I spent the whole of April getting through this book, a semi-autobiography of Winterson's, for two reasons. The first was that I kept taking breaks from reading to work, but the real reason I think is that Winterson's work touches my soul-- and without fail leaves me an emotional wreck. It is a pleasure-pain whirlpool and I want to jump in head-first.
I always fall too hard for the characters I read about. I wear their pain and celebrate their happiness (usually, there aren't too many of these though).
I am fascinated by Winterson's style. She references Odysseus and Plato in the same breath as adventures about teenage sex and schoolgirl rebellion. There is no pretence in her words.
But oh my, the feels.
Winterson quotes always get me through periods of meditation and (mostly) rumination. Re-reading her soundbites is a season of life I revisit every once in a while.
My heart sank at the last line of "why be happy when you could be normal?". I thought Jeanette (I say Jeanette and not Winterson because by this point on the ride she's brought me on we are intimate friends) was going to give me an answer. I thought she was going to tell me what I could expect next. But instead she says:
"I have no idea what happens next."
And in one swift, painfully earnest move, she reminds us that there are no answers.
Winterson always leaves clues, observations and suggestions though. There was one I particularly liked from this work.
" I am trying to avoid the miserable binary of 'this means so much to me/ this means nothing to me'. I am trying to respect my own complexity. "
I am trying to respect my own complexity.
I've heard a lot about accepting ourselves. But respect- that's something new.
I think about myself and the people around me, and I think we spend so much time trying to squash, iron out complexities, trying to summarise confusion and pain into three key takeaways. We spend so much time disrespecting ourselves.
I would like to try respecting myself more this May. For now, I am overdue to return the book to the library. It is time to pick the brain of another author. Until next time, Jeanette.