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Dana Spiotta quotes (showing 1-30 of 35)

“The issue isn't, Am I good enough? No. The issue is, Do I not have any other choice? Will and desire don't matter. Ability doesn't matter. Need is the only thing that matters.”
Dana Spiotta, Stone Arabia
“Do you need an audience to create work, or does not having an audience liberate you and make you a truer artist?”
Dana Spiotta, Stone Arabia
“I wondered if my life was going to be one immersion after another, a great march of shallow, unpopular popular culture infatuations that don't really last and don't really mean anything. Sometimes I even think maybe my deepest obsessions are just random manifestations of my loneliness or isolation. Maybe I infuse ordinary experience with a kind of sacred aura to mitigate the spiritual vapidity of my life....no, it is beautiful to be enraptured. To be enthralled by something, anything. And it isn't random. It speaks to you for a reason. If you wanted to, you could look at it that way, and you might find you aren't wasting your life. You are discovering things about yourself and the world, even if it is just what you find beautiful, right now, this second.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“Incidentally, if you have never stalked someone close to you, I highly recommend it. Check out how it tranforms them. How other they become, and how infinitely necessary and justified the stalking becomes when you realize how little you know about them, how mysterious every aspect of them seems with an at a distance but close examiniation.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“He pursued a lifetime of abuse that could only come from a warped relationship with the future.”
Dana Spiotta, Stone Arabia
“I'm thinking about past events. I'm interested in recall, exact recall, of what was said, who said it and to whom. I want to know the truth, undistorted by time and revision and wishes and regrets.”
Dana Spiotta
“Memory all to easily accommodates the corruption of regret.”
Dana Spiotta, Stone Arabia
“Have you ever closed your eyes and listened to the sound of your own mother's voice?”
Dana Spiotta
“That is the thing about films. They don't change. You change. The immutability of the film (or a book or a painting or a piece of music) is something to measure yourself against. That is one of the things a great work of art does. It stays there waiting for you to come back to it, and it shows you who you are now, each time a little different.”
Dana Spiotta, Innocents and Others
“I'm turning fifty, and it is just now dawning on me that I have limited time," Nash said. "No kidding. I always felt my life was circumscribed by the finite terms, you know? There is a whole world of things I missed out on and will never experience. Whatever I have done, there is an endless amount I have not done. Do you know what that tells me?"
...
"It tells me it is not meant to be this all-encompassing journey. It is not meant to be catholic or encyclopedic. By now I have carved some grooves in this life. A few. What I need to do is hunker down and make those grooves deep and indelible.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“Why was Will able to buy this cherished object, this marker of some long-past connection between two people, in an antiques store? At some point there had to be an ending, a death or a breakup, and it got tossed in a box to be given away or sold.”
Dana Spiotta, Innocents and Others: A Novel
“The door was open; I stepped in. A ghost town with a ghost theater, yet the former grandness still evident, the gold wallpaper peeling, the velvet seats in attendant rows, though ripped and ruined. Why did I cry? Not because it was a wreck, but because I felt the history.”
Dana Spiotta, Innocents and Others: A Novel
“She discovered, despite what people may imagine, having nothing to lost is a lot like having nothing. (But there was something to lose, even at this point, something huge to lose, and that was why this unknown, homeless state never resembled freedom.)”
Dana Spiotta
“All cultures have naming ceremonies. You have a given name, but then you get a chosen name. It's part of a transformation to adulthood. They tell you who you are, and then you decide who you are. It's like getting confined, or getting married.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“That love seemed to increase their desire to undo the corporations that made them. It used to be you had to make munitions to piss people off. Now it was enough to be large, global and successful. That made it a more radical, systematic critique, Nash thought. And more futile, naturally.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“It smells not of decay but of disappearing, of disintegration. An invisible eating away. But that's not how it works, it doesn't eat away like acid. It gets into the metabolism of things and overstimulates them until they die. It hyper-accelerates growth until the organism is undone. Herbicide, he thinks, is a better word than defoliant, but neither conveys the endless insinuation of the stuff, the occupation. He breathes the dank spray--it's heavy, oily, metallic. It almost doesn't smell, but it clings to you, gets between you and your sweat then sinks into your skin.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“Listening, I reconsidered my earlier despair--no, it is a beautiful thing to be enraptured. To be enthralled by something, anything. And it isn't random. It speaks to you for a reason. If you wanted to, you could look at it that way, and you might find you aren't wasting your life. You are discovering things about yourself and the world, even if it is just what it is you find beautiful, right now, this second.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“We identify ourselves by what moves us.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“And if I am comfortable with it, why do I still call it loneliness? Because--and I think somehow she would understand this--you can have and recognize a sadness in your alienation and in other people's alienation and still not long to be around anyone. I think that if you wonder about other people's loneliness, or contemplate it at all, you've got a real leg up on being comfortable on your own.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“Faintly, barely, she told herself maybe no one cared about what she had done. She was like John Dean, who described himself to the press as just a 'speck in the cosmos.' That was deeply reassuring, and it was also her worst fear. Time just went by.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“The repetition of the days did something to you. You knew the monotony, but you couldn't fight it. You had to invent your own repetitions to meet it. A ritual. This early, barely awake kneeling was hers.
She looked deep into the black of her closed eyes. Stared into the dark. When your sense of vision has very little stimulation, it invents images. Sarah doesn't know the name for this is the Prisoner's Cinema. It is a trick of the mind, blindness turned into glorious sight. Isolation turned into hallucination. After enough time, she saw a series of lights. The false images are called phosphenes, which means "show of lights." But all Sarah knew was that it gave her vibrant colors of great depth, and patterns like a mosaic, like a tiled church floor or sometimes like the spiral of a shell. These visions would not absolve her of her time, her duty, and her deeds. Instead these visions took her through the limits of who she was and what she had done, and for this she felt gratitude, and with this, at last, consolation.”
Dana Spiotta, Innocents and Others
“She believed failure of language belied deeper failings in the counterculture. The names just became more and more divorced from their meanings.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“I am the center of the culture. I am genesis, herald, harbinger. The absolute germinal zero point--that's me. I am the sun around which all the American else orbits. In fact, I am America, I exist more than other Americans. America is the center of the world, and I am the center of America. I am fifteen, while, middle class and male. Middle-aged men and women scurry for my attention. What Internet sites I visit. What I buy. What my desires are. What movies I watch. What and who I want; when and how I want it. People get paid a lot of money to think of how to get to me and mine.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“That was his answer; he actually said that to her, and she knew right away it was a lie. Everyone knows what's true: you make the world a better place tan you found it or you make it worse. Anyone who tells you that isn't so is just making an excuse for his own inaction. At twelve she vowed herself never to feel comfortable in the face of things obviously unfair and not right.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“And finally she wanted to tell him that the world offered horrendous terms, a terrible, huge price was paid in actual suffering, and if you didn't try to change that or mitigate that, your life was indefensible, wasn't it?”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“And it wasn't intended to be violent. It was just destructive. Of stuff. For a purpose. Like the Kerrigan brothers said, some property doesn't have a right to exist.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“Then she thought: It never happened. She would never speak of it, or let herself think of it, ever. She was quite certain that you could change your past, change the facts, by will alone. Only memory makes it real. So eliminate the memory.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“Time lessens everything--the good things you desperately want to remember, and the awful things you need to forget. Eventually all will be equally faint.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document
“An arm moving, a person kneeling to shoot in a uniform. It wasn’t, of course, re-creating that day in 1970. The “real” feeling came from using film that reminded us of that day. So her reenactments used the materials—the look—of the collective memory.”
Dana Spiotta, Innocents and Others: A Novel
“She started to wonder if he had been right in the first place, that denying the complexity of the world made you as bad as they are. Even if you do act, you may be guilty of the wrong motive--vanity, or self-righteousness.”
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document

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