Tag Archives: jeanette winterson

“a tough life needs a tough language”

It’s a late-sleeping good morning here, and time to head out into the world with an anxious puppy. But I am slowly (so as to make it last) reading Jeanette Winterson’s memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, and I have these lines of hers to share with you all today:

…when people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn’t be read at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language — and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers — a language powerful enough to say how it is.

It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place. (p. 40)

So: that for today. Also, this: what’s the tough language you’re needing today? Can you grab ten minutes and write it out? Maybe you could tell me about the poems that saved you, and the poems that you wrote after that. Or about the people who said poetry didn’t matter, and what you say to them now.

Thank you for your wisdom today — your body wisdom, your psyche wisdom, for the wisdom of triggers and fears and curiosities. Thank you for all your inside brilliance. Thank you for your words.