September 19th, 2013


The Other Wind: Ursula Le Guin

The Earthsea Trilogy was completed a long time ago. This is an afterthought.

It addresses something in the original books that didn't seem quite right, explains it in terms of the culture and history of Earthsea, then changes it.  The things that happen here reverberate backwards- like the slamming of a door on an echoey corridor.

There are moments of considerable beauty. And look, a fantasy novel in which there are no battles or killings!

As a book in its own right it isn't very good. It couldn't exist without its predecessors- and the leading characters (there are a lot of them to keep track of) are all rather insubstantial and Mary Sueish. Still, I'm happy to have it. 


Ailz asks me how I feel about going back to my mother's and I say, "Well, it's the next thing that happens." And she says she's sorry I'm so miserable and take so little pleasure in life and I get all defensive and say, "But I do. I enjoy things as they happen- like woodpeckers appearing on the lawn. I just don't anticipate..."

At which point I go off at a tangent- interesting in itself (at least to me)- but laying a trail away from the thing at issue.

The best things in life, I explain, are mostly those that jump out and go "boo", and the things you look forward to- like holidays and birthday treats- frequently disappoint. I tell her I try and take things as they come- calmly, without too much excitement or dread (the second is harder- dentist's appointments cast a long shadow) and when the nice surprises occur- oh, look, a woodpecker!- I do a little dance.

And then when the bad things happen I go into coping mode. And often the bad things turn out- in the long run- to be the good things- the things you learn from. And that's life, all upsy-downsy and back to front.

(I could have added- and will here- that one of the reasons I keep this blog is to remind myself that interesting and amusing and even wonderful things are happening all the time. If I didn't- with my short term memory- I'd look back and see a flat undifferentiated plain and wonder where the time went.)

End of tangent.

Returning now to the question I didn't answer- what do I feel about going back? The truth is I could cry. I could stomp my feet and throw things. I could go to bed and refuse to get up again. But we've taken on the care of my mother and we'll carry it through- so resignation is the better option.  I like living in the country well enough, but living here- on a street in a northern town- is what I chose. It's no accident I ran away to sea to be a sailor  put over 200 miles between myself and my parents as soon as I could. I don't want to go back. But I suspect (see above) that it's good for me.

And there are bound to be woodpeckers and other stuff like that. We'll have plenty of fun- I don't doubt it- but nothing I can see on the horizon right now.