I tell younger writers that indeed it is devastating to be rejected. You feel like the bottom dropped out of your world.
Roots is not just a saga of my family. It is the symbolic saga of a people.
The main thing you got to remember is that everything in the world is a hustle.
My parents were teachers and they went out of their way to see to it that I had books. We grew up in a home that was full of books. And so I learned to read. I loved to read.
I certainly wasn't seeking any degree, the way a college confers a status symbol upon its students. My homemade education gave me, with every additional book that I read, a little bit more sensitivity to the deafness, dumbness and blindness that was afflicting the black race in America. Not long ago, an English writer telephoned me, asking questions. One was, "What's your alma mater?" I told him, "Books.
I travel a lot. It used to be, when I would go to any country, I could guarantee that the first question would establish my name, and the fact that I've written Roots, and the third question, at least no later than the fourth question would not be a question, so much as a statement, something like, "We understand that in America white people do such and such bad things to black people."
Never completely encircle your enemy. Leave him some escape, for he will fight even more desperately if trapped.
Beginning writers must appreciate the prerequisites if they hope to become writers. You pay your dues - which takes years.
When you clench your fist, no one can put anything in your hand.
If you go back to before mankind came out of the cave, there was hatred.
Either you deal with what is the reality, or you can be sure that the reality is going to deal with you.
When you start about family, about lineage and ancestry, you are talking about every person on earth.
I wasn't going to be one of those people who died wondering what if? I would keep putting my dreams to the test - even though it meant living with uncertainty and fear of failure. This is the shadowland of hope, and anyone with a dream must learn to live there.
I can't feel Irish to save my soul, but it's a fact.
Brown people wouldn't speak to someone who was black.
I know that statistically, it has been proven that there is a tremendous amount of black on black crime within the inner cities.
Every time an old person dies, it's like a library burning down.
Anytime you see a turtle up on top of a fence post, you know he had some help.
In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage- to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness.
You have to deal with the fact that your life is your life.
Racism is taught in our society, it is not automatic. It is learned behavior toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics.
Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.
In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.
It's an hour during the week where you can just slow down.
You can never enslave somebody who knows who he is.
Unless we learn from history, we are destined to repeat it. This is no longer merely an academic exercise, but may contain our worlds fate and our destiny.
History is written by winners.
If you need to know history, the real story of those before you, then you should go to the library and read newspaper clippings of someone like Muhammad Ali every day, then it might giver you some understanding of the man.
You don't spend twenty years of your life in the service and not have a warm, nostalgic feeling left in you. It's a small service, and there's a lot of esprit de corps.
In the bush, trust no one you don't know.
Your attitude is everything. Believe in yourself and trust your material. To be a successful writer, write every single day where you feel like it or not. Never, never give up, and the world will reward you beyond your wildest dreams.
Early in the spring of 1750, in the village of Juffure, four days upriver from the coast of The Gambia, West Africa, a manchild was born to Omoro and Binta Kinte.
Is this how you repay my goodness-with badness?" cried the boy. "Of course," said the crocodile out of the corner of his mouth. "That is the way of the world.
I acknowledge immense debt to the griots [tribal poets] of Africa - where today it is rightly said that when a griot dies, it is as if a library has burned to the ground.
The way to succeed is never quit. That's it. But really be humble about it. ... You start out lowly and humble and you carefully try to learn an accretion of little things that help you get there.
My fondest hope is that 'Roots' may start black, white, brown, red, yellow people digging back for their own roots. Man, that would make me feel 90 feet tall.
I look at my books the way parents look at their children. The fact that one becomes more successful than the others doesn't make me love the less successful one any less.
That's what happens with writing. Ingredients bubble and cook. Material becomes substance.
We all suffer. If a man's wise, he learns from it.
Find the Good and Praise it" by Alex Haley