Coping the quote
29+ quotes from There but for the by Ali Smith

Quotes from There but for the

Ali Smith ·  357 pages

Rating: (6.2K votes)


“What would happen if you did just shut a door and stop speaking? Hour after hour after hour of no words. Would you speak to yourself? Would words just stop being useful? Would you lose language altogether? Or would words mean more, would they start to mean in every direction, all somersault and assault, like a thuggery of fireworks? Would they proliferate, like untended plantlife? Would the inside of your head overgrow with every word that has ever come into it, every word that has ever silently taken seed or fallen dormant? Would your own silence make other things noisier? Would all the things you’d ever forgotten, all layered there inside you, come bouldering up and avalanche you?”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“The whole point is, we can forget. It’s important that we forget some things. Otherwise we’d go round the world carrying a hotload of stuff we just don’t need.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“To be noticed is to be loved.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“What shop did this book come from? she asked. Her father was looking worried at the cooker. He always got rice wrong. I don't know, Brooksie, he said, I don't remember. That was unimaginable, not remembering where a book has come from! and where it was bought from! That was part of the whole history, the whole point, of any book that you owned! And when you picked it up later in the house at home, you knew, you just knew by looking and having it in your hand, where it came from and where you got it and when and why you'd decided to buy it.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


There was once, and there was only once; once was all there was.
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“And they all lived happily ever after, until they died.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“Google is so strange. It promises everything, but everything isn't there. You type in the words for what you need, and what you need becomes superfluous in an instant, shadowed instantaneously by the things you really need, and none of them answerable by Google....Sure, there's a certain charm to being able to look up and watch Eartha Kitt singing Old Fashioned Millionaire in 1957 at three in the morning or Hayley Mills singing a song about femininity from an old Disney film. But the charm is a kind of deception about a whole new way of feeling lonely, a semblance of plenitude but really a new level of Dante's inferno, a zombie-filled cemetery of spurious clues, beauty, pathos, pain, the faces of puppies, women and men from all over the world tied up and wanked over in site after site, a great sea of hidden shallows. More and more, the pressing human dilemma: how to walk a clean path between obscenities.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“Abba songs, as anyone who knows knows, are constructed, technically and harmonically, so as to physically imprint the human brain as if biting it with acid, to ensure we will never, ever, ever, be able to forget them.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


Words words words. Words Words words. Words words Words.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“Think how quiet a book is on a shelf, he said, just sitting there, unopened. Then think what happens when you open it.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“Google is so strange. It promises everything, but everything isn’t there. You type in the words for what you need, and what you need becomes superfluous in an instant, shadowed instantaneously by the things you really need, and none of them answerable by Google.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“It is important to know the stories and histories of things, even if all we know is that we don't know.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“The boy was in the Hitler Youth, he says, and he was reading a book one day, he was really enjoying it, until his troop leader found him reading it and gave him a severe warning because it was by a, a Jewish writer, it was a banned book. And the boy was so incensed that this really good book he’d been reading had been banned—was the wrong kind of book, the wrong kind of art, if you like, written by the wrong kind of writer—that he thought twice, he began to ask questions about what was happening, and then, it turns out, he went on with his sister, Sophie Scholl, their name was Scholl, to do this stellar work, to try to change things, make it possible for people to think, I mean differently. And they fought back, and they did change things. They did a lot of good before they were caught. And they were killed for it.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“Well, truth's like the sun. Look right at it and that's your eyes ruined for life.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“It makes Brooke feel strange in her stomach. It is like the feeling when she reads a book like the one about the man with the bomb, or thinks a sentence, just any old sentence like: the girl ran across the park, and unless you add the describing word then the man or the girl are definitely not black, they are white, even though no one has mentioned white, like when you take the the out of a headline and people just assume it's there anyway. Though if it were a sentence about Brooke herself you'd have to add the equivalent describing word and that's how you'd know. The black girl ran across the park.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“وتدرك أنك أقل شأنًا من مصباح نور”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“...their nineteen-sixties with the flowers in the guns and their summers of love, as if all we’d had was winter, all we’d had was rations. Just very good at keeping quiet, is what we were. We had to be. It was the way. Them with their jet-age.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“I would rather die and to go hell than wake up one day and find myself an inmate in that guesthouse of gone minds, gone things, bad carpets, furniture that needs permission.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“No art has ever really changed anything.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“The Essentials of English, book of choice of the older boys at St. Faith’s for spanking the younger boys with, leaving a particular broad-natured pain ever afterwards associated with grammar.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“Here was all about the visible-invisible borders, the thin lines between here and gone, then and now, here and there, random and meant, big and small.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“...he had simply typed the words something beautiful into the Google images box. Up came a picture of some leaves against the sun. A picture of a blonde photoshop-smooth woman and baby sleeping. A picture of a bird. A picture of Mother Teresa. A picture of a modernist building made of shiny metal. A picture of two people sticking knives into their own hands. Google is so strange. It promises everything, but everything isn’t there. You type in the words for what you need, and what you need becomes superfluous in an instant, shadowed instantaneously by the things you really need, and none of them answerable by Google”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“So that is what history is, people and places that disappear, or are beheaded, or get damaged or nearly do, and things and places and people that get tortured and burned and so on. But this does not mean that history is not the unseen things as well.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“Say that the berries on a tree fermented / say that some birds ate them got drunk demented / couldn't fly straight flew straight into instead / wall of an office block and fell down dead / down on the pavement people undeterred / stepping over the mound of broken bird”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“How adaptable human beings were without even realizing it, slipping blindly from state to state. One morning it was summer, the next you woke up and the whole year was over; one minute you were thirty, the next sixty, sixty next year quick as a wink, how fast it all was. How quickly and smoothly, yet how shockingly, when you thought about it, the seasons and the years gave way to each other”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“As he said it Mark, belted in in the back seat, had watched the holy water glint inside the plastic bubble next to the Virgin Mary and had wondered if the holy water was selective too, and if that’s what God was these days, and whether everybody now simply had a private god who sanctioned his or her own choices”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“Yeah, but the thing I particularly like about the word but, now that I think about it, is that it always takes you off to the side, and where it takes you is always interesting.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“Yes, but everywhere needs some defence against people just coming in and overrunning the place with their terrorisms or their deficiencies, eh, sweetheart, Richard says. That’s right, Terence says. Got to keep all those bad refugees out. The ones looking for a better life. Couldn”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


“THERE was once a man who, one night between the main course and the sweet at a dinner party, went upstairs and locked himself in one of the bedrooms of the house the people who were giving the dinner party.”
― Ali Smith, quote from There but for the


About the author

Ali Smith
Born place: in Inverness, Scotland
Born date August 24, 1962
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