I have accepted fear as a part of life- specifically the fear of change. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back.
Silence is the bluntest of blunt instruments.
Silence is the bluntest of blunt instruments. It seems to hammer you into the ground. It drives you deeper and deeper into your own guilt. It makes the voices inside your head accuse you more viciously than any outside voices ever could.
Poems, like dreams, are a sort of royal road to the unconcious. They tell you what your secret self cannot express.
Biography is essentially a collaborative art, the latest biographer collaborating with all those who wrote earlier.
I guess the thing that I'm most proud of is that I kept on writing poetry. I understand that poetry is sort of the source of everything I do. It's the source of my creativity.
We don't have a clear path forward, and that's been the case for feminism since the 18th century, when the idea of the rights of women actually began.
I see the whole episode in my memory as if it were a very crisply photographed black and white movie. Directed by Bergman perhaps.We are playing ourselves in the movie version. If only we could escape from always having to play ourselves !
It's important to know what you're going to spend your life on, and the only way you're going to find that is by connecting with the force inside yourself.
In a world where women work three times as hard for half as much, our achievement has been denigrated, both marriage and divorce have turned against us, our motherhood has been used as an obstacle to our success, our passion as a trap, our empathy for others as an excuse to underpay us.
Before things are written down they don't exist in quite the same way. The act of fixing them in words gives them a kind of currency that can be traded.
There's another part of getting older that's just wonderful. Which is you see the way the stories turn out with peoples' lives.
Beware the Lure of a handsome Face, the all too ready Assumption that the lovely Faand#231ade must needs have lovely Chambers within; for as 'tis with Great Houses, so, too, with Great Men.
Poetry is the inner life of a culture, its nervous system, its deepest way of imagining the world. A culture that ignores its poets, chokes off its nervous system and becomes mortally ill.
Maybe marriages are best in middle age. When all the nonsense falls away and you realize you have to love one another because you're going to die anyway.
The words carry their own momentum. A confession in motion tends to stay in motion. Newton's first law of jealousy.
But the fact is, she the muse won't be summoned. She alights when it damn well pleases her. She falls in love with one artist, then deserts him for another. She's a real bitch!
To name oneself is the first act of both the poet and the revolutionary.
To name oneself is the first act of both the poet and the revolutionary. When we take away the right to an individual name, we symbolically take away the right to be an individual. Immigration officials did this to refugees; husbands routinely do it to wives.
I don't know what the definition of pornography is and nobody else does either. Pornography is somebody else's erotica that you don't like. People are interested in their own sexuality and they've always reflected it in their art. End of story.
I have ne'er been in a chamber with a lawyer when I did not wish either to scream with desperation or else fall into the deepest of sleeps, e'en when the matter concern'd my own future most profoundly.
If sex and creativity are often seen by dictators as subversive activities, it's because they lead to the knowledge that you own your own body (and with it your own voice), and that's the most revolutionary insight of all.
There's nothing good about being ordinary. People don't respect you for it. People run after people who are different, who have confidence in their own taste, who don't run with the herd. There is nothing gained by giving in to the pressures of group vulgarity.
As women, we can't look old. We can't be fat. We're supposed to look like the 14-year-old models in Vogue, who are younger and younger and skinnier and skinnier, and they are air-brushed and contoured and Photoshopped.
Venice, that capital city of dream and intrigue, that double city (one above and seemingly solid, one below, wavering and reflected in the waters), which never disappoints.
Love is everything it's cracked up to be.
Love is everything it's cracked up to be. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for.
Memory is the crux of our humanity. Without memory we have no identities. That is really why I am committing an autobiography.
Though my friends envied me because I always seemed so cheerful and confident, I was secretly terrified of practically everything.
What storyteller is adequate to her story? The story carries us along, bottles on the tide, each with our secret mesage and the fervent hope that it does not turn out to be blank.
I don't believe in organized religion. I believe that people should try to connect with their own life force and let it lead them to do with their lives what they will find satisfying.
My generation of young female writers discovered that we could dictate the form and content of our own fiction.
I don't think that I had any idea that 'Fear of Flying' would become a part of the culture. I had no idea that it would go all over the world and be published in Chinese and Serbo-Croat and so on.
And it all comes out so lame. I love your mouth. I love your hair. I love your ears. I want you. I want you. I want you. Anything to avoid saying: I love you.
Motherhood cannot finally be delegated. Breast-feeding may succumb to the bottle; cuddling, fondling, and paediatric visits may also be done by fathers...but when a child needs a mother to talk to, nobody else but a mother will do.
Friends love misery... our misery is what endears us to our friends.
Friends love misery, in fact. Sometimes, especially if we are too lucky or too successful or too pretty, our misery is the only thing that endears us to our friends.
Good sex is a mystery. Perhaps humping and pumping is not a mystery, but good sex is a mystery, and how human beings become truly intimate remains a mystery.
If we are all made of God, it is our friends who remind us. We pass the gift of God to them. They pass it back to us when we need it most.
That was probably the mistake of my generation, that we thought that having sex with anyone would be intimate and it wasn't.
It is not unusual to hate great writers before we learn to love them. Because they have created something that did not yet exist, they must also create their audience. Sometimes the audience is not yet ready. Sometimes it has yet to be born.
As a past president of the Writers Guild, I think women shouldn't write for free. Maybe you have to do it for a time, to make a reputation, but I think the idea of giving your work away is the beginning of authors not being able to make a living.
I know some good marriages-marriages where both people are just trying to get through their days by helping each other, being good to each other.
I have enormous pride in the survival of the Jewish people, the cultural heritage of the Jewish people, but I'm not observant, and I don't belong to a synagogue. I don't go to temple on high holy days, but I'm proud to be Jewish.
You have to enjoy being a woman. Why should being a woman be such a negative thing where you always have to improve yourself? I have never in my entire life met a man who didn't want to go to bed with me because I was too fat.
Denounce useless guilt. Don't make a cult of suffering. Live in the now(or at least the soon). Always do the things you fear most. Courage is an acquired taste like caviar. Trust all joy. If the evil eye fixes you in its gaze, look elsewhere. Get ready to be 87.
Every time women make tremendous strides, the right wing gets terrified and creates laws making it hard to get an abortion or birth control.
What makes a Man love Death, Fanny? Is it because he hopes to avert his own by watchin' the Deaths of others? Doth he hope to devour Death by devourin' Executions with his Eyes? I'll ne'er understand it, if I live to be eight hundred Years. The Human Beast is more Beast than Human, 'tis true.
Isn't that the problem? That women have been swindled for centuries into substituting adornment for love, fashion (as it were) for passion?
We're programmed for suffering, not joy. The masochism is built in at a very early age. You're supposed to work and suffer -- and the trouble is: you believe it.
The aim of my writing is to utterly remove the distance between author and reader so that the book becomes a sort of semipermeable membrane through which feelings, ideas, nutrients pass.
It is not surprising that Venice is known above all for mirrors and glass since Venice is the most narcissistic city in the world, the city that celebrates self-mirroring.
I thought of the nameless inventor of the bathtub. I was somehow sure it was a woman. And was the inventor of the bathtub plug a man?
I think poetry is the best thing I do. It's certainly the purest. I seem to switch gears without too much trouble. Non-fiction is in many ways the easiest to write.
I think that the joy of writing a novel is the self-exploratio n that emerges and also that wonderful feeling of playing God with the characters. When I sit down at my writing desk, time seems to vanish. ... I think the most important thing for a writer is to be locked in a study.
As women got little crumbs of power, men began to act paranoid -- as if we'd disabled them utterly. Do all women have to keep silent for men to speak? Do all women have to be legless for men to walk?
Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love and loyalty. They depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs, your heart is very big.
As yet we use our media only for selling things -- including, of course, political candidates. What will happen when someone masters the art of selling souls?
If we ban whatever offends any group in our diverse society, we will soon have no art, no culture, no humor, no satire. Satire is by its nature offensive. So is much art and political discourse. The value of these expressions far outweighs their risk.
You reach a point in life where you realize that you might as well do what you need to do, because your being loved or not being loved is really a function of the people you encounter and not of yourself. That is an immensely liberating insight.
All authors know that any book is a casting of runes, a reading of cards, a map of the palm and heart. We make up the ocean -- then fall in. But we also write the life raft.
Divorce is my generation's coming of age ceremony -- a ritual scarring that makes anything that happens afterward seem bearable.
You must have a certain amount of maturity to be a poet. Seldom do sixteen-year-olds know themselves well enough.
Women tend to be preservers of the social structure, of marriage. They don't want to upset their husbands or their significant others. They don't want to hurt people.
I can live without it all -- love with its blood pump, sex with its messy hungers, men with their peacock strutting, their silly sexual baggage, their wet tongues in my ear.
The only difference between men and women is that women are able to create new little human beings in their bodies while simultaneously writing books, driving tractors, working in offices, planting crops -- in general, doing everything men do.
Perhaps it is because Venice is both liquid and solid, both air and stone, that it somehow combines all the elements crucial to make our imaginations ignite and turn fantasies into realities.
Writers are always at the edge of the inferno, and the fire is licking at our toes. Luckily, this turns us on!
I think that Sappho expresses the orphaned part of ourselves. The orphaned part of ourselves that reaches out to passion for completion. That reaches out to motherhood for completion.
If you've been a pretty woman and always pursued by lovers, losing that and not having that -- it feels like a great loss.
Because When you write about people, you inevitably offend -- but if you write about animals, the evil do not recognize themselves but the good understand immediately.
Great loves have legs and wings. They are substantial. They do not dissapate so easily... Great loves have staying power. Or so I told myself.
A poem (surely someone has said this before) is a one-night stand, a short story a love affair, and a novel a marriage.
Women's books are kind of discriminated against. If a man writes a book about his family stories, people think of it as literature. If it's a woman, she's 'spilling her guts,' and it's not art.
We were not human beings going through spiritual experiences; we were spiritual beings going through human experiences, in order to grow.
I am not quite sure how writing changes things, but I know that it does. It is indirect-like the trails of earthworms aerating the earth. It is not always deliberate-like the tails of glowing dust dragged by comets.
Memory is the most transient of all possessions. And when it goes, it leaves as few traces as stars that have disappeared.
I'm not classically pretty; I've always been too heavy; I've had thyroid disease and it's very hard for me to lose weight -- but I've always had men pursue me. I've always had that 'it' thing. God knows why. Maybe it's pheromones, I don't know.
The Lives of Great Men are more oft' at variance with their profess'd Phillosophies than consistent with 'em.
Tis true that tho' People can transcend their Characters in Times of Tranquillity, they can ne'er do so in Times of Tumult.
It was unimaginable what happens to you when you get known for a book that everybody reads, or that everybody has heard of. If the book is said to be sexy, the crazies come out of the woodwork.
I do a lot of teaching... and so I think I know how hard it is for young writers, how they have to work two jobs to survive.
I believe that women should live for love, for motherhood and for intellect, and I believe we shouldn't have to choose. And I believe that's always been difficult for women, to express themselves intellectually, maternally, and passionately.
Sadly, because of the enormous gap between rich and poor, some mothers can afford helpers, but many can't. Those who can would be kinder to refrain from criticizing other women.
Feminism is teaching. I've gotten a lot of pleasure pushing younger writers that I've met and worked with.
There were 117 psychoanalysts on the Pan Am flight to Vienna and I'd been treated by at least six of them. And married a seventh.
I've kept journals at many times in my life starting from when I was about 13 or 14. But it's boring and contrived to keep a journal every day. Better to write as the mood strikes.
Someday every woman will have orgasms- like every family has color TV- and we can all get on with the business of life.
My mother wanted me to be her wings, to fly as she never quite had the courage to do. I love her for that. I love the fact that she wanted to give birth to her own wings.
A man assumes that a woman's refusal is just part of a game. Or, at any rate, a lot of men assume that. When a man says no, it's no. When a woman says no, it's yes, or at least maybe. There is even a joke to that effect. And little by little, women begin to believe in this view of themselves.
Every time we hit an air pocket and the plane dropped about five hundred feet (leaving my stomach in my mouth) I vowed to give up sex, bacon, and air travel if I ever made it back to terra firma in one piece.
A baby's a full time job for three adults. Nobody tells you that when you're pregnant, or you'd probably jump off a bridge. Nobody tells you how all-consuming it is to be a mother-how reading goes out the window and thinking too.
Pregnancy seemed like a tremendous abdication of control. Something growing inside you which would eventually usurp your life.
Want to know something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. It's really worth fighting for -- risking everything for. And the trouble is -- if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
Sometimes it was worth all the disadvantages of marriage just to have that: one friend in an indifferent world.
It is the nature of those books we call classics to wait patiently on the shelf for us to grow into them.
Every country gets the circus it deserves. Spain gets bullfights. Italy gets the Catholic Church. America gets Hollywood.
In a bad marriage, friends are the invisible glue. If we have enough friends, we may go on for years, intending to leave, talking about leaving -- instead of actually getting up and leaving.
My generation was not only maligned in book reviews and attacked in graduate school but we lived to see our adored and adorable daughters wonder why feminism had become a dirty word.
What are the sources of poetry? Love and death and the paradox of love and death. All poetry from the beginning is about Eros and Thanatos. Those are the only subjects. And how Eros and Thanatos interweave.
Sexism kind of predisposes us to see men's work as more important than women's, and it is a problem, I guess, as writers, we have to change.
All my forebears worked for a living. My grandfather painted portraits. My mother too. My aunt painted seascapes.
I thought to spend my declining years writing poetry and teaching -- but that won't pay the Bergdorf's bill. I think I'll move to somewhere life is cheaper.
When I met my husband, I refused to invite him home for Passover because I was embarrassed my mother might serve all the catered dishes in the wrong order.
Poetry is the language we speak in the most terrifying or ecstatic passages of our lives. But the very word poetry scares people. They think of their grade school teachers reciting 'Hiawatha' and they groan.
Poetry is what we turn to in the most emotional moments of our life -- when a beloved friend dies, when a baby is born or when we fall in love.
No one ever found wisdom without also being a fool. Writers, alas, have to be fools in public, while the rest of the human race can cover its tracks.
There is still the feeling that women's writing is a lesser class of writing, that what goes on in the nursery or the bedroom is not as important as what goes on in the battlefield, that what women know about is a less category of knowledge.
Where is Hollywood located? Chiefly between the ears. In that part of the American brain lately vacated by God.
The stones themselves are thick with history, and those cats that dash through the alleyways must surely be the ghosts of the famous dead in feline disguise.
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