Odd, to me, that I would discover that Doris Lessing died today just after I posted a poem that I sense she would appreciate, and that, in itself, to me, refers to pivots ripping away. Doris Lessing has “given herself to the wind . . .”
I devoured her in the ’60s, of course, years prior to when I too, abandoned my children. However, I did not do it with the cavalier attitude that she, at least for her public, showed. That I was unable to mother my own children haunted me for decades, until my sons and I finally began to heal our relationship in the late ’80s.
Yes, of course, the thick, well-thumbed, fraying cover, paperback edition of The Golden Notebook. And the apparently mystical? Four-Gated City. Or at least that’s how I remember this book: she broke through into more expansive dimensions and was showing us the way. I remember being puzzled at the time, and extremely intrigued.
Personally, I found her science fiction works riveting, especially Marriages Between Zones Two, Three, and Four — if, yes, at times opaque, and the product of a fevered imagination. And I don’t think she ever got far from one of her principal themes, how culture and nature shape male/female relations, and her dystopian tendencies seem to have followed her everywhere as well.
From descriptions of her personality in the obits, I recognize aspects of myself. Perhaps I, and many other women my age, unconsciously modeled ourselves after her irascible, devil-may-care attitude? Certainly her presence, and her oeuvre, were always there, simmering underneath, underpining our disintegrating/regenerating minds and hearts. As my cousin Ben commented: