Doris Lessing Quotes (36 Quotes)


    I don't know much about creative writing programs. But they're not telling the truth if they don't teach, one, that writing is hard work, and, two, that you have to give up a great deal of life, your personal life, to be a writer.

    It is terrible to destroy a person's picture of himself in the interests of truth or some other abstraction.

    The smell of manure, of sun on foliage, of evaporating water, rose to my head two steps farther, and I could look down into the vegetable garden enclosed within its tall pale of reeds - rich chocolate earth studded emerald green, frothed with the white of cauliflowers, jeweled with the purple globes of eggplant and the scarlet wealth of tomatoes.

    Borrowing is not much better than begging; just as lending with interest is not much better than stealing.



    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.

    Nonsense, it was all nonsense this whole damned outfit, with its committees, its conferences, its eternal talk, talk, talk, was a great con trick it was a mechanism to earn a few hundred men and women incredible sums of money.


    Political correctness is the natural continuum from the party line. What we are seeing once again is a self-appointed group of vigilantes imposing their views on others. It is a heritage of communism, but they dont seem to see this.

    Pleasure resorts are like film stars and royalty... embarrassed by the figures they cut in the fantasies of people who have never met them.



    In the writing process, the more the story cooks, the better. The brain works for you even when you are at rest. I find dreams particularly useful. . . . You can only learn to be a better writer by actually writing.

    What's terrible is to pretend that second-rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don't need love when you do; or you like your work when you know quite well you're capable of better.

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

    All sanity depends on this that it should be a delight to feel heat strike the skin, a delight to stand upright, knowing the bones are moving easily under the flesh.

    We use our parents like recurring dreams, to be entered into when needed.

    And then, not expecting it, you become middle-aged and anonymous. No one notices you. You achieve a wonderful freedom.

    You can't be a Red if you're married to a civil servant.


    The worst superstition is to consider our own tolerable.

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

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

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

    With a library you are free, not confined by temporary political climates. It is the most democratic of institutions because no one - but no one at all - can tell you what to read and when and how.


    A simple grateful thought turned heavenwards is the most perfect prayer.


    Man, who is he? Too bad, to be the work of God: Too good for the work of chance!

    If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.

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

    This world is run by people who know how to do things. They know how things work. They are equipped. Up there, there's a layer of people who run everything. But we - we're just peasants. We don't understand what's going on, and we can't do anything.

    It is the mark of great people to treat trifles as trifles and important matters as important.

    There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.

    Space or science fiction has become a dialect for our time.

    For the last third of life there remains only work. It alone is always stimulating, rejuvenating, exciting and satisfying.


    More Doris Lessing Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Work & Career - Life - Writing - Pleasure - Truth - Mind - Water - Time - People - Man - Woman - Communism & Marxism - Library - Trust - Change - Space - Brain - Law & Regulation - Advices - View All Doris Lessing Quotations

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