In My Bones (by Bruce Balter)

In My Bones (by Bruce Balter)

In My Bones (February 11, 2007)

» Bruce tells his story (mp3, 2:50)

I was a teaching fellow at Wayne State University, in Detroit, and planning a dissertation on Doris Lessing, when in 1969 she published The Four-Gated City. This was to be the final book in the series, "Children of Violence," which I believe was more than 15 years in the making. The final book was a surprise to me because it departed from mainly social and political commitment. The dedication of the book was from a Sufi teaching story and Doris Lessing had come under the influence of Idies Shah, a Sufi teacher.

Part Four of the book has an epigraph from Rumi that says, man "shall pass beyond the current forms of perception," but he must wake from his sleep. "Come, leave such asses to their meadow. Because of necessity, man acquires organs. So, necessitous one, increase your need…"

This has got into my bones and I cannot forget it. There was a turning point in my life. I stayed with the Sufis and Rumi for a long time, though not with Doris Lessing.

Bruce Balter
Oak Bluffs, MA (WCAI, 90.1 FM)

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is professor of Persian & Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis, and the author of several books, including Reading Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal aI-Din Rumi.