To Ursula K. Le Guin On the Night of Her Death: A Love Letter.

Updated: Jan 10, 2019


I feel close enough to to call your by your first name, even though we've never met. You've been with me for so long, I forget that fact sometimes. You've been in my back pocket, my suitcase, my bookshelf, my bed. Your characters, little fragments of your psyche, have been travelling through my own, making changes wherever they see fit. They quietly expand my understanding of love, of anarchism and of having a gender. They hold my assumptions responsible and force me to see what I accept but do not truly believe in.

You've been such a good friend. You've shown up continuously and in so many different ways. The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed demonstrated how to imagine our oppressions in a different context. To see them more clearly because of that context, to know them better and deeper -- and thereby be better able to defeat them.

You showed up for us in lighter ways as well. Changing Planes traveled with us through airports, taxis, hotels, lazy afternoons and beach days. I felt you smiling during each short exploration to another world, where your passing thoughts that never made it into novels could finally have some space to breathe. I loved how relaxed you were during those explorations. How you let yourself laugh. I needed you to do that, so I could too.

I guess I shouldn't say I'll miss you because the part of you I had will never leave the bookcase in my living room. But I will. I'll miss knowing your incredible mind is somewhere whirring away, cooking up possibilities. I'll miss knowing your family is benefiting from your undoubtedly clever and surprising advice. I'll miss knowing there is at least one older lady in this world who would accept me as a gender-confused lesbian. I'll miss you. I already do.

I have an irrational hope that in your death you've been permitted to travel the farthest reaches of the Ekumen. That all of your stories have become an infinite, ever-changing universe that can envelop and delight your soul.

Wherever you are, whatever adventure you're on -- I hope it is one that surprises you. You surprised and intrigued us for so long, it's now your turn to be amazed. To be changed. To start a journey with an unclear end. I wish we could know your thoughts about the journey. Maybe you'll tell us when we join you. Until then, safe travels.

In love and solidarity,

Ailey Wilder


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