Quotes About Toni Morrison

Quotes tagged as "toni-morrison" (showing 1-30 of 35)
Toni Morrison
“I never asked Tolstoy to write for me, a little colored girl in Lorain, Ohio. I never asked [James] Joyce not to mention Catholicism or the world of Dublin. Never. And I don't know why I should be asked to explain your life to you. We have splendid writers to do that, but I am not one of them. It is that business of being universal, a word hopelessly stripped of meaning for me. Faulkner wrote what I suppose could be called regional literature and had it published all over the world. That's what I wish to do. If I tried to write a universal novel, it would be water. Behind this question is the suggestion that to write for black people is somehow to diminish the writing. From my perspective there are only black people. When I say 'people,' that's what I mean.”
Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison
“Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do.”
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison
“She is a friend of my 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."

Sixo”
Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison
“I laughed but before I could agree with the hairdressers that she was crazy, she said, 'What's the world for if you can't make it up the way you want it?'

" 'The way I want it?'

" 'Yeah. The way you want it. Don't you want it to be something more than what it is?'

" 'What'st eh point? I can't change it.'

" 'That's the point. If you don't, it will change you and it'll be your fault cause you let it. I let it. And messed up my life.'

" 'Mess it up how?'

" 'Forgot it.'

" 'Forgot?'

" 'Forgot it was mine. My life. I just ran up and down the streets wishing I was somebody else.”
Toni Morrison, Jazz

Toni Morrison
“It's gonna hurt, now," said Amy. "anything dead coming back to life hurts.”
Toni Morrison

Sean Liburd
“If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.- Toni Morrison”
Sean Liburd

Toni Morrison
“Nobody loved her and she wouldn’t have liked it if they had, she considered love a serious disability.”
Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison
“Black women were armed, black women were dangerous and the less money they had the deadlier the weapon they chose.”
Toni Morrison, Jazz

Toni Morrison
“No gasp at a miracle that is truly miraculous because the magic lies in the fact that you knew it was there for you all along.”
Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison
“Mister was allowed to be and stay what he was. But I wasn't allowed to be and stay what I was [...] School teacher changed me. I was something else and that something else was less than a chicken sitting in the sun on a tub. (Paul D.)”
Toni Morrison, Beloved

Toni Morrison
“Her heart kicked and an itchy burning in her throat made her swallow all her saliva away. She didn't know which way to go.”
Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison
“When I first seed Cholly, I want you to know it was like all the bits of color from that time down home when all us chil'ren went berry picking after a funeral and I put some in the pocket of my Sunday dress, and they mashed up and stained my hips. My whole dress was messed with purple, and it never did wash out. Not the dress nor me. I could feel that purple deep inside me. And that lemonade Mama used to make when Pap came in out the fields. It be cool and yellowish, with seeds floating near the bottom. And that streak of green them june bugs made on the trees the night we left from down home. All of them colors was in me. Just sitting there. So when Cholly come up and tickled my foot, it was like them berries, that lemonade, them streaks of green the june bugs made, all come together. Cholly was thin then, with real light eyes. He used to whistle, and when I heerd him, shivers come on my skin.”
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison
“This notion of rest, it’s attractive to her, but I don’t think she would like it. They are all like that, these women. Waiting for the ease, the space that need not be filled with anything other than the drift of their own thoughts. But they wouldn’t like it. They are busy and thinking of ways to be busier because such a space of nothing pressing to do would knock them down. No fields of cowslips will rush into that opening, nor mornings free of flies and heat when the light is shy. No. Not at all. They fill their mind and hands with soap and repair and dicey confrontations because what is waiting for them, in a suddenly idle moment, is the seep of rage. Molten. Thick and slow-moving. Mindful and particular about what in its path it chooses to bury. Or else, into a beat of time, and sideways under their breasts, slips a sorrow they don’t know where from.”
Toni Morrison, Jazz

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”
Toni Morrisson

Toni Morrison
“Well, it probably won't live. They say the way her mama beat her she lucky to be alive herself.

She be lucky if it don't live. Bound to be the ugliest thing walking.

Can't help but be. Ought to be a law: two ugly people doubling up like that to make more ugly. Be better off in the ground.

Well, I wouldn't worry none. It be a miracle if it live.”
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison
“…he didn’t needs words or even want them because he knew how they could lie, could heat your blood and disappear.”
Toni Morrison, Jazz

Toni Morrison
“Carefully they replaced the soil and covered the entire grave with uprooted grass.
Neither one had spoken a word.”
Toni Morrison, Sula

Toni Morrison
“Nobody gave you to me. Nobody said that’s the one for you. I picked you out. Wrong time, yep, and doing wrong by my wife. But the picking out, the choosing. Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it. I saw you and made up my mind. My mind. And I made up my mind to follow you too.” Joe Trace”
Toni Morrison, Jazz

Toni Morrison
“Violet learned then what she had forgotten until this moment: that laughter is serious. More complicated, more serious than tears.”
Toni Morrison, Jazz

Toni Morrison
“We women, me and you. Tell me something real. Don’t just say I’m grown and ought to know. I don’t. I’m fifty and I don’t know nothing. What about it? Do I stay with him? I want to, I think. I want… well, I didn’t always… now I want. I want some fat in this life.”
“Wake up. Fat or lean, you got just one. This is it.”
“You don’t know either, do you?”
“I know enough to know how to behave.”
“Is that it? Is that all it is?”
“Is that all what is?”
“Oh shoot! Where the grown people? Is it us?”
“Oh, Mama.” Alice Manfred blurted it out and then covered her mouth.
Violet had the same thought: Mama. Mama? Is this where you got to and couldn’t do it no more? The place of shade without trees where you know you are not and never again will be loved by anybody who can choose to do it? Where everything is over but the talking?

- Violet Trace and Alice Manfred”
Toni Morrison, Jazz

Toni Morrison
“I don’t want to be a free nigger; I want to be a free man.”
“Don’t we all. Look. Be what you want--- white or black. Choose. But if you choose black, you got to act black, meaning draw your manhood up—quicklike, and don’t bring me no whiteboy sass.”
Hunter’s Hunter and Godlen Gray”
Toni Morrison, Jazz

Toni Morrison
“He fell for an eighteen-year old girl with one of those deepdown spooky loves that made him so sad and happy he shot her just to keep the feeling going.”
Toni Morrison, Jazz

Toni Morrison
“The girl’s face looks greedy, haughty and very lazy. The cream-at-the-top-of-the-milkpail face of someone who will never work for anything; someone who picks up things lying on other people’s dressers and is not embarrassed when found out. It is the face of a sneak who glides over to your sink to rinse the fork you have laid by her plate. An inward face ---whatever it sees is its own self. You are there, it says, because I am looking at you.”
Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison
“Write at the edges of the day.”
Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison
“But it wasn't all bad. Sometimes things wasn't all bad. He used to come home easing into bed sometimes, not too drunk. I make out like I'm asleep, 'casue it's late, and he taken three dollars out of my pocketbook that morning or something. I hear him breathing, but I don't look around. I can see in my mind's eye his black arms thrown back behind his head, the muscles like a great big peach stones sanded down, with veins running like little swollen rivers down his arms. Without touching him I be feeling those ridges on the tips of my fingers. I sees the palms of his hands calloused to granite, and the long fingers curled up and still. I think about the thick, knotty hair on his chest, and the two big swells his breast muscles make. I want to rub my face hard in his chest and feel the hair cut my skin. I know just where the hair growth slacks out-just above his navel- and how it picks up again and spreads out. Maybe he'll shift a little, and his leg will touch me, or I feel his flank just graze my behind. I don't move even yet. Then he lift his head, turn over, and put his hand on my waist. If I don't move, he'll move his hand over to pull and knead my stomach. Soft and slow-like. I still don't move, because I don't want him to stop. I want to pretend sleep and have him keep rubbing my stomach. Then he will lean his head down and bite my tit. Then I don't want him to rub my stomach anymore. I want him to put his hand between my legs. I pretend to wake up, and turn to him, but not opening my legs. I want him to open them for me. He does, and I be soft and wet where his fingers are strong and hard. I be softer than I ever been before. All my strength in his hand. My brain curls up like wilted leaves. A funny, empty feeling is in my hands. I want to grab holt of something, so I hold his head. His mouth is under my chin. Then I don't want his hands between my legs no more, because I think I am softening away. I stretch my legs open, and he is on top of me. Too heavy to hold, too light not to. He puts his thing in me. In me. In me. I wrap my feet around his back so he can't get away. His face is next to mine. The bed springs sounds like them crickets used to back home. He puts his fingers in mine, and we stretches our arms outwise like Jesus on the cross. I hold tight. My fingers and my feet hold on tight, because everything else is going, going. I know he wants me to come first. But I can't. Not until he does. Not until I feel him loving me. Just me. Sinking into me. Not until I know that my flesh is all that be on his mind. That he couldnt stop if he had to. That he would die rather than take his thing our of me. Of me. Not until he has let go of all he has, and give it to me. To me. To me. When he does, I feel a power. I be strong, I be pretty, I be young. And then I wait. He shivers and tosses his head. Now I be strong enough, pretty enough, and young enough to let him make me come. I take my fingers out of his and put my hands on his behind. My legs drop back onto the bed. I don't make a noise, because the chil'ren might hear. I begin to feel those little bits of color floating up into me-deep in me. That streak of green from the june-bug light, the purple from the berries trickling along my thighs, Mama's lemonade yellow runs sweet in me. Then I feel like I'm laughing between my legs, and the laughing gets all mixed up with the colors, and I'm afraid I'll come, and afraid I won't. But I know I will. And I do. And it be rainbow all inside. And it lasts ad lasts and lasts. I want to thank him, but dont know how, so I pat him like you do a baby. He asks me if I'm all right. I say yes. He gets off me and lies down to sleep. I want to say something, but I don't. I don't want to take my mind offen the rainbow. I should get up and go to the toilet, but I don't. Besides Cholly is asleep with his leg thrown over me. I can't move and I don't want to.”
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison
“If I did I didn't know it. What's it like, velvet?'

'Well, Lu, velvet is like the world was just born. Clean and new and so smooth.”
Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison
“You know, the kind who know Jesus by His first name, but out of politeness never use it even to His face.”
Toni Morrison, Beloved

Toni Morrison
“Rainwater held on to pine needles for dear life and Beloved could not take her eyes off Sethe.”
Toni Morrison, Beloved

Toni Morrison
“Good for you. More it hurt more better it is. Can't nothing heal without pain, you know.”
Toni Morrison, Beloved

Toni Morrison
“Suspended between the nastiness of life and the meanness of the dead, she couldn't get interested in leaving life or living it, let alone the fright of two creeping-off boys. Her past had been like her present—intolerable—and since she knew death was anything but forgetfulness, she used the little energy left her for pondering color.”
Toni Morrison, Beloved

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