My reaction to porn films is as follows: After the first ten minutes, I want to go home and screw. After the first 20 minutes, I never want to screw again as long as I live.
Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. … It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.
Topics: Love, Romance, Risk, Risk-taking
To name oneself is the first act of both the poet and the revolutionary. When we take away the right to an individual name, we symbolically take away the right to be an individual. Immigration officials did this to refugees; husbands routinely do it to wives.
I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged … I had poems which were rewritten so many times I suspect it was just a way of avoiding sending them out.
Topics: Perseverance, Endurance, Resolve
No one to blame! That was why most people led lives they hated, with people they hated. How wonderful to have someone to blame! How wonderful to live with one’s nemesis! You may be miserable, but you feel forever in the right. You may be fragmented, but you feel absolved of all the blame for it. Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.
Topics: Responsibility, Self-reliance, Confidence
Growing up female in America. What a liability! You grew up with your ears full of cosmetic ads, love songs, advice columns, whoreoscopes, Hollywood gossip, and moral dilemmas on the level of TV soap operas. What litanies the advertisers of the good life chanted at you! What curious catechisms!
And what is laughter anyway? Changing the angle of vision. That is what you love a friend for: the ability to change your angle of vision, bring back your best self when you feel worst, remind you of your strengths when you feel weak.
Back in the days when men were hunters and chest beaters and women spent their whole lives worrying about pregnancy or dying in childbirth, they often had to be taken against their will. Men complained that women were cold, unresponsive, frigid. They wanted their women wanton. They wanted their women wild. Now women were finally learning to be wanton and wild—and what happened?. The men wilted.
Topics: Pregnancy, Sex
Where is Hollywood located? Chiefly between the ears. In that part of the American brain lately vacated by God.
There is a rhythm to the ending of a marriage just like the rhythm of a courtship—only backward. You try to start again but get into blaming over and over. Finally you are both worn out, exhausted, hopeless. Then lawyers are called in to pick clean the corpses. The death has occurred much earlier.
Every time I catch myself saying, “Oh no, you shouldn’t try that,” I think, “Yes, I should.”
Isn’t that the problem? That women have been swindled for centuries into substituting adornment for love, fashion (as it were) for passion? All the cosmetics names seemed obscenely obvious to me in their promises of sexual bliss. They were all firming or uplifting or invigorating. They made you tingle. Or glow. Or feel young. They were prepared with hormones or placentas or royal jelly. All the juice and joy missing in the lives of these women were to be supplied by the contents of jars and bottles. No wonder they would spend twenty dollars for an ounce of face makeup or thirty for a half-ounce of hormone cream. What price bliss? What price sexual ecstasy?
It takes courage to live a life, any life.
Every country gets the circus it deserves. Spain gets bullfights. Italy gets the Catholic Church. America gets Hollywood.
In a bad marriage, friends are the invisible glue. If we have enough friends, we may go on for years, intending to leave, talking about leaving—instead of actually getting up and leaving.
Topics: Friends and Friendship
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Sheryl Sandberg American Executive, Author
- Langston Hughes American Poet, Writer
- Toni Morrison American Novelist
- Robin Morgan American Activist
- Willa Cather American Novelist
- Emma Goldman American Anarchist
- Emma Lazarus American Poet, Writer
- Joyce Carol Oates American Novelist
- Bernard Malamud American Novelist
- Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Indian-born American Novelist