If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it.
I am a writer and my faith in the world of art is intense, but not irrational, nor naÃ¯ve - because art takes us and makes us take a journey beyond price, beyond cost, into bearing witness to the world as it is and as it should be. Art invites us to know beauty and to solicit it, summon it, from even the most tragic of circumstances.
Racism will disappear when it's no longer profitable, and no longer psychologically useful. And when that happens, it'll be gone. But at the moment, people make a lot of money off of it, pro and con.
Your life is already artful-waiting, just waiting, for you to make it art.
Misery don't call ahead. That's why you have to stay awake - otherwise it just walks on in your door.
Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all.
I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge-even wisdom. Like art.
The writing is - I'm free from pain. It's the place where I live; it's where I have control; it's where nobody tells me what to do; it's where my imagination is fecund and I am really at my best. Nothing matters more in the world or in my body or anywhere when I'm writing.
If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.
I really want some meaning. It used to be easy to toss it off. Now it's harder and harder. You have to navigate just to find something that has nourishment. It's the absence of nourishment. What do you do in place of nourishment? It's usually junk. Either it's junk food or junk clothes or junk ideas.
I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.
She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.
Risky, thought Paul D, very risky. For a used-to-be-slave woman to love anything that much was dangerous, especially if it was her children she had settled on to love. The best thing, he knew, was to love just a little bit, so when they broke its back, or shoved it in a croaker sack, well, maybe you'd have a little love left over for the next one.
Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.
I want to discourage you from choosing anything or making any decision simply because it is safe. Things of value seldom are
The function of freedom is to free someone else.
There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge.
Don't beg anybody for anything, especially love.
There is no such thing as race. None. There is just a human race - scientifically, anthropologically. Racism is a construct, a social construct... it has a social function, racism.
In times of dread, artists must never choose to remain silent.
If you want to fly, you have to give up the things that weigh you down.
Here I am not the one to throw out. No one steals my warmth and shoes because I am small. No one handles my backside. No one whinnies like sheep or goat because I drop in fear and weakness. No one screams at the sight of me. No one watches my body for how it is unseemly. With you my body is pleasure is safe is belonging. I can never not have you have me.
So this is what insanity is. Not goofy behavior, but watching a sudden change in the world you used to know.
No one ever talks about the moment you found that you were white. Or the moment you found out you were black. That's a profound revelation. The minute you find that out, something happens. You have to renegotiate everything.
Women's rights is not only an abstraction, a cause; it is also a personal affair. It is not only about us; it is also about me and you. Just the two of us.
But to find out the truth about how dreams die, one should never take the word of the dreamer.
The peace I am thinking of is the dance of an open mind when it engages another equally open one.
Make a difference about something other than yourselves.
Please don't settle for happiness. It's not good enough. Of course you deserve it, but if that's all you have in mind - happiness - I want to suggest to you that personal success devoid of meaningfulness, free of a steady commitment to social justice - that's more than a barren life. It's a trivial one.
Her mind traveled crooked streets and aimless goat paths, arriving sometimes at profundity, other times at the revelations of a three-year-old. Throughout this fresh, if common, pursuit of knowledge, one conviction crowned her efforts: ...she knew there was nothing to fear.
The race thing is sort of a misnomer. It's just the human race, right? That's it. The rest of it, and racism, is socially constructed. Nobody is born racist, no one. What happens is other things that are usually based on power, money, feeling good about yourself, or bad about yourself, those things play into hating other people for whatever reason.
As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.
I tell my students there is such a thing as 'writer's block,' and they should respect it. You shouldn't write through it. It's blocked because it ought to be blocked, because you haven't got it right now.
When you first start writing-and I think it's true for a lot of beginning writers-you're scared to death that if you don't get that sentence right that minute it's never going to show up again. And it isn't. But it doesn't matter-another one will, and it'll probably be better. And I don't mind writing badly for a couple of days because I know I can fix it-and fix it again and again and again, and it will be better.
In order to be as free as I possibly can, in my own imagination, I can't take positions that are closed. Everything I've ever done, in the writing world, has been to expand articulation, rather than to close it, to open doors, sometimes, not even closing the book - leaving the endings open for reinterpretation, revisitation, a little ambiguity.
If you can only be tall because someone else is on their knees, then you have a serious problem. And white people have a very, very serious problem.
A dream is just a nightmare with lipstick.
There is really nothing more to say-except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.
Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.