Before and after... I heard a thousand times that a boy, or a man, can't make you happy, that you have to be happy on your own before you can be happy with another person. All I can say is, I wish it were true.

The fact is that in this day and age I don't think any novelist can assume that a book will get attention.

I won't claim I've never in my life done anything I'm ashamed of, but I haven't done anything for a good while. If not everyone would agree with the decisions I've made, that's fine. What other people think has never made a situation right or wrong.

By the time we met up again, she'd be able to hand her reaction to me as a tidy package: a single square of lasagna in a sealed Tupperware container as opposed to a squalid kitchen with tomato sauce splattered on the counters. And I wouldn't have to be there while she got it in order.

Rudolph Walsh, you are my fierce advocate, and your wit and wisdom.

All the more reason for you to go.

In some ways I think it would be very dignified if I went away for twenty years and then wrote my fourth book.

It was generally less shocking to Liz that twenty years after high school she was still her essential self, the self she'd grown up as, unencumbered by spouse or child, than that nearly everyone else had changed, moved on, and multiplied. After.

Even our challenges here have made our lives richer and deepened our ability to feel. Our family has been very lucky to live somewhere beautiful.

It's good on the other side, but it's good on your side too. Enjoy it there. The loneliness is harder, and the loneliness is the biggest part, but some things are easier.

And I am pretty sure that's the point of reading fiction -- so someone else can say in a way you never would have something you recognize immediately.

When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it's always twenty years behind the times. —Mark Twain.

I contain multitudes.

You never know the nature of another couple's marriage, do you?

As they sat, Kathy de Bourgh smiled and said, Now that we've both apologized within the first thirty seconds of our conversation about women and power, shall we begin?

And the reason I'm telling you all this is that I want you to know no one in my life has ever made me feel worse about myself than you.

I am filled with gratitude at the astonishing fact of being married to someone I enjoy talking to, someone with whom I can't imagine running out of things to say.

Maybe I have always been, as Vi would subsequently accuse me, someone who creates obstacles for myself than looks around in surprise, wondering where they came from.

He's a lawyer in Atlanta, and he's very active in his church, Mrs. Bennet said. If that's not the description of a man looking for a wife, I don't know what is.

Well, I think that if you sincerely try to imagine what life is like for another person - not in a mocking way, not in a satirical way, but in a sincere, compassionate way - I don't think that's exploitive.

I had no idea, of course, that of all the feelings of my youth that would pass, it was this one, of an abundance of time so great as to routinely be unfillable, that would vanish with the least ceremony.

Ordinarily, of course, I thought it best to remain inconspicuous, but the gesture had a certain irresistable theatricaility, and an inevitablility. Sometimes you can feel the pull of what other people want from you, and you sacrifice yourself, you risk seeming odd or sunsavory, to keep them entertained.

Personally, I have never wished I were a male novelist.

Long ago I had become my own confidant.

Of course, I didn't imagine then that I could have had a real relationship with any guy. I thought that by virtue of being me I was disqualified.

I wanted my life to start - but in those rare moments when it seemed like something might actually change, panic shot through me.

I'm able to separate fiction and reality. I guess it remains to be seen if other people are.

To be a person who sees a political ad on television and takes the statements in it as fact, how can you exist in this world? How is it you're not robbed daily by charlatans who knock at your door?

Liz felt the loneliness of confiding something true in a person who didn't care.

His ambitions exceed his talent.

It was one thingfor a person who didn't really know me to act distant, but it was quite another for someone to get to know me and then back away.

And how heartbreaking, because if it were all just a few degrees different, she is pretty sure they could be quite happy together.

It is not a camera, or a reporter that makes something real and genuine; more often a camera or a reporter does the opposite.

When they left the bar, before parting ways in Port Authority, they stood on the corner of Forty-second Street and Seventh Avenue and continued talking; there were between them always an infinite number of subjects to be addressed and dissected, mulled over and mocked and revised.

I wanted to hold happiness in reserve, like a bottle of champagne. I postponed it because I was afraid, because I overvalued it, and then I didn't want to use it up, because what do you wish for then?

At that time in my life, no conclusion was a bad conclusion. Something ended, and you stopped wishing and worrying. You could consider your mistakes, and you might be embarrassed by them, but the box was sealed, the door was shut, you were no longer immersed in the confusing middle.

I have been granted the terrible privilege of deciding what would have happened with no one left to contradict me. And maybe I am absolutely wrong.

What greater happiness is there than the privilege of being bored together?

Coordinating the calendars of five men in their forties is like herding cats.

If it's great reverence you're looking for, or earnest expressions of gratitude - well, then you don't work with kids.

Mr. Bennet stood, dropping his napkin on the table. As interesting as I find this conversation, an urgent matter has come up. I need a hamburger.

It's not that you're wrong. But when you say stuff like this, it makes life a lot less enjoyable.

Being called baby: like safaris and bowling leagues, a phenomenon she never thought she'd experience first hand.

We have to make mistakes, it's how we learn compassion for others.

For months I heard whispers and though it had seemed that they were carried to me on the wind, they were really coming from inside my own head.

To remain alone did not seem to me a terrible fate, no worse than being falsely joined to another person.

The Wisconsin land, scraped and rearranged by glaciers, accosted by tornadoes, drenched and dried out and drenched again—it didn't care what I had done.

Mama!' Rosie tugged on my shirt. 'This broccoli is tasty and wonderful'.

I have no idea, of course, that of all the feelings of my youth that would pass, it was this one, of an abundance of time so great as to routinely be unfillable, that would vanish with the least ceremony.