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.

  1. I would only feel the need to read another book by the same author if I really loved the first book.
  2. 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:

“You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit someone else’s planet. And when you get there it all looks different: the flowers, the animals, the colors people wear. It is a big surprise falling in love because you thought had everything just right on your own planet, and that was true, in a way, but then somebody signaled to you across space and the only way you could visit was to take a giant jump. Away you go, falling into someone else’s orbit and after a while you might decide to pull your two planets together and call it home. And you can bring your dog. Or your cat. Your goldfish, hamster, collection of stones, all your odd socks. (The ones you lost, including the holes, are on the new planet you found.)

And you can bring friends to visit. And read your favourite stories to each other. And the falling was really the big jump that you had to make to be with someone you don’t want to be without. That’s it.

P.S. You have to be brave.”

I just want to say thank you for understanding me. Thank you for understanding everything about me that happens deep below my skin.

Thank you,

Ailsa Sachdev


Ailsa Sachdev is a writer, Editorial and PR intern for Holstee and the New York City editor of Gourmandatory. She is passionate about food and travel, and can say “I’m hungry” in over ten languages.

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