Quotes from The Chronology of Water

Lidia Yuknavitch ·  310 pages

Rating: (5.7K votes)


“This is something I know: damaged women? We don't think we deserve kindness. IN fact, when kindness happens to us, we go a little berserk. It's threatening. Deeply. Because if I have to admit how profoundly I need kindness? I have to admit that I hid the me who deserves it down in a sadness well.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“If I could go back, I'd coach myself. I'd be the woman who taught me how to stand up, how to want things, how to ask for them. I'd be the woman who says, your mind, your imagination, they are everything. Look how beautiful. You deserve to sit at the table. The radiance falls on all of us.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“So yes I know how angry, or naive, or self-destructive, or messed up, or even deluded I sound weaving my way through these life stories at times. But beautiful things. Graceful things. Hopeful things can sometimes appear in dark places. Besides, I'm trying to tell you the truth of a woman like me.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“In water, like in books—you can leave your life.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“Out of the sad sack of sad shit that was my life, I made a wordhouse.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water



“That image of Joan of Arc burning up in a fire burned inside me like a new religion. Her face skyward. Her faith muscled up like a holy war. And always the voice of a father in her head. Like me. Jesus. What is a thin man pinned to wood next to the image of a burning woman warrior ablaze? I took the image of a burning woman into my heart and left belief to the house of father forever.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“You see it is important to understand how damaged people don't always know how to say yes, or to choose the big thing, even when it is right in front of them. It's a shame we carry. The shame of wanting something good. The shame of not believing we deserve to stand in the same room in the same way as all those we admire. Big red A's on our chests.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“Your life doesn’t happen in any kind of order. Events don’t have cause and effect relationships the way you wish they did. It’s all a series of fragments and repetitions and pattern formations. Language and water have this in common.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“I am a woman who talks to herself and lies.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“I don't have any problem understanding why people flunk out of college or quit their jobs or cheat on each other or break the law or spray-paint walls. A little bit outside of things is where some people feel each other. We do it to replace the frame of family. We do it to erase and remake our origins in their own images. To say, I too was here.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water



“He treated...my scarred as shit past and body as chapters of a book he wanted to hold in his hands and finish.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“I never felt crazy, I just felt gone away.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“If you have ever fucked up in your life, or if the great river of sadness that runs through us all has touched you, then this book is for you. So thank you for the collective energy it takes to write in the face of culture. I can feel you.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“Have endless patterns and repetitions accompanying your thoughtlessness, as if to say let go of that other more linear story, with its beginning, middle, and end, with its transcendent end, let go, we are the poem, we have come miles of life, we have survived this far to tell you, go on, go on.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“This man was gorgeous. I'm mentioning this because women live their lives secretly waiting for their lives to become movies. We act like men are the ones shallow enough to desire an unending stream of beautiful women but really, if a charismatic narcissist beautiful bad boy man actually desires us, seems to choose us, we go to pieces. We suddenly feel like we are finally in that movie rather than a life. Just what we always wanted. To be chosen by the best looking man in the room. Rhett Butler. Even though we are of course smarter and more mature and more together than to ever want that. Or admit it.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water



“Because in loving his darkness I found my own.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“However, narrating what you remember, telling it to someone, does something else. The more a person recalls a memory, the more they change it. Each time they put it into language, it shifts. The more you describe a memory, the more likely it is that you are making a story that fits your life, resolves the past, creates a fiction you can live with. It’s what writers do. Once you open your mouth, you are moving away from the truth of things. According to neuroscience. The safest memories are locked in the brains of people who can’t remember. Their memories remain the closest replica of actual events. Underwater. Forever.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“I learned from an early age that if it feels bad, it's good, and if it feels good, you are bad”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“He made me feel like someone somebody would risk something to choose.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“Sometimes a mind is just born late, coming through waves on a slower journey. You were never, in the end, alone. Isn't it a blessing, what becomes from inside the alone?”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water



“Aspiration gets stuck in some people. It's difficult to think yes. Or up. When all you feel is fight or run.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“We laughed the laugh of women untethered, finally, from their origins.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“You see it is important to understand how damaged people don’t always know how to say yes, or to choose the big thing, even when it is right in front of them. It’s a shame we carry. The shame of wanting something good. The shame of feeling something good. The shame of not believing we deserve to stand in the same room in the same way as all those we admire. Big red As on our chests. I never thought to myself growing up, be a lawyer. An astronaut. The President. A scientist. A doctor. An architect. I didn’t even think, be a writer. Aspiration gets stuck in some people. It’s difficult to think yes. Or up. When all you feel is fight or run.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“I think I did it because I was hurting. I think I wanted to mark that hurt in the outside. I think I wanted to be someone else. But I didn't know who yet.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“It is possible to make family any way you like. It is possible to love men without rage. There are thousands of ways to love men.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water



“Leslie Marmon Silko whispers the story is long. No, longer. Longer than that even. Longer than anything. With Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath drink at the bar. Laugh the dark laughter in the dark light. Sing a dark drunken song of men. Make a slurry toast. Rock back and forth, and drink the dark, and bask in the wallow of women knowing what women know. Just for a night. When you need to feel the ground of your life and the heart of the world, there will be a bonfire at the edge of a canyon under a night sky where Joy Harjo will sing your bonesong. Go ahead-with Anne Carson - rebuild the wreckage of a life a word at a time, ignoring grammar and the forms that keep culture humming. Make word war and have it out and settle it, scattering old meanings like hacked to pieces paper doll confetti. The lines that are left … they are awake and growling. With Virginia Woolf there will perhaps be a long walk in a garden or along a shore, perhaps a walk that will last all day. She will put her arm in yours and gaze out. At your backs will be history. In front of you, just the ordinary day, which is of course your entire life. Like language. The small backs of words. Stretching out horizonless. I am in a midnight blue room. A writing room. With a blood red desk. A room with rituals and sanctuaries. I made it for myself. It took me years. I reach down below my desk and pull up a bottle of scotch. Balvenie. 30 year. I pour myself an amber shot. I drink. Warm lips, throat. I close my eyes. I am not Virginia Woolf. But there is a line of hers that keeps me well: Arrange whatever pieces come your way. I am not alone. Whatever else there was or is, writing is with me.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“With Hélène Cixous you must close your eyes and open your mouth. Wider. So open your throat opens. Your esophagus. Your lungs. Wider. So open your spine unclatters. Your hips swim loose. Your womb worlds itself. Wider. Open the well of your sex. Now speak your body from your other mouth. Yell corporeal prayer. This is writing.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“I didn’t know yet how wanting to die could be a bloodsong in your body that lives with you your whole life. I didn’t know then how deeply my mother’s song had swum into my sister and into me. I didn’t know that something like wanting to die could take form in one daughter as the ability to quietly surrender, and in the other as the ability to drive into death head-on. I didn’t know we were our mother’s daughters after all.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“Women live their lives secretly waiting for their lives to become movies. We act like men are the ones shallow enough to desire an unending stream of beautiful women but really, if a charismatic narcissist beautiful bad boy man actually desires us, seems to choose us, we go to pieces.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water


“We drank everything his favorite poet drank-Bukowski- and like Bukowski's women, I matched him drink for drink.
We drank each other blind.”
― Lidia Yuknavitch, quote from The Chronology of Water



About the author

Lidia Yuknavitch
Born place: The United States
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