Ursula Le Guin

To Ursula Le Guin: You were an astounding writer, and by all accounts an equally astounding human being. I’m grateful for your stories and your thoughts, and what you brought to this world. Rest well.

In John Scalzi’s piece on Le Guin’s passing, he said it quite aptly:

Look at the top tier of writers in science fiction and fantasy today — names like Jemisin and Gaiman and Jeff VanderMeer and Catherynne Valente, as well as rising stars like Bo Bolander and Amal El-Mohtar and Monica Byrne — and you see the unmistakable traces of Le Guin in their work. Multiple generations of her spiritual children, making the genre more humane and expansive, and better than it would have been without her. And all with stories of her.


The speaking of her name and of her words goes on, and will go on, today and tomorrow and for a very long time now. As it should. She was the mother of so many of us, and you should take time to mourn your mother.

The Happy List

If you haven’t gone through the archive of A Show with Ze Frank, I highly recommend it. The topics range all over the place, and the tone can vacillate from serious to silly from one episode to the next. There are a lot of times where I feel like he’s struck a chord, and says or shares something that deeply connects with me and my own experiences.

I could keep rambling about that (and maybe I will, sometime), but I actually wanted to share a particular video that I think poses a good question, about what makes us happy. Go ahead and take a minute to watch it, I’ll wait.

I love this concept, and is one I’ve thought about a lot in the past, the notion of the little moments or vignettes of experience that allow you a moment of happy contentment. It’s part of what I try to get at when I talk about the notion of “Festina Lente”. Being present in the moment, not rushed. Attentive. (It’s also one of the things I enjoy about Amélie — savoring the little moments, cultivating alternative pleasures.)

There are a lot of moments I appreciate, but here are a few:

  • Walking through dry leaves in the fall.
  • The smell of the woods and the fields after a good summer storm.
  • Biting into the first apple of the season.
  • Watching snow and ice melt into the brook on the first warm day of spring.
  • Watching traffic lights sway in the evening winds in the summer.
  • Watching a full moon rise over fresh snow.
  • Cooking and sharing a large meal with people I love. (There are reasons I try to celebrate both Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving!)
  • Feeling the cool air on my face from the comfort of a warm bed.
  • Cupping a warm beverage in my hand after being out in the cold, feeling the heat seep into my fingers.

How about you? What are the moments that make you happy when you catch yourself being present for?