You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.
My Stuyvesant students were not satisfied. Why was I telling them stories of women from the Islands and Puerto Ricans and Greeks when the world was going to hell? Because the women from the Islands believe in education. You can demonstrate and shake your fists, burn your draft cards and block the traffic with your bodies, but what do you know in the end? For the ladies from the Islands there is one relevance, education. That is all they know. That is all I know. That is all I need to know.
People arrived and there was eating, drinking, dancing and misunderstandings between all the couples, married and unmarried. Frank Schwake wouldn’t talk to his wife, Jean. Jim Collins quarreled in a corner with his wife, Sheila. There was still a coolness between Alberta and me and between Brian and Joyce. Other couples were affected and there were islands of tension all over the apartment. The night would have been ruined except for the way we all united against an outside danger.
There are bars of Pear's soap and a thick book called Pear's Encyclopedia, which keeps me up day and night because it tells you everything about everything and that's all I want to know.
There's so much absurdity. Poverty is so absurd.
That's what kept us going - a sense of absurdity, rather than humor.
Autobiography should be more stringent. It should adhere more to the standards of journalism - assuming that journalism has the truth. The memoir gives you more scope, is more poetic, and allows you to play around with your own life.
I had to get rid of any idea of hell or any idea of the afterlife. That's what held me, kept me down. So now I just have nothing but contempt for the institution of the church.
Actually, my mother and Alfie came for three weeks' Christmas vacation and stayed for 21 years. I guess my mother never went back because she was lonely.
I certainly couldn't have written 'Angela's Ashes' when my mother was alive, because she would have been ashamed.
Scatter my ashes on the Shannon.
You sail into the harbor, and Staten Island is on your left, and then you see the Statue of Liberty. This is what everyone in the world has dreams of when they think about New York. And I thought, 'My God, I'm in Heaven. I'll be dancing down Fifth Avenue like Fred Astaire with Ginger Rogers.'
O'Casey was writing about people in the streets and his mother and dying babies and poverty. So that astounded me because I thought you could only write about English matters.
I just wrote the book and was amazed and astounded that it became a bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize. It still hasn't sunk in.
I had never attended high school, but I was fairly well read.
Just luxuriate in a certain memory, and the details will come. It's like a magnet attracting steel filings.
There was a kind of madness in the country. Eamon De Valera, the prime minister, had this vision of an Ireland where we'd all be in some kind of native costume - which doesn't exist - and we'd be dancing at the crossroads, babbling away in Gaelic, going to Mass, everyone virginal and pure.
Mam was always saying we had a simple diet: tea and bread, bread and tea, a liquid and a solid, a balanced diet - what more do you need? Nobody got fat.
I've had experiences on both sides of the ocean and various classrooms and bedrooms around New York.
I was unloading sides of beef down on the docks when I decided enough was enough. By then, I'd done a lot of reading on my own, so I persuaded New York University to enroll me.