Quotes from All Over But the Shoutin'

Rick Bragg ·  329 pages

Rating: (22.7K votes)


“Every life deserves a certain amount of dignity, no matter how poor or damaged the shell that carries it.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“Passion is something you really don't miss, after it has cooled. It is like looking at an empty bottle on the side of the road and thinking, "Boy, I wish I had a Coke." The loves you miss are the ones that go away when they are still warm, even hot, to the touch.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“I know I grew up in the time when a young man in a baggy suit and slicked-down hair stood spraddle-legged in the crossroads of history and talked hot and mean about the colored, giving my poor and desperate people a reason to feel superior to somebody, to anybody. I know that even as the words of George Wallace rang through my Alabama, the black family who lived down the dirt road from our house sent fresh-picked corn and other food to the poor white lady and her three sons, because they knew their daddy had run off, because hungry does not have a color.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“You do not hate the time you waste; it evokes a much more passive emotion than that. You only wish you had it back, like a quarter in an unlucky slot machine.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“It was a good moment, the kind you would like to press between the pages of a book, or hide in your sock drawer, so you could touch it again.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'



“One: Don't kill yourself.
Two: Don't kill each other.
Three: Try hard not to kill nobody else, but if you have to, better if it ain't fam'ly.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“The only thing poverty does is grind down your nerve endings to a point that you can work harder and stoop lower than most people are willing to. It chips away a person's dreams to the point that the hopelessness shows through, and the dreamer accepts that hard work and borrowed houses are all this life will ever be.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“I know how silly and paranoid that sounds, especially coming from a man who gets a perverse thrill from taking chances. But it is a common condition of being poor white trash: you are always afraid that the good things in your life are temporary, that someone can take them away, because you have no power beyond your own brute strength to stop them.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“I believe that if we are going to write about life and death, we should not do it from the cheap seats.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“Mama just stepped back on the treadmill of worry and hopeless, and kept walking.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'



“They, especially, taught me that you can't go through life not liking people because they didn't have to work as hard or come as far as you did.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“The Haitians, who knew something about suffering and survival, had a beautiful phrase... The Translation is not perfect, but the nut of it was: 'The season of pain is never over until the sky begins to cry.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“It is one thing to be sure of yourself. It is another to have someone tell you to quit dancing, look them in the eye, and tell them the truth even if it hurts your pride.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“I don’t know anything about wars. I don’t think even the most erudite scholars do. I think you have to fight one, to know it.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“I guess it is what you do if you grow up with warnings of damnation ringing from every church door and radio station and family reunion, in a place where total strangers will walk up to you at the Piggly Wiggly and ask if you are Saved. Even if you deny that faith, rebuke it, you still carry it around with you like some half-forgotten Indian head penny you keep in your pocket for luck. I wonder sometimes if I will be the same, if when I see my life coming to an end I will drop to my knees and search my soul for old sins and my memory for forgotten prayers. I reckon so.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'



“I felt lonely then. This is the time when you need somebody. This is the time when it is good to have a wife, and children, to absorb your grief, to hold on to you. This is when you pay, and pay and pay, for pretending that you don't need anybody.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“For maybe the first time in my life, I had tried to do the safe thing, and it had blown up in my face. Never, ever again.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“I write late into the night at the Tutweiler in downtown Birmingham, and try hard to turn down that second cheeseburger at Milo’s over by UAB, which has the best one in the whole wide world.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“If you cannot eat what you want in the South, life is not worth living.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“There was hope, not much hope, but some, that her husband would change. She dreamed he would stop drinking up his paycheck, stop disappearing for days, for weeks, for months. She dreamed he would stop running around and shaming her, dreamed she would not have to beg him for money for milk for the baby, Sam. She dreamed that this time it might be bearable, it might last. She didn’t want much, really, just something decent. All she got was me.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'



“But I just stood there, trapped somewhere between my long-standing comfortable hatred, and what might have been forgiveness. I am trapped there still.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“…dreaming backwards can carry a man through some dark rooms where the walls seem lined with razor blades.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“You can dream on welfare. You can hope as you take in ironing. It is just less painful if you don't.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“...because dreaming backwards can carry a man through some dark rooms...”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“That is where a big part of the Old South is, on coffee tables in Greenwich Village.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'



“These were people who remembered the weight of the cotton sack, people with grease under their fingernails that no amount of Octagon soap would ever scrub away, people who built redwood decks on their mobile homes and have no idea that smart-aleck Yankees think that is somehow funny. People of the pines. My people.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


“I could not even ask myself how in the fuzzy hell I got here, because I knew precisely how it happened, year by year.”
― Rick Bragg, quote from All Over But the Shoutin'


About the author

Rick Bragg
Born place: in Piedmont, Alabama
Born date July 26, 1959
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