29 December 2012


About her novel Oranges Aren’t the Only Fruit (which should be waiting at my doorstep when I return home), Jeanette Winterson says: “I wrote a story I could live with. The other was too painful. I could not survive it.” Hers is an interesting statement that suggests that literature regardless of genre is fiction. The story that the author tells protects the her from the story that cannot be told. That other story, I think, the one that Winterson says that she could not survive, could never be told because there are certain things that if spoken would make bare the most private and intimate aspects of the speaker: there would be no way to survive the exposure. The story that is told gives proof of the author’s survival, for that other story, the one that could not be told, would have led to the author’s death. Every work of literature, then, is only the story that can be lived with and not the story that is true, and every work of literature then, speaks of survival even when the subject is death. And I suspect that the same must be true of all artistic creation.
Perhaps Winterson’s assertion might be true for the reader as for the writer: we read the story with which we can live; the other would be too painful and we would not survive it. The meanings I make ensure my survival: the others would destroy me.  


Post a Comment

<< Home