Laura Kipnis at Bookforum:
I’d long had it in the back of my mind to write something about Clancy Sigal, which according to my notes I’d provisionally titled “The Man Who Fascinated Women (Writers).” Whatever it is in me that’s drawn to wounded men—and Clancy was a great one of the species—I suspect the fact that Doris Lessing got to this one first, branding him as her property, was no small part of the allure. Clancy and I spoke once on the phone, mostly about his thing with Lessing, but I never followed through. I guess he gave up waiting, since he went ahead and died in July, at age ninety. I don’t think he’d mind some irreverence about his departure.
Our acquaintance, such as it was, started in a peculiar way. A decade or so ago I was asked to participate in the test-drive of a software platform, funded by a big foundation, designed to revolutionize the concept of the book group. A bunch of other women writers and I were supposed to read Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, which had been scanned into this software, and type our comments in the margins of the book; then the reading public would join in, blogging about our comments, all of which would effectively transform TGN into an exciting interactive text. I think the master plan was that virtual book-reading collectives would soon erupt worldwide and literacy would flourish, though for reasons I never learned, none of this got past the beta stage.