I was thinking about Doris Lessing on Sunday morning, which was odd because I haven't read one of her books for a while. I remembered how a friend had lent me a copy of The Grass is Singing and she kept her books so utterly pristine that I had been too terrified to read it and had purchased my own copy, returning the untouched book after a couple of weeks. I remembered how much I had loved it and that I'd told my boyfriend to read it. He'd been a dozen pages from the end when his bag was stolen in the pub and the book too. I'm not sure whether he ever finished it (I could ask him as he's sitting next to me...). I remembered that my flatmate had discovered during her work experience placement at a publishers, that Doris Lessing lived just around the corner from us. We'd joked about popping over for tea and cake; she looked like a cuddly granny but one with the sharpest, most brilliant mind. I remembered that I'd seen her talk in Edinburgh and that she'd been so interesting and eloquent. She spoke about technology and how she could tell the difference between a novel that had been written on a computer and one that had been composed in long-hand. She claimed there was a sense of rhythm and flow that was lost when you could cut and paste and move text around so easily. I remembered being very excited to read The Golden Notebook and then just not getting into it, more because of the place I was at in my life than because of the writing. I should try again, I thought. I remembered that someone had told me about her novel The Fifth Child and how you should on no account read it when pregnant. So of course, I did just that. I wondered how old she must be now; I checked on Wikipedia that she was still alive.
And then a few hours later, I saw the news and thought how strange that I should think of Doris Lessing on this day, of all days.