this one. She was very good at telling him "RTFM" in not so many words. Her answer, in a nutshell, was "Well, I actually published my first novel in the 1960s, so I probably won't be much help" and then what you can read every time anyone has ever asked this question of an author, "It's harder now than it was, they'll suck the soul out of you, and I hope you have a large enough wall on which to hang the rejection letters; it took me some ten years even to get a nibble and that was then." Her practical advice was to get some short stories published in anthologies, get a track record and an agent, and then try to get your novel accepted.
Since the book-signing is happening on default.game night, we might have the game today. That's what Andy prefers, at least, since it means we won't have to do all sorts of jumping through hoops to get the signing done while ending the game early enough for those who need to be awake and lucid on Friday.