Tonight I went to hear Jeanette Winterson reading extracts from her book ‘Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?’ at the Bristol Festival of Ideas with a lovely friend who has a more balanced view of Winterson’s writing than my own. I think she is ACE. Just amazing. Though I do admit that there is a large chunk of her writing that I have not read – from about ‘The Powerbook’ til…’The King of Capri’ I think and ‘Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?’. Hearing her reading her own words was such a treat. I could have listened to her all night. She awakens my 17 year old self – hungry for a way of expressing myself and keen to hear a brightly burning passion out there – excited – about words, the innate creativity of every living person, about a rich ‘interior’ life – not religious in an organised way but spiritual and free from time restraints, allowing free thought, personal space and a liberation from the material world. Strangely I am pretty sure that the last ‘Festival of Ideas’ event that I went to was the wonderful and equally intense Susie Orbach talk about her book ‘Bodies’ a couple of years ago. I could hear, as Jeanette talked, at some points her own language give way to a different way of speaking – the psychoanalytic speak which has clearly enabled a great deal of healing and which then blurs again into Jeanette’s own more poetic explorations of, for example what it is to be adopted…a space, a void, an opening. So beautiful to witness here a bright and confident and articulate call to action to write, create, paint or whatever it is that articulates our selves. Thank you Jeanette for a really enriching and inspiring bit of brain food.
Look. Here. I took my books to get autographs and the lovely woman obliged – twice. Thank you!