'"... From a distance only the light is visible, a speeding gleaming horizontal angle, trumpet out on a hard bend. The note bells. The note bells the beauty of the stretching train that pulls the light in a long gold thread. It catches on the wheels, it flashes on the doors, that open and close, open and close, in commuter rhythm.
On the overcoats and briefcases, brooches and sighs, the light snags in rough-cut stones that stay unpolished. The man is busy, he hasn't time to see the light that burns his clothes and illuminates his shoulders with biblical zeal. His book is a plate of glass..."
(Jeanette Winterson - Art and Lies, pg 3)
This morning's email brought a message from Jeanette Winterson's website to say that her latest column is up for reading. JW is one of my all-time favourite people. She's one of those writers I feel a real affinity with, so that I find myself doing what I just did - referring to her as person first, writer second. Of course, they're one and the same, but Jeanette is someone. I've admired her work for years, have read every book she's written (a number of them, several times) and am always left dazzled by her imagination, her craftsmanship, the courage, intelligence and passion expressed in her art. I'd love to have her over for dinner - or better still - invite her to stay sometime. In my imagination we'd talk for hours, and be companionably silent; we'd share a similar taste in food, make a beeline for our local Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings, enjoy picking herbs and berries from the garden. I'd take her down to the Caitlins where we'd walk the beaches and forest tracks barefoot.
Of course, I haven't actually met Jeanette - yet. Meantime, I look forward to visiting her updated site each month - it's a nourishing, generous place that you think you'll quickly pop in to, then find yourself still wandering around in an hour or two later. It's also a dynamic site, not exactly a place you nestle comfortably into: most visits leave me feeling stirred up, challenged, inspired and enlivened.
The last year or two have been a bit of a wrestle for her and while she's been prudent in terms of what she puts out into the public domain, she's also been transparent and gutsily honest with the grit and process of her life. I admire that. There's no room for veneer or pretense with her, which is both a gift and an exhortation to those of us on the receiving end of her words.
This morning's newsletter held the sad news of her Father (John William Winterson)'s death. She writes bravely of her loss and learning and of the healing power of reconciliation. And, in her inimitable way, she offers us some sage thoughts to reflect on.