BY CANDY PARKER
Ask me the name of my all-time favorite book and I’ll respond “Written on the Body” by Jeanette Winterson before the question is even fully out of your mouth. To my thinking, Winterson’s prose is poetic and the hopeless romantic in me is captivated by her artful imaging.
Winterson, an openly lesbian English author, is perhaps best known for “Oranges Aren’t the Only Fruit,” a semi-autobiographical novel that makes an appearance on many a lesbian “must read” list. But for my money, “Written on the Body” is Winterson’s most enjoyable work. As such, you will find it well-represented on this list of favorite Winterson quotes.
“There is no discovery without risk and what you risk reveals what you value.” — Written on the Body
“Whoever it is you fall in love with for the first time, not just love but be in love with, is the one who will always make you angry, the one you can’t be logical about.” — The Passion
“Trust me, I’m telling you stories. … I can change the story. I am the story.” — Written on the Body
“I am good at walking away. Rejection teaches you how to reject.” — Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles
“Do you fall in love often?” “Yes often. With a view, with a book, with a dog, a cat, with numbers, with friends, with complete strangers, with nothing at all.” — Gut Symmetries
“What kills love? Only this: Neglect. Not to see you when you stand before me. Not to think of you in the little things. Not to make the road wide for you, the table spread for you. To choose you out of habit not desire, to pass the flower seller without a thought. To leave the dishes unwashed, the bed unmade, to ignore you in the mornings, make use of you at night. To crave another while pecking your cheek. To say your name without hearing it, to assume it is mine to call.” — Written on the Body
“I didn’t know what hate felt like, not the hate that comes after love. It’s huge and desperate and it longs to be proved wrong. And every day it’s proved right it grows a little more monstrous. If the love was passion, the hate will be obsession. A need to see the once-loved weak and cowed beneath pity. Disgust is close and dignity is far away. The hate is not only for the once loved, it’s for yourself too; how could you ever have loved this?” — The Passion
“Love demands expression. It will not stay still, stay silent, be good, be modest, be seen and not heard, no. It will break out in tongues of praise, the high note that smashes the glass and spills the liquid.” — Written on the Body
“You said, ‘I love you.’ Why is it that the most unoriginal thing we can say to one another is still the thing we long to hear? ‘I love you’ is always a quotation. You did not say it first and neither did I, yet when you say it and when I say it we speak like savages who have found three words and worship them. I did worship them but now I am alone on a rock hewn out of my own body.” — Written on the Body
And, finally, my all-time favorite:
“While I can’t have you, I long for you. I am the kind of person who would miss a train or a plane to meet you for coffee. I’d take a taxi across town to see you for ten minutes. I’d wait outside all night if I thought you would open the door in the morning. If you call me and say ‘Will you …’ my answer is ‘Yes’, before your sentence is out. I spin worlds where we could be together. I dream you. For me, imagination and desire are very close.”
Did your favorite Winterson quote make the list? If not, share yours in the “Leave a Reply” section below.