Doris Lessing’s Speech

A friend sent me a copy of an excerpt from Doris Lessing’s Nobel Lecture that was presented in Dec. 2007. I do enjoy hearing what authors say about their work. So, I opened the attachment hurriedly. The speech reads like poetry to me, yet I grew saddened by its content. In it, she talks about visiting north-west Zimbabwe in the 1980s to visit a friend who is working at a deprived school. The school lacks the things I take for granted, and I feel ashamed. No books? I don’t want to think about it. The juxtaposition of the school in London? Yes, Ms. Lessing, I do know how it is. I do spend an entire day on the computer, blogging, e-mailing, surfing. But Ms. Lessing also reminded me of my childhood. As I told my son the other day when I tried to explain the choices I’ve made concerning his education, my mother had a high school education and probably could not help me with my studies the way I help him. Nevertheless, she made my ability to help him possible. How? She brought me books. She filled out the postcard and joined one of those bookclubs that sent a new title once a month or so. From then on, I was hooked on reading. I still believe books are powerful.