Beginning 'Beloved' with numerals rather than spelled out numbers, it was my intention to give the house an identity separate from the street or even the city.
Books ARE a form of political action. Books are knowledge. Books are reflection. Books change your mind.
Racism will disappear when it's no longer profitable, and no longer psychologically useful. And when that happens, it'll be gone. But at the moment, people make a lot of money off of it, pro and con.
When I went into the publishing industry, many women talked about the difficulty they had in persuading their families to let them go to college. They educated the boys, and the girls had to struggle.
Slave life; freed life -- everyday was a test and a trial. Nothing could be counted on in a world where even you were a solution you were a problem.
My world did not shrink because I was a black female writer. It just got bigger.
I began to realize that this idea of the lighter the better and the darker the worse was really -- had an impact on sororities, on friendships, on all sorts of things, and it was stunning to me.
When am I happy and when am I sad and what is the difference? What do I need to know to stay alive? What is true in the world?
Good editors are really the third eye. Cool. Dispassionate. They don't love you or your work.
Which was what love was: unmotivated respect.
It was my father who could do no wrong. So I didn't think of it as, oh, look, my father's a violent man.
The habit of getting up early, which I had formed when the children were young, now became my choice. I am not very bright or very witty or very inventive after the sun goes down.
Whatever happens, whether you get rich or stay poor, ruin your health or live to old age, you always end up back where you started: hungry for the one thing everybody loses -- young loving.
To be given dominion over another is a hard thing; to wrest dominion over another is a wrong thing; to give dominion of yourself to another is a wicked thing.
People say to write about what you know. I'm here to tell you, no one wants to read that, cos you don't know anything. So write about something you don't know. And don't be scared, ever.
The best hiding place was love. Thus the conversion from pristine sadism to fabricated hatred, to fraudulent love.
I merged those two words, black and feminist, because I was surrounded by black women who were very tough and and who always assumed they had to work and rear children and manage homes.
We're all surrounded by what I call faux language, fake language of commerce, of news media.
They were, in fact and at last, free. And the lives of these old black women were synthesized in their eyes -- a puree of tragedy and humor, wickedness and serenity, truth and fantasy.
Lay my head on the railroad line. Train come along; pacify my mind.
Our debates, for the most part, are examples unworthy of a playground: name-calling, verbal slaps, gossip, giggles, all while the swings and slides of governance remain empty.
The vitality of language lies in its ability to limn the actual, imagined and possible lives of its speakers, readers, writers.
Unpersecuted, unjailed, unharrassed writers are trouble for the ignorant bully, the sly racist, and the predators feeding off the world's resources.
The concept of physical beauty as a virtue is one of the dumbest, most pernicious and destructive ideas of the Western world, and we should have nothing to do with it.
Every now and then she looked around for tangible evidence of his having ever been there. Where were the butterflies? the blueberries? the whistling reed? She could find nothing, for he had left nothing but his stunning absence. An absence so decorative, so ornate, it was difficult for her to understand how she had ever endured, without falling dead or being consumed, his magnificent presence.
Here Stands A Man.
Wishful thinking, perhaps, but he could have sworn the sweet bay was pleased to agree. Its olive-green leaves went wild in the glow of a fat cherry-red sun.
I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer -- its dust and lowering skies.
She had not lived by the sea all those years, listened to the wharfman's songs all that time, to spend her life in the soundless cave of Elihue's mind.
I didn't fall in love, I rose in it.
I dream a dream that dreams back at me.
I always know the ending; that's where I start.
Let your face speak what's in your heart.
Let your face speak what's in your heart. When my kids walk in the room my face says I'm glad to see them.
Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown. In my heart it don't mean a thing.
Something that is loved is never lost.
Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation.
All important things are hard.
Your life is already artful-waiting, just waiting, for you to make it art.
You are your best thing.
Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge.
When a child walks in the room, your child or anybody else's child, do your eyes light up? That's what they're looking for.
He fell for an eighteen-year old girl with one of those deepdown spooky loves that made him so sad and happy he shot her just to keep the feeling going.
Black women were armed, black women were dangerous and the less money they had the deadlier the weapon they chose.
A blessing she was reckless enough to take for granted, lean on, as though Sweet Home was one... A bigger fool never lived.
Rainwater held on to pine needles for dear life and Beloved could not take her eyes off Sethe.
You know, the kind who know Jesus by His first name, but out of politeness never use it even to His face.
Carefully they replaced the soil and covered the entire grave with uprooted grass.
Neither one had spoken a word.
So you protected yourself and loved small.
Violet learned then what she had forgotten until this moment: that laughter is serious. More complicated, more serious than tears.
It's gonna hurt, now, said Amy. anything dead coming back to life hurts.