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Ann Patchett quotes (showing 1-30 of 200)

“It makes you wonder. All the brilliant things we might have done with our lives if only we suspected we knew how.”
Ann Patchett, Bel Canto
“Never be so focused on what you're looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.”
Ann Patchett, State of Wonder
“Writing is a job, a talent, but it's also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.”
Ann Patchett, Truth and Beauty
“Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. … It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see.”
Ann Patchett, Bel Canto
tags: art
“Just because things hadn't gone the way I had planned didn't necessarily mean they had gone wrong.”
Ann Patchett, What now?
“Hope is a horrible thing, you know. I don't know who decided to package hope as a virtue because it's not. It's a plague. Hope is like walking around with a fishhook in your mouth and somebody just keeps pulling it and pulling it.”
Ann Patchett, State of Wonder
tags: hope
“You are always someones favorite unfolding story”
Ann Patchett
“Love was action. It came to you. It was not a choice.”
Ann Patchett, Bel Canto
tags: love
“There was such an incredible logic to kissing, such a metal-to-magnet pull between two people that it was a wonder that they found the strength to prevent themselves from succumbing every second. Rightfully, the world should be a whirlpool of kissing into which we sank and never found the strength to rise up again.”
Ann Patchett, Bel Canto
“Reading fiction not only develops our imagination and creativity, it gives us the skills to be alone. It gives us the ability to feel empathy for people we've never met, living lives we couldn't possibly experience for ourselves, because the book puts us inside the character's skin.

Ann Patchett
“I was starting to wonder if I was ready to be a writer, not someone who won prizes, got published and was given the time and space to work, but someone who wrote as a course of life. Maybe writing wouldn't have any rewards. Maybe the salvation I would gain through work would only be emotional and intellectual. Wouldn't that be enough, to be a waitress who found an hour or two hidden in every day to write?”
Ann Patchett, Truth And Beauty
“In this life we love who we love. There were some stories in which facts were very nearly irrelevant.”
Ann Patchett, State of Wonder
tags: love
“The secret is to keep adding voices, adding ideas, and moving things around as you put together your life. If you’re lucky, putting together your life is a process that will last through every single day you’re alive.”
Ann Patchett
“Coming back is the thing that enables you to see how all the dots in your life are connected, how one decision leads you another, how one twist of fate, good or bad, brings you to a door that later takes you to another door, which aided by several detours--long hallways and unforeseen stairwells--eventually puts you in the place you are now.”
Ann Patchett, What now?
“There was no time for kissing but she wanted him to know that in the future there would be. A kiss in so much loneliness was like a hand pulling you up out of the water, scooping you up from a place of drowning and into the reckless abundance of air. A kiss, another kiss.”
Ann Patchett, Bel Canto
“It was never the right time or it was always the right time, depending on how you looked at it.”
Ann Patchett, Bel Canto
“I believe, in my better moments, that there is a plan and things go not the way we want them to but the way they should.”
Ann Patchett
“Whenever I saw her, I felt like I had been living in another country, doing moderately well in another language, and then she showed up speaking English and suddenly I could speak with all the complexity and nuance that I hadn't realized was gone. With Lucy I was a native speaker.”
Ann Patchett, Truth and Beauty
“Listen she said, everything ends, every single relationship you will ever have in your lifetime is going to end.... I'll die, you'll die, you'll get tired of each other. You don't always know how it's going to happen, but it is always going to happen. So stop trying to make everything permanent, it doesn't work. I want you to go out there and find some nice man you have no intention of spending the rest of your life with. You can be very, very happy with people you aren't going to marry.”
Ann Patchett, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage
“I think people become consumed with selling a book when they need to be consumed with writing it.”
Ann Patchett
“shame should be reserved for the things we choose to do, not the circumstances that life puts on us”
Ann Patchett, Truth and Beauty
“Only a few of us are going to be willing to break our own hearts by trading in the living beauty of imagination for the stark disappointment of words.”
Ann Patchett
“I wanted to eat her pain, take it into me and make it my own.”
Ann Patchett, Patron Saint of Liars
“He believed that life, true life, was something that was stored in music. True life was kept safe in the lines of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin while you went out in the world and met the obligations required of you. Certainly he knew (though did not completely understand) that opera wasn't for everyone, but for everyone he hoped there was something. The records he cherished, the rare opportunities to see a live performance, those were the marks by which he gauged his ability to love.”
Ann Patchett, Bel Canto
“She sang as if she was saving the life of every person in the room.”
Ann Patchett, Bel Canto
“He doesn’t know to want for more because nothing in his life has been as much as this...on that night he thinks that no one has ever had so much and only later will he know he should have asked for more.”
Ann Patchett, Bel Canto
“That is one thing I've learned, that it is possible to really understand things at certain points, and not be able to retain them, to be in utter confusion just a short while later. I used to think that once you really knew a thing, its truth would shine on forever. Now it's pretty obvious to me that more often than not the batteries fade, and sometimes what you knew even goes out with a bang when you try to call on it, just like a lightbulb cracking off when you throw the switch.”
Ann Patchett, Truth and Beauty
“Everyone knows everything eventually.”
Ann Patchett, State of Wonder
“Maybe the private life wasn't forever. Maybe everyone got it for a little while and then spent the rest of their lives remembering.”
Ann Patchett, Bel Canto
“Reading fiction is important. It is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn makes us more empathetic beings. Following complex story lines stretches our brains beyond the 140 characters of sound-bite thinking, and staying within the world of a novel gives us the ability to be quiet and alone, two skills that are disappearing faster than the polar icecaps.”
Ann Patchett

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