Doris Lessing Dead?! One of the pivots of my herstory rips out.


The Guardian: Doris Lessing Dies at 94

New York Times: Doris Lessing, who won the Nobel in 2007, is dead at 94

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:

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0 Responses to Doris Lessing Dead?! One of the pivots of my herstory rips out.

  1. You may be interested to know that Doris Lessing studied sufism with Idries Shah. That may allow you to see her “sci-fi” books in a new light…

    • Very interesting! I did not know that, and since I too, am very interested in Sufi ideas and practice, that she studied it makes me wonder if that’s why? I simply cannot fathom the depths to which she influenced me and countless others.

      • The way i heard it, the Shikasta series of “sci-fi” books was in response to an assignment from Idries Shah for her to incoporate sufi teachings in her work without letting anyone know that they were being “taught”…And If you read them, with Sufi teachings in mind, you will see many traditional teaching threads in her books! They are a marvel! But do not confuse the Sufi teachings from HIK or the modern “western” sufi teachers… You have to be familiar with the teachings of Idries Shah and his traditions to “get”it clearly….Plus, I have the feeling that she was channeling or passing on info about the long distant past and our connections to the Star Families…Doris Lessing was such a great teacher on so many different levels!

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