Friday, September 06, 2013

Ah, Doris Lessing!

a photo grabbed from NewYorkTimes, October 11, 2007 issue. So, what did the journalists do after they all crowded around you the day it was announced you won the Nobel Prize for Literature and Associated Press photographer Lefteris Pistarakis took this photo? Did you talk about Art and Literature? Did they ask you about Life? Or did they ask you about Art? Did you dismiss them all after you stood up from being slumped in your doorway like that, sitting on the steps, surprised and yet not surprised at all for winning the Nobel, after having been in the shortlist for about two decades? What else did they ask you? Did you return to them after you took the calls and the phone finally stopped ringing upstairs or did you just dismissed them right away just like how other people dismissed doves straying into their balconies? Did you invite them in for coffee, dinner or tea? Mother may not have heard of you but in the different corners of her house, were strewn pieces of your writings, carefully wrapped in plastics to protect against the dust. Over the weekend, I found an old copy of Women&Fiction, and started reading your story, "To Room Nineteen," feeling all over again it was my story you were writing.
Somewhere in some forgotten corners, your autobiography, "Under my Skin," and your other books, "The Golden Notebook," "The Grass is Singing" and several others, exist like some quiet creatures in an existential universe, waiting to be discovered. When I think about them, I think of this picture of yours, the day the announcement came. Slumped on your doorstep, reporters crowding around you, you showed what a writer ought to feel towards society's approval of ones art. You hardly cared at all. It was not the Nobel that propelled your writings.

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