On Doris Lessing’s Birthday, 12 of Her Most Inspiring Quotes

Doris May Lessing CH (22 October 1919 – 17 November 2013) was a British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer. Her novels include The Grass is Singing (1950), the sequence of five novels collectively called Children of Violence (1952–69), The Golden Notebook (1962), The Good Terrorist (1985), and five novels collectively known as Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979–1983).

Lessing was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. In awarding the prize, the Swedish Academy described her as “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”. Lessing was the eleventh woman and the oldest person ever to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.

In 2001, Lessing was awarded the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime’s achievement in British literature. In 2008, The Times ranked her fifth on a list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.

Here are some words of wisdom from Doris Lessing.

1. Things are not quite so simple always as black and white.

2. The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.

3. I’m sure that everybody feels a kind of permanent anguish about what’s going on in the world.

4. Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.

5. In university they don’t tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools.

6. Trust no friend without faults, and love a woman, but no angel.

7. Small things amuse small minds.

8. When you’re young you think that you’re going to sail into a lovely lake of quietude and peace. This is profoundly untrue.

9. There is only one real sin and that is to persuade oneself that the second best is anything but second best.

10. I’ve worked hard all my life. You have to if you want to get things done.

11. That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.

12. Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.

Biography via: Wikipedia.

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