No gasp at a miracle that is truly miraculous because the magic lies in the fact that you knew it was there for you all along.
Don’t let anybody, anybody convince you this is the way the world is and therefore must be. It must be the way it ought to be.
Our past is bleak. Our future dim. But I am not reasonable. A reasonable man adjusts to his environment. And unreasonable man does not. All progress, therefore, depends on the unreasonable man. I prefer not to adjust to my environment. I refuse the prison of “I” and choose the open spaces of “we”.
It was an opportunity to intervene at the heart of the problem: to bring God and language to natives who were assumed to have neither; to alter their diets, their clothes, their minds; to help them despise everything that had once made their lives worthwhile and to offer them instead the privilege of knowing the one and only God and a chance, thereby, for redemption. (227)
Make up a story... For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don't tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief's wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear's caul.
I never asked Tolstoy to write for me, a little colored girl in Lorain, Ohio. I never asked [James] Joyce not to mention Catholicism or the world of Dublin. Never. And I don't know why I should be asked to explain your life to you. We have splendid writers to do that, but I am not one of them. It is that business of being universal, a word hopelessly stripped of meaning for me. Faulkner wrote what I suppose could be called regional literature and had it published all over the world. That's what I wish to do. If I tried to write a universal novel, it would be water. Behind this question is the suggestion that to write for black people is somehow to diminish the writing. From my perspective there are only black people. When I say 'people,' that's what I mean.
Writing is really a way of thinking--not just feeling but thinking about things that are disparate, unresolved, mysterious, problematic or just sweet.
I didn't plan on either children or writing. Once I realized that writing satisfied me in some enormous way, I had to make adjustments. The writing was always marginal in terms of time when the children were small. But it was major in terms of my head. I always thought that women could do a lot of things. All the women I knew did nine or ten things at one time. I always understood that women worked, they went to church, they managed their houses, they managed somebody else's houses, they raised their children, they raised somebody else's children, they taught. I wouldn't say it's not hard, but why wouldn't it be? All important things are hard.
I get angry about things, then go on and work.
When I write, I don't translate for white readers.... Dostoevski wrote for a Russian audience, but we're able to read him. If I'm specific, and I don't overexplain, then anyone can overhear me.
Everything I've ever done, in the writing world, has been to expand articulation, rather than to close it.
I think women dwell quite a bit on the duress under which they work, on how hard it is just to do it at all. We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves for having slipped creative work in there between the domestic chores and obligations. I'm not sure we deserve such big A-pluses for all that.
I am really Chloe Anthony Wofford. That's who I am. I have been writing under this other person's name. I write some things now as Chloe Wofford, private things. I regret having called myself Toni Morrison when I published my first novel, The Bluest Eye.
I don't believe any real artists have ever been non-political. They may have been insensitive to this particular plight or insensitive to that, but they were political, because that's what an artist is―a politician.
I think some aspects of writing can be taught. Obviously, you can't teach vision or talent. But you can help with comfort.
What difference do it make if the thing you scared of is real or not?
There is really nothing more to say-except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.
All paradises, all utopias are designed by who is not there, by the people who are not allowed in. [Conversation with Elizabeth Farnsworth, PBS NewsHour, March 9, 1998]
All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.
What I think the political correctness debate is really about is the power to be able to define. The definers want the power to name. And the defined are now taking that power away from them.