October 26th, 2010 / 2:54 pm
Author Spotlight & Mean

Doris, your door is open

"Nobel Prize was a bloody disaster" -- Doris Lessing, The Independent (2008)

Jesus lady, get a grip. So you got post-Nobel prize ennui, a plight shared by us all. Evidently, you haven’t spent any of that prize money on new clothes, just what appears to be a large bag of bird seeds (which ought to last you a while), and two plastic bins of who knows what. There’s a bunch of mint on your right, which is our way of saying “take five mojitos and call me if you’re still mourning.”

The Independent article from which this picture was culled reads like an Onion piece. Lessing laments, “All I do is give interviews and spend time being photographed.” Give this woman some Oil of Olay and an ego for god’s sake. I guess men fair better with a gentle pat on the back, their spines broken by this world. She goes on to say that her will to write is “[…] sliding away like water down a plughole,” which I guess is a tact simile. Less may be more, but Lessing is more dramatic than I imagined. Smile, not simile Doris, it’s called a camera.



  1. jereme_dean

      i wonder if the photographer got a waft of open aroma.

  2. deadgod

      This news just in:

      Rockefeller yearns for “the authenticity of poverty”.

      Angelina Pitt-Jolie and Brad Jolie-Pitt “pray” together for cystic acne.

      Kasparov wishes for the “child-like simplicity and openness” of hydrocephalus “for just one day”.

  3. Doris Lessing

      What has happened to us is an amazing invention — computers and the internet and TV. It is a revolution. This is not the first revolution the human race has dealt with. The printing revolution, which did not take place in a matter of a few decades, but took much longer, transformed our minds and ways of thinking. A foolhardy lot, we accepted it all, as we always do, never asked, What is going to happen to us now, with this invention of print? In the same way, we never thought to ask, How will our lives, our way of thinking, be changed by this internet, which has seduced a whole generation with its inanities so that even quite reasonable people will confess that once they are hooked, it is hard to cut free, and they may find a whole day has passed in blogging etc

  4. Jimmy Chen

      thanks, mom.

  5. jereme_dean

      the same thing could be said about velveeta shells & cheese. who the fuck cares.

  6. Sara Crowley

      Hey, don’t diss Doris. She is a very cool woman and at 88 still fierce. Sheez, the writer of “more than 50 novels, volumes of short stories, memoirs and plays…” is allowed to feel a little dried up, surely.

  7. Jimmy Chen

      oh 88, ’tis but two erect infinities

  8. dm

      spin a black circle :>

  9. Kyle Minor

      You’re quoting the wrong part of Lessing’s Nobel speech — one paragraph out of dozens. Here is a more representative part:

      “This links improbably with a fact: I was brought up in what was virtually a mud hut, thatched. This kind of house has been built always, everywhere there are reeds or grass, suitable mud, poles for walls. Saxon England for example. The one I was brought up in had four rooms, one beside another, and it was full of books. Not only did my parents take books from England to Africa, but my mother ordered books by post from England for her children. Books arrived in great brown paper parcels, and they were the joy of my young life. A mud hut, but full of books.

      Even today I get letters from people living in a village that might not have electricity or running water, just like our family in our elongated mud hut. “I shall be a writer too,” they say, “because I’ve the same kind of house you lived in.”

      But here is the difficulty, no?

      Writing, writers, do not come out of houses without books.

      There is the gap. There is the difficulty.

      I have been looking at the speeches by some of your recent prizewinners. Take the magnificent Pamuk. He said his father had 500 books. His talent did not come out of the air, he was connected with the great tradition.

      Take V.S. Naipaul. He mentions that the Indian Vedas were close behind the memory of his family. His father encouraged him to write, and when he got to England he would visit the British Library. So he was close to the great tradition.

      Let us take John Coetzee. He was not only close to the great tradition, he was the tradition: he taught literature in Cape Town. And how sorry I am that I was never in one of his classes, taught by that wonderfully brave, bold mind.

      In order to write, in order to make literature, there must be a close connection with libraries, books, with the Tradition.”

      She’s talking about a poverty of books in houses in Africa, and she fears for a poverty of books in houses in the United States and Europe. And she’s right.

      By the way, if we’re talking experimental literature, let’s not forget that Doris Lessing was a pioneer who wrote in dozens of forms, some of which she invented. Her most popular book, The Fifth Child, would have been blogged to death here at HTMLGiant if it were written yesterday by somebody young and new.

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