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Rick Bragg quotes (showing 1-30 of 43)

“Every life deserves a certain amount of dignity, no matter how poor or damaged the shell that carries it.”
Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
“This is a place where grandmothers hold babies on their laps under the stars and whisper in their ears that the lights in the sky are holes in the floor of heaven.”
Rick Bragg
“It is a common condition of being poor...you are always afraid that the good things in your life are temporary, that someone can take them away, because you have no power beyond your own brute strength to stop them.”
Rick Bragg
“But I hope I will never have a life that is not surrounded by books, by books that are bound in paper and cloth and glue, such perishable things for ideas have lasted thousands of years . . . I hope I am always walled in by the very weight and breadth and clumsy, inefficient, antiquated bulk of them, hope that I spend my last days on this Earth arranging and rearranging them on thrones of good, honest pine, oak, and mahogany, because I just like to look at their covers, and dream of the promise of the great stories inside.”
Rick Bragg
“Don’t worry about what people think, because once it’s all over the people who love you will make you what they want you to be, and the people who don’t love you will, too.”
Rick Bragg, The Prince of Frogtown
“Passion is something you really don't miss, after it has cooled. It is like looking at an empty bottle on the side of the road and thinking, "Boy, I wish I had a Coke." The loves you miss are the ones that go away when they are still warm, even hot, to the touch.”
Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
“Momma kept a garden, which sounds romantic to people who have never held a hoe”
Rick Bragg
“You do not hate the time you waste; it evokes a much more passive emotion than that. You only wish you had it back, like a quarter in an unlucky slot machine.”
Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
“It is easy to be liked when the world has no jagged edges, when life is electric blankets and peach ice cream. But to be beloved, a man needs a dragon.”
Rick Bragg, Ava's Man
“I know I grew up in the time when a young man in a baggy suit and slicked-down hair stood spraddle-legged in the crossroads of history and talked hot and mean about the colored, giving my poor and desperate people a reason to feel superior to somebody, to anybody. I know that even as the words of George Wallace rang through my Alabama, the black family who lived down the dirt road from our house sent fresh-picked corn and other food to the poor white lady and her three sons, because they knew their daddy had run off, because hungry does not have a color.”
Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
“This is home and home is not something you remember, it is something you see every day and every moment.”
Rick Bragg
tags: home
“But if she was going to live in a damn jungle, she preferred it be a damn jungle in Georgia, she always said, and never saw any reason to elaborate on that.”
Rick Bragg, Ava's Man
“It was a good moment, the kind you would like to press between the pages of a book, or hide in your sock drawer, so you could touch it again.”
Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
“It wasn't that I had gotten it right . . . but that I had gotten true.”
Rick Bragg
“One: Don't kill yourself.
Two: Don't kill each other.
Three: Try hard not to kill nobody else, but if you have to, better if it ain't fam'ly.”
Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
“It wasn't that I had gotten it right . . . but that I had gotten it true.”
Rick Bragg
“When you're a sportswriter, you learn how to use your imagination and to flex your literary muscle, because it's the same game played over and over again. There's nothing unique or marvelous. It's not an earthquake, or a weird mass murder. It's just the same old game played over and over, and you have to bring out the personalities. You have to drag them kicking and screaming out into the light of day, or you're not a good sportswriter.”
Rick Bragg
“The only thing poverty does is grind down your nerve endings to a point that you can work harder and stoop lower than most people are willing to. It chips away a person's dreams to the point that the hopelessness shows through, and the dreamer accepts that hard work and borrowed houses are all this life will ever be.”
Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
“Like most men, Jimmy Jim was neither all good nor all bad. It is just that when he was bad, gentler people saw in him a disturbing fury. People, a lot them, don't understand fury. They understand anger and even hatred, but fury is one of those old words that have gone out of style. Jimmy Jim Bundrum understood it. It rode his shoulder like a parrot.”
Rick Bragg, Ava's Man
tags: fury
“I know how silly and paranoid that sounds, especially coming from a man who gets a perverse thrill from taking chances. But it is a common condition of being poor white trash: you are always afraid that the good things in your life are temporary, that someone can take them away, because you have no power beyond your own brute strength to stop them.”
Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
“Mama just stepped back on the treadmill of worry and hopeless, and kept walking.”
Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
“They, especially, taught me that you can't go through life not liking people because they didn't have to work as hard or come as far as you did.”
Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
“It is true that almost everyone in the foothills farmed and hunted, so there were no breadlines, no men holding signs that begged for work and food, no children going door to door, as they did in Atlanta, asking for table scraps. Here, deep in the woods, was a different agony. Babies, the most tenuous, died from poor diet and simple things, like fevers and dehydration. In Georgia, one in seven babies died before their first birthday, and in Alabama it was worse.
You could feed your family catfish and jack salmon, poke salad and possum, but medicine took cash money, and the poorest of the poor, blacks and whites, did not have it. Women, black and white, really did smother their babies to save them from slow death, to give a stronger, sounder child a little more, and stories of it swirled round and round until it became myth, because who can live with that much truth.”
Rick Bragg, Ava's Man
“I believe that if we are going to write about life and death, we should not do it from the cheap seats.”
Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
“The Haitians, who knew something about suffering and survival, had a beautiful phrase... The Translation is not perfect, but the nut of it was: 'The season of pain is never over until the sky begins to cry.”
Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
“In water so fine, a few minutes of bad memory all but disappear downstream, washed away by ten thousand belly busters, a million cannonballs. Paradise was never heaven-high when I was a boy but waist-deep, an oasis of cutoff blue jeans and raggedy Converse sneakers, sweating bottles of Nehi Grape and Orange Crush, and this stream. I remember the antidote of icy water against my blistered skin, and the taste of mushy tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches, unwrapped from twice-used aluminum foil. I saw my first water moccasin here, and my first real girl, and being a child of the foot washers I have sometimes wondered if this was my Eden, and my serpent. If it was, I didn't hold out any longer than that first poor fool did.”
Rick Bragg
“I write late into the night at the Tutweiler in downtown Birmingham, and try hard to turn down that second cheeseburger at Milo’s over by UAB, which has the best one in the whole wide world.”
Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
“It is one thing to be sure of yourself. It is another to have someone tell you to quit dancing, look them in the eye, and tell them the truth even if it hurts your pride.”
Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
“He crashed a dozen Cadillacs in one year and played the Apollo. With racial hatred burning in the headlines, the audience danced in the seats to a white boy from the bottomland, backed by pickers who talked like Ernest Tubb. “James Brown kissed me on my cheek,” he says. “Top that.”
Rick Bragg, Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story: His Own Story by Rick Bragg
“He spent two decades wandering the wilderness, overmedicated, set upon by the tax man, divorce lawyers, everything but a rain of toads. There were more fights and pills and liquor and car crashes and women and discharge of firearms—accidental and on purpose—than a mortal man could be expected to survive, but he played.”
Rick Bragg, Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story: His Own Story by Rick Bragg

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