Tag Archives: Doris Lessing

I heard it on the radio…

One of my favourite books ever is Doris Lessing’s The Four-Gated City.

I’ve revisited it time and time again over the last 30 years or so, finding something new in it on each occasion; but an abiding image is Linda’s discussion of the radio in her head. When her mental illness is in the ascendency, the radio is a problem, with domineering voices. When she is mentally well. it’s an inner barometer; the songs it plays tells her how her subconscious feels about things going on in her world.

I have often tuned into my inner radio. It really is an astonishingly perceptive instrument; sometimes poking witty fun at the world, sometimes echoing its darkness.

At the moment, the song that has been blasting at full volume for weeks is a tune by the Canadian song mistress Heather Dale, with Joan of Arc reflecting on her lonely position.

“Oh, they won’t call me Mother, or Sister, or Wife; they will know me or not by the strength of my life… I’ll burn; they’ll know me as Joan…” (from memory – via my radio! Heather’s web site is down. It’s at http://heatherdale.com/ )

Well, I fully intend to carry on being a mother and a sister – but I am completely ready to stop being a wife. I guess the “strength of my life” bit is a challenge – which I will relish, AFTER I get some sleep!

 

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