The worst cynicism: a belief in luck.

A lot of widows feel that they have betrayed their spouse by continuing to live. It's deranged thinking. I know that, but that doesn't stop you feeling it.

For that was mom's trump card: she was the mother, and so possessed a mysterious and unquestioned authority. Dad was the boss, but Mom was the power.

Laughter too depends upon memory—a memory of previous laughter. Dr.

My God, the sense of fatigue...

My belief is that art should not be comforting; for comfort, we have mass entertainment and one another. Art should provoke, disturb, arouse our emotions, expand our sympathies in directions we may not anticipate and may not even wish.

He thinks: He could give up. He could admit defeat. But he will not admit defeat. He is still alive.

Our enemy is by tradition our savior, in preventing us from superficiality.

But thinking it my duty to stretch the flayed skin of my childhood on some sort of skeleton of convention.

When I wrote 'We Were The Mulvaneys,' I was just old enough to look back upon my own family life and the lies of certain individuals close to me, with the detachment of time. I wanted to tell the truth about secrets: How much pain they give, yet how much relief, even happiness we may feel when at last the motive for secrecy has passed.

For madness must be punished in a world in which mere sanity is prized. The revenge of the ordinary upon the gifted.

Among many of my friends and acquaintances, I seem to be one of the very few individuals who felt or feels no ambivalence about my mother. All my feelings for my mother were positive, very strong and abiding.

Burnaby wasn't a Christian but he behaved like a Christian is supposed to behave which made Colborne, a Christian, uncomfortable.

If I could open a vein. Not to inject any shit, I will never weaken like that again, but just to feel the kick of it, the old memory. So this numbness lifts. So I could get back there easier.

If food is poetry, is not poetry also food?

It may be that actual tears have stained the tile floors or soaked into the carpets of such places. It may be that these tears can never be removed. And everywhere the odor of melancholy, that is the very odor of memory.

I love insult, it's always honest.

That I was sleeping at a time when my husband was dying is so horrible a thought, I can't confront it.

The writer understands how deeply mysterious the 'familiar' really is. How strangely opaque, what we've seen a thousand times. And how inconsolable a loss, when the taken-for-granted is finally taken from us.

In a family, what isn't spoken is what you listen for. But the noise of a family is to drown it out.

It feels good, honey, but it isn't love.

If I'm writing, I'll say something metaphorical or approximate, whereas scientists are very precise.

The danger of motherhood. you relive your early self, through the eyes of your mother.

Great handfuls of her life were being stolen from her and she would never be able to retrieve them.

The challenge is, to live in a house from which meaning has departed, like air leaking from a balloon. A slow leak, yet lethal. And one day, the balloon is flat: it is not a balloon any longer. By.

SO RISKY, to love another person! Like flaying your own, outermost skin. Exposed to the crude air and every kind of infection.

Literature, art, like civilization itself, are only accidents.

Alone, alone! Long she would recall the strangeness of the word, an echo aerated by melancholy vowels—alone. AT.

Maybe, love is always forgiveness, to a degree.

In that way you recall, suddenly, sharply, in daylight, a trace of a dream of the previous night--but even as you recall it, it begins to fade.

It makes me angry sometimes, it's a visceral thing--how you come to despise your own words in your ears not because they aren't genuine, but because they are; because you've said them so many times, your 'principles,' your 'ideals'--and so damned little in the world has changed because of them.

And so you must grant to God what is God and not try to think of what you have lost, for that way is madness.

The historical Woodrow Wilson suffered from numerous complaints which we might today label as psychosomatic. Yet, Wilson did have a stroke as a relatively young man of 39 and seemed always to be ill. He was 'high-strung' - intensely neurotic - yet a charismatic personality nonetheless.

Fiction that adds up, that suggests a "logical consistency," or an explanation of some kind, is surely second-rate fiction; for the truth of life is its mystery.

Where we come from in America no longer signifies. It's where we go, and what we do when we get there, that tells us who we are.

In the throat, the male is as vulnerable as the female. Once the sharp points of the shears pierce his skin, puncture the artery, there will be no turning back for either of them.

It struck her to the heart, left her weak, disoriented, that, to Michael Mulvaney, after all, his family wasn't quite enough.

Whatever you do, with whom you do it or whether you do it alone, and when, and how, and why, to what mysterious end—it's balanced against nothing, against Death and forgetting. You balanced against oblivion.

Where there must be a choice, a girl will choose Daddy. Even if you are Mommy, you concede that this must be so: you remember when you were a girl, too.

Was it confusing because it was artistic, or artistic because it was confusing?

Honorary degrees and lifetime achievement awards are very encouraging. I know that it might sound strange that a writer who has published many books still needs encouragement, but this is true.

But so like Hollywood people, who played at the emotions they truly felt. Or maybe the emotions they truly felt could only be expressed in play?

The first sentence can't be written until the final sentence is written.

Prose—it might be speculated—is discourse; poetry ellipsis. Prose is spoken aloud; poetry overheard. The one is presumably articulate and social, a shared language, the voice of communication; the other is private, allusive, teasing, sly, idiosyncratic as the spider's delicate web, a kind of witchcraft unfathomable to ordinary minds.

I have forced myself to begin writing when I've been utterly exhausted, when I've felt my soul as thin as a playing card, when nothing has seemed worth enduring for another five minutes... and somehow the activity of writing changes everything. Or appears to do so.

The denial of language is a suicidal one and we pay for it with our own lives.

Ariah struck suddenly at her face with both fists. She wanted to pummel, blacken her eyes that had seen too much.

Night comes to the desert all at once, as if someone turned off the light.

For isn't the artist by nature a revolutionary?