Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

I have this theory about internet dating.  I think that the reason it feels so bizarre for (many) people of my generation, Generation X, is that we never really learned how to date.  For myself, and for most of my friends, relationships historically began by “hanging out” and “hooking up,” and the first date only happened after one or both of those things had happened.  “Dating” was never really something that I did (much to my mother’s dismay). What internet dating does is actually put us into a situation that’s sort of from the 1950s.  You see multiple people, you don’t commit until after you’ve weighed them against one another, and you never experience an “insta-relationship.”  If you’re doing it right.  (I have, historically, done it wrong.)

So I have been on two dates in two days with new fellows.  Both of these fellows on paper have many things in common. Both majored in English (this is the first time ever I have dated people who majored in English in college), both like all of the movies and music that I like.  Both have decent taste in books (or, even if I disagree with their taste, they have read the books so that I can disagree with them, which is a delight.)

One is a Giant (6’6″) and a mailman.

The other is a Leprechaun (a slight fellow who is 5’10”) and who does IT related things for a non-profit.

The Giant grew up here, and the Leprechaun grew up in a square state with amber waves of grain.

I think, at the moment, that the Leprechaun is in the lead.  While I had fun with the Giant last night (dinner, pub trivia), tonight’s date with the Leprechaun was probably the best first date I’ve ever been on (we met for drinks, went for a walk, ended up at a great Japanese restaurant for sushi – and let’s note, I had thought to myself that I’d have a drink and then come home).

But it’s weird.  I am doing nothing wrong.  I am not being dishonest with anyone, or being unfair or misleading to anyone.  But it still feels weird to be “seeing” two men.  And I don’t quite know how to navigate “seeing” two men.  Nor do I know how I will handle ending it with one if the other ends up being somebody I want to see exclusively.  See, historically, the “seeing each other exclusively” conversation has not, for me, ever involved another person.  It’s all so WEIRD.

Right now I am making no decisions.  I need to ride it all out a bit more.  That said?  They are both lovely men.  And it is totally bizarre to inhabit a position where I allow two lovely men to take me out on dates without giving them a thing and without getting rid of one or the other.  But hey, I’ve only been out once with each of them.  The way I figure it, I have at least one more with each before I’m obligated to figure it the fuck out.

Side note: worst thing about dating is the need to wear eyeliner and mascara – or, really, to take those cosmetics off at the end of the night.

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New Guy… A Homesteader?

So I went out on a date this afternoon into the evening (3-9pm).  It was really, REALLY fun.  We had some beers, played pool, had dinner, talked a lot.  It was SO. FUN.

On paper… well, I’m not sure about him on paper.  He’s technically unemployed.  Though this status was a decision on his part, and he is self-sufficient and pays his bills and owns property and whatever.  And he paid for the date.  See, he has decided to simplify his life and to build a house with his own hands out of an old barn.  He’s kind of a strange combination of a Marxist environmentalist and a weirdo libertarian. And yet not earnest or preachy or an asshole.

This is the first guy I’ve gone out with since The Dude – and let’s note, I’ve gone out with like 10 guys since The Dude – that I am *interested* in.  Like, genuinely and totally INTERESTED in.  As a person. He’s an interesting guy. As I noted, we had a LOT of fun. That I am not unsure of.  And there seemed to be a good vibe between us.  At the end of the date, I said goodbye to him at his car. He bestowed upon me two gifts from the dollar store, which he had visited earlier in the day: some rooster potholders and some mardi gras beads – he has chickens (one of the first things that made me bother to get to know him, seriously), and he used to live in NOLA. And there was a very warm hug goodbye.  But he didn’t kiss me…. To be fair, I didn’t kiss him either, but the point is there was no kissing. He texted me when he got home and he said that he had fun.  I replied that I, too, had fun.  But we have no plans to get together again, and what with that plus the no kissing…. I’m just not sure what to make of it all.

But at least for the moment, I am in like.  And it’s been a very long time since I have felt that prior to making out with somebody.  And he made me laugh so hard my face hurt.  And there was definite “clicking.”  I think. Though maybe it was just friend clicking?  (On my end it wasn’t just friend clicking, but maybe I don’t know crap and it was just friend clicking.)

So The Homesteader. He’s an interesting prospect, until I discover otherwise.  INTERESTING.

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For decisions and revisions that a minute will reverse.

I’m not sure what it means that I read the entirety of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” on the phone to The Dude tonight, and that he seemingly appreciated it.

But doing so made me think about a song, a song that my good friend calls “The Holden Caulfield Song,” which, frankly, it’s embarrassing to identify with a Holden Caulfield Song, though apparently I do.

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Fish in the Sea

So there is this Dating Site on the Internet, which is ginormous because it is free.  Historically, I’ve avoided the free sites, thinking (wrongly, incidentally) that the “quality” of dates I would find would be higher.  But so anyway, 10 days ago, I was bored, and I thought, let me check out this free site.

WOW.  On the one hand, everybody who is on there is really on there, and they really are lonely and looking to make a connection.  I swear, I’ve probably gotten emails from like 40-50 dudes in 10 days?  (Admittedly, the number got more manageable once I changed my email settings so that they had to write at least a couple of sentences for the email to go through.)  And COUNTLESS dudes say they want to meet me and that they like me.

On the other hand, the whole thing is kind of creepy and sleazy. Especially since I spent a total of 10 minutes putting the profile together.  I have just one picture up – a selfie where I look super pissed off – and I wrote maybe 8 sentences in my profile.  But apparently, there is something about me in this “sea” of potential mates that is intriguing.

But so I have some thoughts about this site.

  1. On the one hand, this “sea” is one that appears to have been polluted with chemicals, and there are a lot of fucked up fish in it.  Tons of emotional and logistical baggage, a fair few dudes who appear to just be trolling for sex (some of whom I think are pretending to be firefighters), and other unattractive things.  On the other, after sifting through all of the fish with three eyes that are covered in oil, I have found more guys on this site who have multiple degrees, interesting jobs, and intellectual interests that match my own than I have EVER found on the pay dating sites.
  2. Many men out there appear to be looking for their “best friend.”  If you are over the age of 30 – or even 40 – and you haven’t found a best friend yet, which frankly, is a problem unto itself, I am confident in asserting that you are not going to find that person on a website that I refer to in my head as “Pieces of Shit.”
  3. On this particular site, many men include photos of them with – wait for it – fish that they’ve caught.  The sexxxier amongst those men like to pose shirtless with their fish.  I can’t even.
  4. It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you say a) that you don’t do drama/aren’t interested in drama queens or b) that you aren’t into playing games/are sick of the games that women play, then YOU, the guy, are a drama queen who plays games.
  5. My favorite profile I’ve read so far – though I have no interest in dating the guy – was just one sentence long: “I am looking for a woman who isn’t a total broken mess.”  I think that gives you an indication of this Dating Pool of Last Resort.

At any rate, on my plate at the moment are the Tortured Artist (who is poor, but sweet, and we are having lunch Friday), the Techie Recruiter Guy (who seems cool), and potentially two new Geographically Convenient Guys though we shall see (for the first GCG went out with me twice and then now appears to be blowing me off, which, whatever).  Every single one of these has at least a B.A. if not advanced degrees, and each of these guys is not an idiot.  Given the way that people discuss this site, I have to say I’m shocked at these results, particularly given that they are ALREADY after only 10 days infinitely BETTER than my results have ever been on other more “reputable” sites that I’ve been using for years.  Maybe I just do better with more options?  Who knows.

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  • The longer I teach, the more I realize that actual “grading” at the end of the semester means little.  I mean, I go through the motions, but I’ve started doing this thing where I predict what my students will earn based on their work up until about midterm/75% of the way through the semester, and typically what they earn is about what I predict (within a plus or a minus), regardless of end-of-semester assignments.  Now, part of this is because I don’t believe in weighting Finals so heavily that they can totally change a grade.  Part of why I don’t believe in this is pedagogically sound: it’s because, in the classes where this was possible, I used that so heavily to my advantage as an undergraduate, so I slacked for like 10 weeks and then I pulled out all the stops at the end, and I actually didn’t retain or learn very much.  But I won’t lie: part of why I do that now is laziness: the grading at the bitter end will be less brutal for me as a professor.
  • It’s been interesting (and gratifying) for me to see the way that certain students who started out weak at the beginning of the semester (in more than one course) and who took advantage of my offer to meet with them really were able to improve BY VAST AMOUNTS by the end.  They have improved so much, and I really see that as the result of one-on-one instruction.  Worth noting: this is why I get annoyed by colleagues who don’t hold office hours (even though we are “required” to do so) or who make their office hours so rigid that it prohibits students from taking advantage of them.  And when people say, “But students don’t come to office hours,” I will admit that my response is, “Um, mine do.  Sometimes I hold like 6 office hours a week because there is so much demand.”  Maybe it’s not that “students,” generally, won’t come, but that you suck.
  • This is also why I hate the process of student evals, though, because yeah, you might have gotten Ds on a couple of papers, but that doesn’t mean you will get a D in the class. WHY CAN’T STUDENTS UNDERSTAND MATH?  I believe in giving you the D that you deserve, but I also weight earlier grades less than later grades, so you should know that if you LEARN over the course of the semester that you will be fine.  But students (or at least my students) don’t get that, and so I get semi-crappy evaluation numbers, just because THEY CAN’T DO MATH.  They are all like, “she thinks this is a GRADUATE COURSE,” when what I’m actually thinking is, “IMPROVE!”  And almost universally, they do.  And their grades are FINE, in the final estimation.  (When I say “fine,” I mean that a large majority of my students end up in the A-C+ range. And not because of grade inflation.)
  • On Students Not Understanding Math, why do students who haven’t submitted more than 60 percent of the assignments in a course think that taking the final will allow them to pass?  Why do they show up after they have disappeared for 8 weeks?  Just why?
  • I also have had a couple of students this semester who took a course with me at the sophomore level and then another at the junior level, and it’s been gratifying to see (in terms of looking at how my grading shakes out) that those students earned higher grades in the lower level course than in the higher level.  Which, I think, is as it should be.  (Note: I didn’t do this intentionally: it was how it all shook out in terms of assessments and rubrics.)  Expectations should be higher in upper-level courses than in lower-level courses.  I’m glad that mine align with that ideal.
  • I have weird dry skin issues because of the weather this year.  It sucks.  (I typically have really good skin, so perhaps I’m being a baby.  But I am used to having perfect skin, and this is unacceptable.)
  • A thing that has been annoying me lately in my department is that a certain minority of my colleagues have been bitching at Every. Single. Department Meeting. about how their courses don’t make enrollment and about how it’s the fault of the curriculum, and they do so under the auspices of agenda items that are not about this issue, and they never bring forth a proposal (to put on the AGENDA for a vote) to solve the “problem” that they see.  (My annoyance stems from the fact that a) I have to listen to them bitch unproductively, and b) they end up getting “rewarded” with 2 preps rather than 3 preps or the 4 that I teach because their courses get cancelled.) Right, now, however, I am less annoyed because in spite of the fact that I am teaching an upper-level course next semester that is for all intents and purposes a “new” course (it’s been on the books since Vietnam – literally – but it hasn’t been taught for the 10 years I’ve been here) is totally fine in terms of enrollment, whereas some courses that should have NO PROBLEM (think: SHAKESPEARE) have been cancelled.  Here’s the thing: maybe the problem isn’t the curriculum, or the students, or the schedule.  MAYBE THE PROBLEM IS YOU.  The problem doesn’t appear to be ME, even though I am ostensibly among the toughest (if not the toughest) professor in the department.  (These colleagues often argue that the problem is because their courses are the most rigorous… except that’s totally not what’s going on.)
  • The dating.  Where do I begin?  There are two primary guys right now: Geographically Convenient Guy (who literally lives like an 8-minute leisurely walk from my house) and Tortured Artist (whom I will go out with this weekend).  I like GCG a lot. (We met Tuesday.) Partly because of the convenience, I won’t lie, but even aside from that, he has lots of good qualities.  I’m less enthralled with TA, just because he seems so EARNEST (though perhaps I will find that he is a delight upon meeting? And I do like his name better than I like the name of GCG, which I realize is weird and shallow, but a good name goes a long way).  At the end of the day, though, I’m enjoying the dating fun, and it is taking the edge off the end of the semester nicely.  Worth noting: I found both of these dudes in the sad sea of what I think is the cesspool of internet dating – Plenty of Fish.  Also worth noting: they are both better (on paper, and in life) than any guy I’ve ever found on sites that require one to pay money… it just took me sifting through the dregs of society to find them.  (Seriously: the DREGS.)  So we shall see.

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Where do I even begin? Basically, in a fit of procrastination and in an attempt to drive The Dude from my mind, I have been A Very Active Internet Dater.  I am in active talks with… 4 guys?  5?  I don’t know.  And there are many others that I have put on the back burner.  With all of this going on, one would think that The Dude would yesterday’s news.

Yeah, he called me twice yesterday.  It was my fault, but still. Ugh.

Anyway, though, I am actually VERY excited about one of my gentleman callers, and we are going to get together tomorrow.  But I’ve gotta take it slow because one of the reasons why I’m very excited about him is that we have discovered that we live like five minutes from each other (walking briskly; like 1 minute driving), and while geographic compatibility is very nice indeed, it also makes for awkwardness when things go badly.  So I need to be very sure about this fellow before we get beyond the talking phase.

Ok, I am a ridiculous person and I really need to grade.  But grading is so much less compelling than boy-craziness.

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I can’t think that this end is coming as a surprise to any of you.  I mean, it’s not even a surprise to me, and I was willing myself to think that maybe things might turn out differently.  But, indeed, this chapter is well and truly finished.  For once and for all.

I first suspected that perhaps I didn’t really want things to work with The Dude when I entertained the advances of Steve the Hot Plumber.  Another hint was when I allowed a Young Whippersnapper to come courting (via email and telephone) the following week.  The fact of the matter is, if I had been truly invested in reuniting with The Dude, I probably wouldn’t have allowed these distractions. And yet I did.  Which pretty much says it all, given the person that I am.

Because The Dude is emotionally an adolescent, he was exceptionally attentive when my attention was diverted, which probably extended things a bit, if I’m honest.  Because The Dude loves me when I’m unavailable, and he takes me for granted and treats me like crap when I’m actually present and nice.  Because THAT is healthy.  At any rate, there were three things that happened last week that led up to me finally saying enough was enough.  First, he screwed up plans with me (car trouble, ostensibly); second, he was all “I want to come over on the day after Thanksgiving to see your parents while they are in town!” and I was like “Okay….” and then he blew that off, too.  (Note: I never really wanted or expected him to see them.  But he was all kinds of enthusiasm about it.) And then he was supposed to come over on Sunday, but on Saturday he was all “I’m so broke I can’t even afford gas to drive to your house so you might have to come here” and then he didn’t answer the phone when I called him.  And then I said to myself, “I don’t need this shit.  I don’t even think I like him anymore.”

So I tried to have us get together to have a face-to-face conversation, just to end things like grown-ups with some modicum of respect, since we didn’t actually do that when we really broke up in July, but then he was all, “I don’t need this STRESS,” so that didn’t happen.  Whatever.  There really isn’t anything to say.  I just thought that we owed each other that much (and I had some stuff to give him that I don’t want and that it feels wasteful to throw away… which I suppose I’ll mail to him?  I dunno.  Maybe I can handle the goods in an alternative way that wouldn’t involve throwing them in the trash?)

At any rate, I unfriended him on Fb and I’ve deleted him from my phone.  And I’m in talks with a few fellows from Internet Dating Site, and sure, they will likely turn out to be weirdos, but better new weirdos with new weirdness than the same old fucking shit.  Also: work is my top priority right now, and I do not need to be in some sort of weird Manipulation Limbo with some d00d who doesn’t value me at all.

And so, it’s done.  And I feel good about it.  On to the next one. (“Y’all should grow the fuck up/come here and let me coach you.”  That line especially makes me laugh because one of my Freshmen has decided that he’s going to make the nickname “Coach” happen for me.)

Also, we are NEVER EVER EVER EVER getting back together.  (I apologize for getting this stuck in your head, but it has totally been stuck in my head for the past three days.  Y’all know it’s bad when Taylor Swift seems to have insight into your dumb life.  Especially when you’re 39 years old.)

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Honestly, truthfully, totally, the part of my job that I find most gratifying is mentoring students who are in the first generation in their families to go to college.  Yes, I love my research, and yes, I love teaching innovative courses.  But the most important and gratifying work that I do involves helping students who have no ability to navigate academic bureaucracy and academic discourse.

This matters so much to me because I had little to no help with this as a first generation college student myself.  And it also matters to me because it produces such clear and measurable results.  The students whom I’ve helped with this stuff are clearly so much better off than they would have been had I not done anything, regardless of what careers they end up pursuing or the lives that they end up leading.  I actually like advising students, writing letters of reference, and vetting students’ application materials.  It is good work, and it feels good to do it.

So The Dude’s best friend since childhood has twin daughters who are in their senior year of high school.  Note: I love The Dude’s best friend, and he is, ultimately, a good person in his heart (though kind of shitty in the execution).  But WOW is he a shitty dad.  (Which, yes, makes me love him less, and also makes me sort of angry at him.)  So one of the daughters is trying to apply to colleges and her shitty father wouldn’t take her to visit one of the colleges, but because The Dude really is generous and loving and awesome, since he had taken the week off with vacation days from work, he was like, “of course I’ll take you to visit, niece-like person.”  And then after he asked me to look over her application essay – well, he told me he was sending it to me and then I gave him shit about not asking me, but whatever.  Of course I was going to help her.

1) From her essay, she is so smart and so amazing and her life has been Such. Shit.

2) I love The Dude for taking her to a campus visit, which, frankly, is like my worst nightmare of things to do.  I mean, campus visits suck.  Especially when the weather is hell and there is a campus tour component.

3) I love The Dude for enlisting me to help her.  The fact of the matter is that his BFF could have asked me to help, and it didn’t even occur to him. Or, at the VERY least, he could have asked The Dude to ask me.  But he DIDN’T EVEN CARE, even though his daughter is so motherfucking amazing and has no support.  Why isn’t he more proud?  Why doesn’t he take more responsibility?  Why is The Dude a better fill-in dad than the BFF is an ACTUAL dad?

4) I don’t even know this girl, but my god do I want her to succeed!

5) The Dude might suck for me, but WOW do I love him as a person and a friend.  He is one of the most good-hearted people I’ve ever met.

6) I’m sort of fraternizing with a young whippersnapper from the internet.  Because as much as I love The Dude, he can’t hang, and a lady in her late 30s must sow her oats while she has oats to sow.  But god, if he would just get his shit together…. Which he probably never will.  (We’re still trying, I am just entirely cynical about everything right now.)

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Day Zero: Steve the Hot Plumber (henceforth known as StHP) contacts Dr. Crazy through the internet, expressing interest in her online dating profile.  Dr. Crazy debates about whether to respond because of her general feelings about spelling, grammar, and punctuation, but ultimately she does because, eh, whatever. So they email, they text, they talk on the phone, and they agree to meet the next evening.

Day One – Courtship: Dr. Crazy meets StHP for a beer and they hit it off (ish.  I mean, there is attraction, but there aren’t many common interests, and he’s not funny, but whatever).  It’s an enjoyable evening, which ends with hugging and a chaste kiss, and when Dr. Crazy gets home they end up talking on the phone into the wee hours.  She thinks that he is kind of dumb, but maybe she is just judgmental?  Let’s see what happens.

Day Two – Boyfriend/Girlfriend (note: this is a designation I’m only making after the fact): Dr. Crazy and StHP go out, and things progress quite swiftly.  Dr. Crazy thinks, “Well, that was unexpected, but what the heck?  You only live once.”

Day Three – “Commitment”: Dr. Crazy goes over to StHP’s house and they hang out, he cooks her a cheeseburger, and they watch a movie.  Dr. Crazy (secretly) exhibits poor, bored committed relationship behavior (though let’s note she didn’t know she was in a committed relationship) by texting with her ex-boyfriend during the movie, and then later when StHP has fallen asleep in his recliner, she checks her voicemail to find a phone message from that ex-boyfriend in which he says, “Hello, Dr. Crazy.  (Seriously, he addressed me by my professional title, which is like a pet name for me from him.) I’m just calling because I haven’t talked to you in a few days and I miss your voice.  I love you.” This makes Dr. Crazy feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Day Four – Breaking Up: Dr. Crazy had been very excited for weeks about seeing some bands play with her friends.  VERY excited.  Indeed, excited to the extent that she kept talking about it.  Indeed, when she mentioned it that afternoon to StHP, he replied, “I know.  You have told me that you’re doing this like a hundred times.”  [Unrelated, but The Dude initiated a conversation about the show I was going to, saying that I must be so stoked that the day was finally here, and asking me all about it, and then telling me to say hello from him to my friends and joking that I shouldn’t get too crazy but I should have a great time.]  So just before the show, StHP texts me to tell me that I should come over after.  I say that I’m not driving anyplace, and then he says he wants to see me on the weekend.  I said we’d figure something out.  And then my friends and I went into the show and I put away my phone.  Worth noting, once we entered the venue we were in a cell phone dead zone, so no texts went through.  I left the venue, and I texted StHP.  He didn’t respond, which I felt was strange.  Then, because I was out of the venue, additional texts came through.  1) Once again, he’d suggested I come over after. (Though I had thought that was already decided in the negative)  2) “So what do you think?”.  3) “Hello??????”.  4) “Well, I guess you’re just not interested.  Fine.  You could have told me that.”  (Worth noting, I am totally correcting grammar and spelling in this recap.)  So I wrote back once the increasingly anxious texts came through, and I was all, “I seriously wasn’t being a dick to you – I was in a cell phone dead zone!”  (which let’s note- even if it wasn’t I wouldn’t have been looking at my phone) to which he responded, “I will not stand for being blown off! My ex-wife blew me off, and I shall never be blown off aGAIN!” to which I was all, “But I wasn’t blowing you off!  I didn’t get the texts! I’d still like to see you this weekend!” and he was all “Ill be busy” (uncorrected for errors, just to give you a little taste of what he’s like).  And I thought to myself, “Dude!  I’ve been an asshole in actual ways that you could legitimately be pissed off at me for, but this is unjust!  I didn’t even do anything!”  But, alas, he is done with me, for I am a crazy bitch who had the audacity to go out with her friends (which he knew I was doing) and to be unavailable for approximately 4 hours.

First off, I’ve not had somebody break up with me with whom I didn’t know I was in a relationship since 1999.  Second off, BULLET DODGED.  Third off, what the hell?  Fourth off, how do you have a whole relationship that lasts four days?  (Apparently, now I know the answer to that.)

I am so, so glad that I never told him where I live.  What a weirdo.

Also, apparently commitmentphobic unavailable fuckwits do have their strong points: they like it when you go out with your friends because you are leaving them alone.  Indeed, they support my need for freedom!  Except, of course, they also want me to be “free” when I don’t want to be.  I’ve yet to solve that particular conundrum.

[Worth noting: Steve the Hot Plumber is not a pseudonym.  It’s just his name.  Because if you’ve only been in my life for four days, you don’t get the energy of me coming up with a pseudonym for you.]


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Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, has died, at the age of 94.

I know that I want to write about what Lessing’s writing has meant to me, and I want to do it here, but I hardly know where to begin.  In some ways this post is much more personal to me than any of the “personal” writing I post in this space.

I never was assigned any of Lessing’s writing as a student, not even in graduate school.  I never studied her writing in a course.  I encountered Lessing because a professor suggested that given my interests The Golden Notebook would blow my mind.  And so I checked a copy out of the library, and I vividly recall reading it at 19 years old, in the top bunk in my dorm room, blowing off the work I had to do for my other courses (I wasn’t an English major yet), and just feeling… feeling like I had never experienced anything like that book.  I felt inspired, and “seen,” and excited, and fascinated.  My mind was, indeed, blown.

For a long time (far longer than I should admit), The Golden Notebook was the only thing by Lessing that I’d read, although I reread it compulsively.  And for a long time (far longer than I should admit), I didn’t really dig deeply into what that novel really had to say, but instead I picked out the parts with which I identified (and let’s note: I was identifying with a book with an ultimately unlikable protagonist who is going through a mental breakdown) and the parts that expressed my own confusion, anger, frustration, and inarticulate feminism.  But it was an important book to me, and I grew up with it.

Only later did I begin to study it, first in putting it on my list for my Ph.D. comprehensive exam, and second, once I had a tenure-track position, teaching the novel.  And then I began reading Lessing’s other works and teaching them and to learn more about Lessing herself.

I began to love Lessing for her antagonism to critics and her refusal to do what readers wanted or expected her to do.  I began to see Lessing as an author that was radically reinventing the genre of the novel, even as she resisted many of the conventions of postmodern narrative experimentation.  I discovered that Lessing’s novels, as I reread them, grew and changed with me, that I understood them in new ways as I accumulated more personal and intellectual experiences.  Not all books do that.  Not even all books that people describe as “literature” do that.

So I feel profoundly sad today, even though I recognize that Lessing lived a long life and that this was her time.  And it’s a loss for which I should have been ready, for her health has been in steady decline.

Of course, I was not ready, am not ready.  Perhaps I will spend the afternoon rereading The Golden Notebook.


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