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Annie Proulx quotes Showing 1-30 of 175

“You know, one of the tragedies of real life is that there is no background music.”
Annie Proulx
“You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”
Annie Proulx
“I wish I knew how to quit you.”
Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain
“We face up to awful things because we can't go around them, or forget them. The sooner you say 'Yes, it happened, and there's nothing I can do about it,' the sooner you can get on with your own life. You've got children to bring up. So you've got to get over it. What we have to get over, somehow we do. Even the worst things.”
Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
“There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can't fix it you've got to stand it.”
Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain
“And it may be that love sometimes occurs without pain or misery.”
Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
tags: love
“Everybody that went away suffered a broken heart. "I'm coming back some day," they all wrote. But never did. The old life was too small to fit anymore.”
Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
“If you can't fix it, you have to stand it.”
Annie Proulx (Brokeback Mountain)
“We're all strange inside. We learn how to disguise our differences as we grow up.”
Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
“The shirt seemed heavy until he saw there was another shirt inside it, the sleeves carefully worked down inside Jack’s sleeves. It was his own plaid shirt, lost, he’d thought, long ago in some damn laundry, his dirty shirt, the pocket ripped, buttons missing, stolen by Jack and hidden here inside Jack’s own shirt, the pair like two skins, one inside the other, two in one.”
Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain
“You got no fuckin idea how bad it gets. I'm not you. I can't make it on a couple a high-altitude fucks once or twice a year. You're too much for me, Ennis, you son of a whoreson bitch. I wish I knew how to quit you.”
Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain
“... there are four women in every man’s heart. The Maid in the Meadow, the Demon Lover, the Stouthearted Woman, the Tall and Quiet Woman.”
Annie Proulx
“A spinning coin, still balanced on its rim, may fall in either direction.”
Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
“Late in the afternoon, thunder growling, that same old green pickup rolled in and he saw Jack get out of the truck, beat up Resistol tilted back. A hot jolt scalded Ennis and he was out on the landing pulling the door closed behind him. Jack took the stairs two and two. They seized each other by the shoulders, hugged mightily, squeezing the breath out of each other, saying, son of a bitch, son of a bitch, then, and easily as the right key turns the lock tumblers, their mouths came together, and hard, Jack’s big teeth bringing blood, his hat falling to the floor, stubble rasping, wet saliva welling, and the door opening and Alma looking out for a few seconds at Ennis’s straining shoulders and shutting the door again and still they clinched, pressing chest and groin and thigh and leg together, treading on each other’s toes until they pulled apart to breathe and Ennis, not big on endearments, said what he said to his horses and his daughters, little darlin.”
Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain
“It takes a year, nephew... a full turn of the calendar, to get over losing someone.”
Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
“The old forests are going and once they are gone we will have to wait a thousand years or more to see their like. Though nothing will be allowed such a generous measure of time to grow.”
Annie Proulx, Barkskins
“Anyway, there's something wrong with everybody and it's up to you to know what you can handle.”
E. Annie Proulx, Close Range
“He pressed his face into the fabric and breathed in slowly through his mouth and nose, hoping for the faintest smoke and mountain sage and salty sweet stink of Jack but there was no real scent, only the memory of it, the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain of which nothing was left but what he held in his hands.”
Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain
“What I find to be very bad advice is the snappy little sentence, 'Write what you know.' It is the most tiresome and stupid advice that could possibly be given. If we write simply about what we know we never grow. We don't develop any facility for languages, or an interest in others, or a desire to travel and explore and face experience head-on. We just coil tighter and tighter into our boring little selves. What one should write about is what interests one.”
Annie Proulx
“Nothing ended, nothing begun, nothing resolved.”
Annie Proux, Brokeback Mountain
“What Jack remembered and craved in a way he could neither help nor understand was the time that distant summer on Brokeback when Ennis had come up behind him and pulled him close, the silent embrace satisfying some shared and sexless hunger. They had stood that way for a long time in front of the fire, its burning tossing ruddy chunks of light, the shadow of their bodies a single column against the rock. The minutes ticked by from the round watch in Ennis's pocket, from the sticks in the fire settling into coals. Stars bit through the wavy heat layers above the fire. Ennis's breath came slow and quiet, he hummed, rocked a little in the sparklight and Jack leaned against the steady heartbeat, the vibrations of the humming like faint electricity and, standing, he fell into sleep that was not sleep but something else drowsy and tranced until Ennis, dredging up a rusty but still useable phrase from the childhood time before his mother died, said, "Time to hit the hay, cowboy. I got a go. Come on, you're sleepin on your feet like a horse," and gave Jack a shake, a push, and went off in the darkness. Jack heard his spurs tremble as he mounted, the words "see you tomorrow," and the horse's shuddering snort, grind of hoof on stone. Later, that dozy embrace solidified in his memory as the single moment of artless, charmed happiness in their separate and difficult lives. Nothing marred it, even the knowledge that Ennis would not then embrace him face to face because he did not want to see nor feel that it was Jack he held. And maybe, he thought, they'd never get much farther that that. Let be, let be.”
Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain
“... and if you can't fix it you've got to stand it.”
E. Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain
“Was love then like a bag of assorted sweets passed around from which one might choose more than once? Some might sting the tongue, some invoke night perfume. Some had centers as bitter as gall, some blended honey and poison, some were quickly swallowed. And among the common bull's-eyes and peppermints a few rare ones; one or two with deadly needles at the heart, another that brought clam and gentle pleasure. Were his fingers closing on that one?”
Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
“Their silence comfortable. Something unfolding. But what? Not love, which wrenched and wounded. Not love, which came only once.”
Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
tags: love
“You stand there, braced. Cloud shadows race over the buff rock stacks as a projected film, casting a queasy, mottled ground rash. The air hisses and it is no local breeze but the great harsh sweep of wind from the turning of the earth. The wild country--indigo jags of mountain, grassy plain everlasting, tumbled stones like fallen cities, the flaring roll of sky--provokes a spiritual shudder. It is like a deep note that cannot be heard but is felt, it is like a claw in the gut...
...Other cultures have camped here a while and disappeared. Only earth and sky matter. Only the endlessly repeated flood of morning light. You begin to see that God does not owe us much beyond that.”
Annie Proulx, Close Range
“One of the tragedies of real life is that there is no background music.”
Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
“All the travelin I ever done is going around the coffeepot looking for the handle.”
Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain
“For if Jack Buggit could escape from the pickle jar, if a bird with a broken neck could fly away, what else might be possible? Water may be older than light, diamonds crack in hot goat's blood, mountaintops give off cold fire, forests appear in mid-ocean, it may happen that a crab is caught with the shadow of a hand on its back, and that the wind be imprisoned in a bit of knotted string. And it may be that love sometimes occurs without pain or misery.”
Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
“What we fear we often rage against.”
Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
“I would rather be dead than not read”
Annie Proulx

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The Shipping News The Shipping News
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Brokeback Mountain Brokeback Mountain
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Close Range Close Range
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