Monday, November 18, 2013

Remembering Doris Lessing

When I told them at the breakfast table the sad news that Doris Lessing has passed away, Sean suddenly looked up, asked me what it was that she wrote that he was familiar with? I started. “You? Familiar with Doris Lessing?” He said, yes, nodding his head. “She is very familiar, what was it that she wrote?” So, I thought: What was it that she wrote that a 12-year-old must have heard? She wrote The Golden Notebook, which I did not finish reading, so, it wasn't very likely that a 12-year-old could be familiar with it; or Martha Quest, which I kept hidden among my books at home; or, was it, The Grass is Singing? But it was a woman's story, how could a boy be familiar with it? Or was it Under my Skin? which was an autobiography? Or, some of the African Stories? No, I never shared anything about Africa with him, I could not understand Africa so well; besides, there were a lot of strange names that he might have found funny when the stories were quite serious. “The Grass is Singing?” I asked. “No,” he said, “Something you kept talking about. Something you never could stop talking.” Aaaaaaah, I said, finally remembering. “Briefing for a Descent into Hell!”

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