“It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass. Yet regardless of where they come from, I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them -- with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself. Still illiterate, I was ready for them, committed to all the reading I could give them ...”
“Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it’s an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole.”
“Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it.”
“She read Dickens in the same spirit she would have eloped with him.”
“It is our inward journey that leads us through time – forward or back, seldom in a straight line, most often spiraling. Each of us is moving, changing, with respect to others. As we discover, we remember; remembering, we discover; and most intensely do we experience this when our separate journeys converge. Our living experience at those meeting points is one of the charged dramatic fields of fiction. ”
“I read library books as fast as I could go, rushing them home in the basket of my bicycle. From the minute I reached our house, I started to read. Every book I seized on, from “Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Camp Rest-a-While” to “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” stood for the devouring wish to read being instantly granted. I knew this was bliss, knew it at the time. Taste isn’t nearly so important; it comes in its own time.”
“The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order, a timetable not necessarily--perhaps not possibly--chronological. The time as we know it subjectively is often the chronology that stories and novels follow: it is the continuous thread of revelation.”
“All experience is an enrichment rather than an impoverishment.”
“I learned from the age of two or three that any room in our house, at any time of day, was there to read in, or be read to.”
“I don't know whether I could do either one, reading or writing, without the other”
“Even as we grew up, my mother could not help imposing herself between her children and whatever it was they might take it in mind to reach out for in the world. For she would get it for them, if it was good enough for them--she would have to be very sure--and give it to them, at whatever cost to herself: valiance was in her very fibre. She stood always prepared in herself to challenge the world in our place. She did indeed tend to make the world look dangerous, and so it had been to her. A way had to be found around her love sometimes, without challenging that, and at the same time cherishing it in its unassailable strength. Each of us children did, sooner or later, in part at least, solve this in a different, respectful, complicated way.”
“When my mother would tell me that she wanted me to have something because she as a child had never had it, I wanted, or I partly wanted, to give it back. All my life I continued to feel that bliss for me would have to imply my mother's deprivation or sacrifice. I don't think it would have occurred to her what a double emotion I felt, and indeed I know that it was being unfair to her, for what she said was simply the truth.”
“Barefooted on the slick brick walk I rushed to where I could breathe in the cool breath from the interior of the springhouse. On a cold bubbling spring, covered dishes and crocks and pitchers of milk and butter and so on floated in a circle in the mild whirlpool, like horses on a merry-go-round, in the water that smelled of the mint that grew close by.”
“She thought of herself as his strength; in a world of shadows, the indisputable reality to which he could always repair. And, again, for all that had come, she could not regret this. She had tried, but she had never been and was not now, even tonight, truly sorry. Where, then, was her repentance? And how could God hear her cry?”
“I have resolved that each morning when I wake up from now on, I will take three long breaths and think about each of them as I draw them in and let them out, and I will remember that time at the end of that rope when I could not draw such breaths. And then I will look at the blue veins in my wrists and will know that my blood is running through them, and for that I will be grateful. Amen. The”
“He undressed and, wearing slippers and a robe, went to the bathroom to shave. He turned on the radio. They read the newspapers on the Dominican Voice and Caribbean Radio. Until a few years ago the news bulletins had begun at five. But when his brother Petan, the owner of the Dominican Voice, found out that he woke at four, he moved the newscasts up an hour. The other stations followed suit. They knew he listened to the radio while he shaved, bathed, and dressed, and they were painstakingly careful.”
“The demons were scary, but girls - Well, girls are really terrifying”
“You're always haunted by the idea you're wasting your life.”
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