Doris Lessing Remembered

It was a rainy autumnal afternoon in Cambridge, and I was dwindling in a bookshop, browsing humanist psychology for my degree. I hadn’t found what I was looking for so I decided to leave and was approaching the front door when I overheard a gentle voice in the corner of the lobby. I turned to spy a small gathering of men and women around a signing of a new edition of The Golden Notebook. I drew closer and listened attentively to Doris talking. As I drew a little closer still I caught the words “the new man isn’t afraid to listen to us, he isn’t threatened by Feminism, he may even one day join us…” Let’s say I was warming to Doris at this point.

I later discovered that Lessing had also been influenced by Sufi mysticism, which had been introduced to her in childhood by the renowned teacher Idries Shah. Both Feminism and Sufism underpinned her belief in equality between the sexes and promoted better than any one else I know the dialogue of the committed relationship. Long before the generation of Women from Venus, Men from Mars, Lessing converted me.

Many years later, and a few brief email exchanges I’m still learning, I’m still working towards the great leap forward in every man, every woman.

Farewell Doris, and thank you.

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4 Replies to “Doris Lessing Remembered”

  1. I think I will enjoy finding more about her….
    I think I will have wished I had read her sooner….
    already looked her up, the name sounds familiar, but I can’t remember
    from where or what….
    Thank you Lee…for sharing her ….
    May she be exactly where she chose to be….
    (and I liked the other posts)
    Hope all is well in your world….
    Take care…You Matter…
    )0(
    maryrose

  2. I did not know that… thanks for telling me. I must read more about Doris Lessing. You have introduced so many poets, writers to me – some I know, but haven’t read, some I don;t know at all, and some I have a sketchy knowledge of…

    Keep watching the sky.. keep believing…

  3. Yes I’m sure you will enjoy Doris. She wrote with a depth of perception and humanity that left me wanting more. She was a provocative thinker, not just in terms of sexual equality (the Golden Notebook), but she also fought for racial equality too, (The Grass is singing). So I’d have to say that my brief encounters, with her has informed my sense of justice and compassion… I will miss her brilliance.

  4. Dear Meena, your own persuasive writing towards social change and equality reminds me of the deep commitment found in Doris’ work. Together you both form a larger group, a sisterhood, that I admire and feel connected to.
    I pray that one day, you will be published and know that others will look to your writing for inspiration, as I do.

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