My heart broke all over again. I wanted my life back, my mama, but I knew I would never have that. The child I had been was gone with the child she had been. We were new people, and we didn't know each other anymore. I shook my head desperately.
The only magic we have is what we make in ourselves, the muscles we build up on the inside, the sense of belief we create from nothing.
People don't do right because of the fear of God or love of him. You do right because the world doesn't make sense if you don't.
she got a reputation for an easy smile and a sharp tongue, and using one to balance the other, she seemed friendly but distant
Fiction is a piece of truth that turns lies to meaning.
Piece by piece, my mother is being stolen from me.
Behind my carefully buttoned collar is my nakedness, the struggle to find clean clothes, food, meaning, and money. Behind sex is rage, behind anger is love, behind this moment is silence, years of silence.
Everything that comes to us is a blessing or a test. That's all you need to know in this life"¦just the certainty that God's got His eye on you, that He knows what you are made of, what you need to grow on. Why,questioning's a sin, it's pointless. He will show you your path in His own good time. And long as I remember that, I'm fine.
Change, when it comes, cracks everything open.
Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.
One of the strengths I derive from my class background is that I am accustomed to contempt.
I have a terrible memory.
I can't write what I don't believe in.
And while it is true that I got the best woman in the world, I don't think love saves you.
My sisters, we didn't like each other as kids. We were scared of each other, I think, but we've grown to love each other. It was fun to write about these sisters who were supposed to hate each other but really don't.
I tell my students you have an absolute right to write about people you know and love. You do. But the kicker is you have a responsibility to make the characters large enough that you will not have sinned against them.
Writing is the only way I know to demand justice from an uncaring universe.
Watch out, or I'm liable to put you in a story.
I'm still very blunt: If you want to be a writer, get a day job. The fact that I have actually been able to make a living at it is astonishing.
I think I would have died if there hadn't been the women's movement. It gave me a vision that I could do something different, and it gave me an understanding that I wasn't a monster, or sport, or a betrayer of my family.
Class, race, sexuality, gender and all other categories by which we categorize and dismiss each other need to be excavated from the inside.
My assumption when I began writing was that you were never going to make any money. And you were never going to reach everyone. Therefore you had to do as much as you could in the service of something you genuinely believed in. And if you do that and people get upset, well, there you go.
It's important to set challenges that you're not sure you're equal to.
If you write a book that's as powerful and successful as 'Bastard,' there's a strong desire to prove there's something else.
My son, Wolf, was born when I was past 40 and the author of a best-selling novel. That means he has grown up a middle-class child - one who sometimes asks me for stories of my childhood but knows nothing of what it means to grow up poor and afraid. I have worked to make sure of that.
I'll tell you the secret. When you begin with a character, you want to begin by creating a villain.
Gravy is the simplest, tastiest, most memory-laden dish I know how to make: a little flour, salt and pepper, crispy bits of whatever meat anchored the meal, a couple of cups of water or milk and slow stirring to break up lumps.
When I was growing up, I always read horror books, while my sister read romance novels. My sister became unmarried and pregnant during high school, and she kept saying, 'This wasn't supposed to happen! Why is this happening to me?' Someone should have given her another book to read.
It's fun to tease people about where fiction and life intersect.
I think it's wonderful that people in pickup trucks are buying two flats of dog food and a copy of 'Bastard.' I want my view of the world to be right up there next to gallon boxes of Tide.
The hardest thing to teach young writers is that it's wonderful to tell your truth. And that's what you should do. But it damn well better be beautiful.
If somebody gave you several thousand dollars and nothin' to do but write, would you be a writer then? Would you tell your stories, your family's stories, then?
Every kid I meet who's a reader has got something like that, their fantasy world. And science fiction is the best, especially for girls because it's the one place where you can do the forbidden.
The bottom line is I'm writing to save the dead. I'm writing to save the people I have lost, some of whose bodies are still walking around.
Teenagers are free verse walking around on two legs.
Behind the story I tell is the one I don't… Behind the story you hear is the one I wish I could make you hear.
Two or three things I know, two or three things I know for sure, and one of them is that to go on living I have to tell stories, that stories are the one sure way I know to touch the heart and change the world
The horror of class stratification, racism, and prejudice is that some people begin to believe that the security of their families and communities depends on the oppression of others, that for some to have good lives there must be others whose lives are truncated and brutal.
I have wanted everything as a writer and a woman, but most of all a world changed utterly by my revelations.