Quotes from Sexing the Cherry

Jeanette Winterson ·  167 pages

Rating: (12.6K votes)


“As your lover describes you, so you are.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“The Buddhists say there are 149 ways to God. I'm not looking for God, only for myself, and that is far more complicated. God has had a great deal written about Him; nothing has been written about me. God is bigger, like my mother, easier to find, even in the dark. I could be anywhere, and since I can't describe myself I can't ask for help.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“On more than one occasion I have been ready to abandon my whole life for love. To alter everything that makes sense to me and to move into a different world where the only known will be the beloved. Such a sacrifice must be the result of love... or is it that the life itself was already worn out? I had finished with that life, perhaps, and could not admit it, being stubborn or afraid, or perhaps did not known it, habit being a great binder. I think it is often so that those most in need of change choose to fall in love and then throw up their hands and blame it all on fate. But it is not fate, at least, not if fate is something outside of us; it is a choice made in secret after nights of longing.
... I may be cynical when I say that very rarely is the beloved more than a shaping spirit for the lover's dreams... To be a muse may be enough. The pain is when the dreams change, as they do, as they must. Suddenly the enchanted city fades and you are left alone again in the windy desert. As for your beloved, she didn't understand you.
The truth is, you never understood yourself.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“When my husband had an affair with someone else I watched his eyes glaze over when we ate dinner together and I heard him singing to himself without me, and when he tended the garden it was not for me.

He was courteous and polite; he enjoyed being at home, but in the fantasy of his home I was not the one who sat opposite him and laughed at his jokes. He didn't want to change anything; he liked his life. The only thing he wanted to change was me.

It would have been better if he had hated me, or if he had abused me, or if he had packed his new suitcases and left.

As it was he continued to put his arm round me and talk about being a new wall to replace the rotten fence that divided our garden from his vegetable patch. I knew he would never leave our house. He had worked for it.

Day by day I felt myself disappearing. For my husband I was no longer a reality, I was one of the things around him. I was the fence which needed to be replaced. I watched myself in the mirror and saw that I was mo longer vivid and exciting. I was worn and gray like an old sweater you can't throw out but won't put on.

He admitted he was in love with her, but he said he loved me.

Translated, that means, I want everything. Translated, that means, I don't want to hurt you yet. Translated, that means, I don't know what to do, give me time.

Why, why should I give you time? What time are you giving me? I am in a cell waiting to be called for execution.

I loved him and I was in love with him. I didn't use language to make a war-zone of my heart.

'You're so simple and good,' he said, brushing the hair from my face.

He meant, Your emotions are not complex like mine. My dilemma is poetic.

But there was no dilemma. He no longer wanted me, but he wanted our life

Eventually, when he had been away with her for a few days and returned restless and conciliatory, I decided not to wait in my cell any longer. I went to where he was sleeping in another room and I asked him to leave. Very patiently he asked me to remember that the house was his home, that he couldn't be expected to make himself homeless because he was in love.

'Medea did,' I said, 'and Romeo and Juliet and Cressida, and Ruth in the Bible.'

He asked me to shut up. He wasn't a hero.

'Then why should I be a heroine?'

He didn't answer, he plucked at the blanket.

I considered my choices.

I could stay and be unhappy and humiliated.

I could leave and be unhappy and dignified.

I could Beg him to touch me again.

I could live in hope and die of bitterness.

I took some things and left. It wasn't easy, it was my home too.

I hear he's replaced the back fence.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“the buddhists say there are 149 ways to god. i'm not looking for god, only for myself, and that is far more complicated.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry



“I fell in love once, if love be that cruelty which takes us straight to the gates of Paradise only to remind us they are closed for ever.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“Are we all living like this? Two lives, the ideal outer life and the inner imaginative life where we keep our secrets?”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“Lies 1: There is only the present and nothing to remember.
Lies 2: Time is a straight line.
Lies 3: The difference between the past and the futures is that one has happened while the other has not.
Lies 4: We can only be in one place at a time.
Lies 5: Any proposition that contains the word 'finite' (the world, the universe, experience, ourselves...)
Lies 6: Reality as something which can be agreed upon.
Lies 7: Reality is truth.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“Language always betrays us, tells the truth when we want to lie, and dissolves into formlessness when we would most like to be precise.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“Every journey conceals another journey within its lines: the path not taken and the forgotten angle.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry



“It is a true saying, that what you fear you find.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“The Hopi, an Indian tribe, have a language as sophisticated as ours, but no tenses for past, present and future. The division does not exist. What does this say about time?

Matter, that thing the most solid and the well-known, which you are holding in your hands and which makes up your body, is now known to be mostly empty space. Empty space and points of light. What does this say about the reality of the world?”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“…I noticed a woman whose face was a sea voyage I had not the courage to attempt.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“Islands are metaphors of the heart, no matter what poet says otherwise.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“Thinking about time is to acknowledge two contradictory certainties: that our outward lives are governed by the seasons and the clock; that our inward lives are governed by something much less regular-an imaginative impulse cutting through the dictates of daily time, and leaving us free to ignore the boundaries of here and now and pass like lightning along the coil of pure time, that is, the circle of the universe and whatever it does or does not contain. ”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry



“I have set off and found that there is no end to even the simplest journey of the mind. I begin, and straight away a hundred alternative routes present themselves. I choose one, no sooner begin, than a hundred more appear. Every time I try to narrow down my intent I expand it, and yet those straits and canals still lead me to the open sea, and then I realize how vast it all is, this matter of the mind. I am confounded by the shining water and the size of the world.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“The journey is not linear, it is always back and forth, denying the calendar, the wrinkles and lines of the body.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“I'm not looking for God, only for myself, and that is far more complicated. God has a great deal written about Him; nothing has been written about me.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“People say the magic has gone out of the moon now that someone’s stood on it. I don’t think so. It would take more than a man’s foot to steal the moon.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“When a woman gives birth her waters break and she pours out the child and the child runs free.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry



“For fate may hang on any moment and at any moment be changed.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“Singing is my pleasure, but not in church, for the parson said the gargoyles must remain on the outside, not seek room in the choir stalls. So I sing inside the mountain of my flesh, and my voice is as slender as a reed and my voice has no lard in it. When I sing the dogs sit quiet and people who pass in the night stop their jabbering and discontent and think of other times, when they were happy. And I sing of other times, when I was happy, though I know that these are figments of my mind and nowhere I have been. But does it matter if the place cannot be mapped as long as I can still describe it?”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“There's so little wonder left in the world because we've seen everything one way or another'.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“…when the dying sun bled the blue sky orange.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“I read in a book that the stars can take you anywhere. I’ve never wanted to be an astronaut because of the helmets. If I were up there on the moon, or by the Milky Way, I’d want to feel the stars round my head. I’d want my whole body to feel the space, the empty space and points of light. That’s how dancers must feel, dancers and acrobats, just for a second, that freedom.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry



“When Jordan was a baby he sat on top of me much as a fly rests on a hill of dung. And I nourished him as a hill of dung nourishes a fly, and when he had eaten his fill he left me.

Jordan...

I should have named him after a stagnant pond and then I could have kept him, but I named him after a river and in the flood-tide he slipped away.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“It seems obvious, doesn't it, that someone who is ignored and overlooked will expand to the point where they have to be noticed, even if the noticing is fear and disgust.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“I may be cynical when I say that very rarely is the beloved more than a shaping spirit for the lover's dreams.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


“He called me Jess because that is the name of the hood which restrains the falcon.
I was his falcon. I hung on his arm and fed at his hand.
He said my nose was sharp and cruel and that my eyes had madness in them. He said I would tear him to pieces if he dealt softly with me.
At night, if he was away, he had me chained to our bed. It was a long chain, long enough for me to use the chamber pot or to stand at the window and wait for the late owls. I love to hear the owls. I love to see the sudden glide of wings spread out for prey, and then the dip and the noise like a lover in pain.
He used the chain when we went riding together. I had a horse as strong as his, and he’d whip the horse from behind and send it charging through the trees, and he’d follow, half a head behind, pulling on the chain and asking me how I liked my ride.
His game was to have me sit astride him when we made love and hold me tight in the small of my back. He said he had to have me above him, in case I picked his eyes out in the faltering candlelight.
I was none of these things, but I became them.
At night, in June I think, I flew off his wrist and tore his liver from his body, and bit my chain in pieces and left him on the bed with his eyes open.
He looked surprised, I don’t know why. As your lover describes you, so you are.”
― Jeanette Winterson, quote from Sexing the Cherry


About the author

Jeanette Winterson
Born place: in Manchester, England, The United Kingdom
Born date August 27, 1959
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