Monday, August 01, 2005

A Message about Messages

There's a great article in the CBC Magazine by Ursula Le Guin about messages in her books. I also hate thinking about literature in terms of the messages delivered and it is great to see an author (who is so often accused of only writing message/problem/utopian/distopian fiction) speak so plainly about this issue.

Two passages particularly strike me in this article. The first is:

And so kids ask me, in all good faith, 'When you have your message, how do you make up a story to fit it?' All I can answer is, 'It doesn't work that way! I'm not an answering machine—I don't have a message for you! What I have for you is a story.'

"What I have for you is a story." That is the truth of it all! Then Ursula continues to explain the impact of a simplistic approach to literature and its impact on her as a writer,

"I am grieved and affronted when reviewers treat my novels and other serious books for kids as candy-coated sermons."

Grieved and affronted. It can not be simpler and more eloquent than that. Great article.