Dear Ms. Winterson,
I have a rule about reading books. Unless its for class or Harry Potter, I rarely read two novels from the same author.
- I would only feel the need to read another book by the same author if I really loved the first book.
- I probably wouldn’t read the second book anyway for the fear that it won’t live up to the first book.
Trust me, I’ve tried. In high school, I fell madly in love with Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits. I was thrilled to find someone who I connected with so I moved onto another novel of hers: Of Love and Shadows. Alas, I was thoroughly disappointed! She was no longer my favorite author! How could this happen? The same “Second Book Syndrome” occurred a couple of other times with other authors.
So I decided that I would never call anybody my favorite author again because I would have to read more than one of their works and that would eventually ruin that writer for me.
But you, Ms. Winterson (can I call you Jeanette?), you changed everything the minute I picked up The Passion. Something lit up inside me. I connected with the characters in Allende’s novel but in yours, every word struck a chord. It’s more than a relatable character or setting. The lyrical nature of your prose was the bow and the sinews of my heart were the strings of a neglected, dusty violin.
By the time I finished reading the novel, I was covered in emotional paper cuts and being the literary masochist that I am, I craved more. I immediately went to a bookstore and bought Written on the Body. I did not sleep until there was but a word left unread. I was obsessed. The novel was enticing, honest and sexy.
Again, there were things you said, that very few people knew about me. You managed to capture the simplest moment shared between my partner and I in your novel. I was almost furious! How could you reveal that? It wasn’t sexual but it was special. A few days later, I realized that you had done this to me before. I just didn’t know it was you.
In Brain Pickings' post about Big Questions from Little People & Simple Answers from Great Minds, you answered the question “How we fall in love?” I came across this quote a year before and I carried it with me everywhere. It perfectly describes how I feel about my relationship and nothing has ever come close to putting that sensation into words:
I just want to say thank you for understanding me. Thank you for understanding everything about me that happens deep below my skin.
Love to write?
Every month we select at few writers to help us explore what it means to live a life of reflection and intention. Reach out to Helen, our editor at Helen.W@holstee.com to learn more