• CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2008

    This thread is for discussions about Page 64 of the online edition of The Golden Notebook, and the readers' comments. Please show a courteous regard for the presence of other voices in the discussion. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments that do not adhere to this standard.

    • CommentAuthorchargord
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2008
    I wondered why shame might constitute a response to an authentic writing experience. I too experience this, but I don't really know why. And so, I loved that Laura Kipnis pointed this out and remarked that this was resonant for her, as well. Would she mind telling us more about shame/writing/self?
    Yes, I agree! Laura, I read 2 of your books and loved your take on women's lives. I would love to hear about this ... In many books of Lessings, a woman goes 'mad' when she writes, or takes distance from her normal life (thru psychoanalysis, thru a creative project, for a break from her family (remember 'Room 19'?)). For me that the form v. formlessness question you brought up is related to 'madness', and 'madness' can come from, or feel like, intensified shame. When we speak up against something (sexism, for example) we often feel 'crazy',and the surrounding culture makes us feel ashamed for challenging it. The writing process is so much a dip into great unknown.
    • CommentAuthorjay
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2011
    Yet I am incapable of writing the only kind of novel which interests me: a book powered with an intellectual or moral passion strong enough to create order, to create a new way of looking at life.

    This is what I think a novel should be. DL seems to articulate all my inner thoughts that had not even emerged to the plane of thoughts but were half-formed somethings floating around inside me waiting for words to embody them. God, she is a great writer!
    • CommentAuthorDL fan
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2012 edited
    I've just stumbled upon this forum. I'm a huge Doris Lessing fan and have read the Golden Notebook some time ago. As I read through the discussions I remembered details which I have forgotten. I also seem to remember, I think as a preface to the copy I read that Lessing mentioned each new generation read it in a certain context. It's only lately that it has been seen as a feminist book. Other generations read as a political book and I must admit I don't remember the other contexts. It has been years and I unfortunately do not have my own copy. In 2008 two comments grabbed my attention which made me sign up to the discussion - the aspect of madness when a woman (only women?) speaks - I'm busy reading a biography on Simone de Beauvoir - and in there it is also mentioned, the aspect of madness de Beauvoir felt when she pursued her ambitions which alienated her from her family and culture of the time. The loneliness of setting out on such a journey is enough to drive anyone mad.

    I think TGN is a great book. It is seldom that I sit down and read only one book at a time but TGN so commanded my attention that I read while cooking, eating, running water into the bath and so on. I felt informed of who I am and (isn't this why we all read? To know that we are not alone - I know I'm quoting someone but forgive me can't remember who. Wasn't it also in TGN that she mentioned the personal sacred flame - that it is so important that nothing else matters. I remember texting a few people with the quote and it was quite a discussion for a while just around that.

    I find myself in a rural environment for the first time in 30 years and I must admit, I feel as if I've moved back in time as far as the man-woman dynamics are concerned. It's remains a relevant book.

    Oh! I can go on for a bit but would have to reread TGN again, been meaning to for a while. Hope there's further visiting on this. Probably one of the greatest books I ever read. PjV