All quotes by author Barbara Kingsolver
"The friend who holds your hand and says the wrong thing is made of dearer stuff than the one who stays away."
"Listen. To live is to be marked. To live is to change, to acquire the words of a story, and that is the only celebration we mortals really know. In perfect stillness, frankly, I've only found sorrow."
"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer."
"When we traded homemaking for careers, we were implicitly promised economic independence and worldly influence. But a devil of a bargain it has turned out to be in terms of daily life. We gave up the aroma of warm bread rising, the measured pace of nurturing routines, the creative task of molding our families' tastes and zest for life; we received in exchange the minivan and the Lunchable."
"It's what you do that makes your soul."
"What keeps you going isn't some fine destination but just the road you're on, and the fact that you know how to drive. You keep your eyes open, you see this damned-to-hell world you got born into, and you ask yourself, 'What life can I live that will let me breathe in & out and love somebody or something and not run off screaming into the woods?"
"Solitude is a human presumption. Every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot, a tug of impalpable thread on the web pulling mate to mate and predator to prey, a beginning or an end. Every choice is a world made new for the chosen."
"There's such a gulf between yourself and who you were then, but people speak to that other person and it answers; it's like having a stranger as a house guest in your skin."
"Your dreams, what you hope for and all that, it's not separate from your life. It grows right up out of it."
"Listen. Slide the weight from your shoulders and move forward. You are afraid you might forget, but you never will. You will forgive and remember."
"The power is in the balance: we are our injuries, as much as we are our successes."
"There is a strange moment in time, after something horrible happens, when you know it's true, but you haven't told anyone yet."
"There were two things about Mama. One is she always expected the best out of me. And the other is that then no matter what I did, whatever I came home with, she acted like it was the moon I had just hung up in the sky and plugged in all the stars. Like I was that good."
"But I've swallowed my pride before, that's for sure. I'm practically lined with my mistakes on the inside like a bad-wallpapered bathroom."
"Thanks for this day, for all birds safe in their nests, for whatever this is, for life."
"If you want sweet dreams, you've got to live a sweet life."
"At some point in my life I'd honestly hoped love would rescue me from the cold, drafty castle I lived in. But at another point, much earlier I think, I'd quietly begun to hope for nothing at all in the way of love, so as not to be disappointed. It works. It gets to be a habit."
"As long as I kept moving, my grief streamed out behind me like a swimmer's long hair in water. I knew the weight was there but it didn't touch me. Only when I stopped did the slick, dark stuff of it come floating around my face, catching my arms and throat till I began to drown. So I just didn't stop."
"Misunderstanding is my cornerstone. It's everyone's, come to think of it. Illusions mistaken for truth are the pavement under our feet."
"I've about decided that's the main thing that separates happy people from the other people: the feeling that you're a practical item, with a use, like a sweater or a socket wrench."
"It's the one thing we never quite get over: that we contain our own future."
"It's surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time."
"Now I'm starting to think he wasn't supposed to be my whole life, he was just this doorway to me."
"Wake up now, look alive, for here is a day off work just to praise Creation: the turkey, the squash, and the corn, these things that ate and drank sunshine, grass, mud, and rain, and then in the shortening days laid down their lives for our welfare and onward resolve. There's the miracle for you, the absolute sacrifice that still holds back seed: a germ of promise to do the whole thing again, another time. . . Thanksgiving is Creation's birthday party. Praise harvest, a pause and sigh on the breath of immortality."
"Every one of us is called upon, perhaps many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job...And onward full-tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another--that is surely the basic instinct...Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is."
"If you ask me, when something extraordinary shows up in your life in the middle of the night, you give it a name and make it the best home you can."
"She is inhumanly alone. And then, all at once, she isn't."
"For if there is any single thing that everyone hopes for most dearly, it must be this: that the youngest outlive the oldest."
"She would just be catching up when I'd go again, swimming farther out into life because I still hadn't found a rock to stand on."
"Children can be your heartache. But that doesn't matter, you have to go on and have them . . . it works out."
"My life is a pitiful, mechanical thing without a past, like a little wind-up car, ready to run in any direction someone points me."
"The most important thing about a person is always the thing you don't know."