The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs.
Most of our platitudes notwithstanding, self-deception remains the most difficult deception. The tricks that worked on others count for nothing in that very well-lit back alley where one keeps assignations with oneself: no winning smiles will do here, no prettily drawn list of good intentions.
When we start deceiving ourselves into thinking not that we want something or need something, not that it is a pragmatic necessity for us to have it, but that it is a moral imperative that we have it. Then is when we join the fashionable madmen, and then is when the thin whine of hysteria is heard in the land, and then is when we are in bad trouble.
I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means, what I want, and what I fear.
There is one last thing to remember: writers are always selling somebody out.
Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life — is the source from which self-respect springs.
I tell you this true story just to prove that I can. That my frailty has not yet reached a point at which I can no longer tell a true story.
Until now I had been able only to grieve, not mourn. Grief was passive. Grief happened. Mourning, the act of dealing with grief, required attention.
I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle.
Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought?
We imagined we knew everything the other thought, even when we did not necessarily want to know it, but in fact, I have come to see, we knew not the smallest fraction of what there was to know.
He ran his fingers over the moist ends of her hair and across her face. Her eyes were wet. Jesus Christ. How many nights had he heard Lily crying. As some parents sleep through fire, thunderstorms, and voices at the back door only to wake at a child’s whisper, so Everett heard Lily crying at night. Her muffled sobs seemed to have broken his dreams for years. He had heard her even at Fort Lewis, even in Georgia, finally at Bliss. That was Lily crying in the wings whenever the priest came to tear up his mother’s grave. Lily cried in the twilight field where he picked wild poppies with Martha; Lily’s was the cry he heard those nights the kiln burned, the levee broke, the ranch went to nothing.
Do not whine... Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.
Another thing I need to do, when I'm near the end of the book, is sleep in the same room with it...Somehow the book doesn't leave you when you're asleep right next to it.
The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself.
We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the 'ideas' with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.
I've never been keen on open adoption. It doesn't seem to solve the main problem with adoption, which is that somebody feels she was abandoned by someone else.
I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind's door at 4 A.M. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends.
I went on a book tour immediately after 9/11. I was due to leave the following Wednesday, so I just did. It was an amazing thing, because planes hadn't been flying very many days, and I got on this plane and went to San Francisco, and the minute that plane lifted above the clouds, I felt this incredible sense of lightness.