whiny distant radio I
catch this, "...Nobel of
2007...Mrs Doris Lessing." I don't believe it! That "nice skinner," as
I've long called her? I prick up my ears,
"...in 1976 was given the Medicis prize for The Golden Notebook." I
did not even
know that she had been translated into French. I only knew—out of
sense—that whoever had read
books by her in English couldn't help but regard her as one of the
great flags of opposition to the system as well as opposition to
the classic social pipedreams that have kept men, timorously hiding
behind politics, government and law, from facing up their real destiny.
An Arès Pilgrim she is probably not, but an "insurger" she is—only
with something more, provocative and terrible, for which I can't see
any necessity—with the meaning
I "minted" the word "insurgence" into as "the Aresian soul's coin"
mine on that theme).
not read all of Doris Lessing's books, far from it, but I know two ot
three things about her, which make us closer to each other.
She was a Communist and I used to be so in the days when I discovered
her from a book left on a seat on the Paris-Lyon express by some
She set to work writing not to be a writer, but to tell men about
her experience of life and cry in substance, "You're all nasty pieces
of work!" I set to work writing not to be
a writer, but to tell men about a quite different experience, the
Creator's, and add to the cries of Doris Lessing and all the denouncers
of human evil, "Yes, you are, but you can change."
She is not interested in pretty congratulations. I am not.
She doesn't waste time worrying about nasty things and malice. I don't,
either, because life is too short, is not worth dwelling on slanderous
viciousness, while the most urgent thing is to show men that, even
whenever they are not really mean, insignificant or repulsive, they are
by no means up to their real metaphysical capability of love and
I think that congratulators and carpers are just like roses and
moquitoes. Today the former are fragrant and the latter biting, but
tomorrow they will be no more. They never inspire
the clear-headed world anything to help it create something new or
evolve. She thinks so, only with different words. Although my own
real-life experience and the
real-life experience of Doris Lessing, ten years my senior, aren't like
each other, they have poured down through the same human flesh like
torrents. In their eddies the clear-headed man can mirror his own face,
distorted, disappointing, but
out of disappointment can decide to re-create himself different and
have great expectations rising.
Would Doris Lessing be just "the emancipated woman," as the Nobel
Academy says? To me she is much more than that, she is the emancipated
When she was 65 years old and already an established writer, Doris
Lessing did an interesting experiment. She sent a manuscript under a
false name to her publisher, who sent it back as mediocre and/or
unpublishable. She was awfully amused once more seeing the very great
relativity of the world's values. Accordingly, I feel amused at the
idea that I might have got an inverse result, if in 1974-1975 I had
sent to the 47 publishers, that were all going to turn down the
manuscrit of The Gospel Given in Arès (The Revelation of
part), in a false presentation, like a book having been cynically
written by me
instead of supernaturally received from Heaven. Some publishers could
have responded positively.