Emily Ding > Emily's Quotes

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  • #1
    John Cheever
    “I've been homesick for countries I've never been, and longed to be where I couldn't be.”
    John Cheever

  • #2
    Annie Proulx
    “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

  • #3
    Louise Erdrich
    “We do know that no one gets wise enough to really understand the heart of another, though it is the task of our life to try.”
    Louise Erdrich, The Bingo Palace

  • #4
    Carson McCullers
    “We are homesick most for the places we have never known.”
    Carson McCullers

  • #5
    W. Somerset Maugham
    “It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched for they are full of the truthless ideal which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real, they are bruised and wounded. It looks as if they were victims of a conspiracy; for the books they read, ideal by the necessity of selection, and the conversation of their elders, who look back upon the past through a rosy haze of forgetfulness, prepare them for an unreal life. They must discover for themselves that all they have read and all they have been told are lies, lies, lies; and each discovery is another nail driven into the body on the cross of life.”
    W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

  • #6
    John Burroughs
    “Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world.”
    John Burroughs, Studies in Nature and Literature

  • #7
    Diane Setterfield
    “I have always been a reader; I have read at every stage of my life, and there has never been a time when reading was not my greatest joy. And yet I cannot pretend that the reading I have done in my adult years matches in its impact on my soul the reading I did as a child. I still believe in stories. I still forget myself when I am in the middle of a good book. Yet it is not the same. Books are, for me, it must be said, the most important thing; what I cannot forget is that there was a time when they were at once more banal and more essential than that. When I was a child, books were everything. And so there is in me, always, a nostalgic yearning for the lost pleasure of books. It is not a yearning that one ever expects to be fulfilled.”
    Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale

  • #8
    Nick Hornby
    “Sentimental music has this great way of taking you back somewhere at the same time that it takes you forward, so you feel nostagic and hopeful all at the same time.”
    Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

  • #9
    Nick Hornby
    “Maybe we all live life at too high a pitch, those of us who absorb emotional things all day, and as mere consequence we can never feel merely content: we have to be unhappy, or ecstatically, head-over-heels happy, and those states are difficult to achieve within a stable, solid relationship.”
    Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

  • #10
    Barbara Kingsolver
    “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”
    Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

  • #11
    Joseph Brodsky
    “For darkness restores what light cannot repair.”
    Joseph Brodsky

  • #12
    Leo Tolstoy
    “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”
    Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God Is Within You

  • #13
    Paulo Coelho
    “This is what we call love. When you are loved, you can do anything in creation. When you are loved, there's no need at all to understand what's happening, because everything happens within you.”
    Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

  • #14
    Bret Easton Ellis
    “The heroin flowing through me, I thought about the last time I saw my father alive. He was drunk and overweight in a restaurant in Beverly Hills, and curling into myself on the bed I thought: What if I had done something that day? I had just sat passively in a restaurant booth as the midday light filled the half-empty dining room, pondering a decision. The decision was: should you disarm him? That was the word I remember: disarm. Should you tell him something that might not be the truth but would get the desired reaction? And what was I going to convince him of, even though it was a lie? Did it matter? Whatever it was, it would constitute a new beginning. The immediate line: You’re my father and I love you. I remember staring at the white tablecloth as I contemplated saying this. Could I actually do it? I didn’t believe it, and it wasn’t true, but I wanted it to be. For one moment, as my father ordered another vodka (it was two in the afternoon; this was his fourth) and started ranting about my mother and the slump in California real estate and how “your sisters” never called him, I realized it could actually happen, and that by saying this I would save him. I suddenly saw a future with my father. But the check came along with the drink and I was knocked out of my reverie by an argument he wanted to start and I simply stood up and walked away from the booth without looking back at him or saying goodbye and then I was standing in sunlight. Loosening my tie as a parking valet pulled up to the curb in the cream-colored 450 SL. I half smiled at the memory, for thinking that I could just let go of the damage that a father can do to a son. I never spoke to him again.”
    Bret Easton Ellis, Lunar Park

  • #15
    Anna Quindlen
    “London has the trick of making its past, its long indelible past, always a part of its present. And for that reason it will always have meaning for the future, because of all it can teach about disaster, survival, and redemption. It is all there in the streets. It is all there in the books.”
    Anna Quindlen, Imagined London: A Tour of the World's Greatest Fictional City

  • #16
    Ralph Waldo Emerson
    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

  • #17
    Thomas Wolfe
    “But why had he always felt so strongly the magnetic pull of home, why had he thought so much about it and remembered it with such blazing accuracy, if it did not matter, and if this little town, and the immortal hills around it, was not the only home he had on earth? He did not know. All that he knew was that the years flow by like water, and that one day men come home again.”
    Thomas Wolfe, You Can't Go Home Again

  • #18
    Thomas Wolfe
    “I have to see a thing a thousand times before I see it once.”
    Thomas Wolfe, You Can't Go Home Again

  • #19
    Toni Morrison
    “There is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up, holding, holding on, this motion, unlike a ship's, smooths and contains the rocker. It's an inside kind--wrapped tight like skin. Then there is the loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive. On its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one's own feet going seem to come from a far-off place.”
    Toni Morrison, Beloved

  • #20
    Gail Carson Levine
    “Daughter, we didn't need your note - or a prince's visit - to tell us you'd done nothing wrong. We know the daughter we raised. We fear for your future, but never for your character. You take our love and our trust wherever you wander.
    Father.”
    Gail Carson Levine, Fairest

  • #21
    J.G. Ballard
    “Tourism is the great soporific. It's a huge confidence trick, and gives people the dangerous idea that there's something interesting in their lives. It's musical chairs in reverse..... All the upgrades in existence lead to the same airports and resort hotels, the same pina colada bullshit. The tourists smile at their tans and their shiny teeth and think they're happy. But the suntans hide who they really are-- salary slaves, with heads full of American rubbish. Travel is the last fantasy the 2oth Century left us, the delusion that going somewhere helps you reinvent yourself.”
    J.G. Ballard, Millennium People

  • #22
    Sarah Manguso
    “When I was twenty-three I began seeing a psychotherapist because I couldn’t bear the idea that, after the end of an affair, all our shared memories might be expunged from the mind of the other, that they might no longer exist outside my own belief they’d happened. I couldn’t accept the possibility of being the only one who would remember everything about those moments as carefully as I tried to remember them. My life, which exists mostly in the memories of the people I’ve known, is deteriorating at the rate of physiological decay. A color, a sensation, the way someone said a single word—soon it will all be gone. In a hundred and fifty years no one alive will ever have known me. Being forgotten like that, entering that great and ongoing blank, seems more like death than death.”
    Sarah Manguso, Ongoingness: The End of a Diary

  • #23
    Sarah Manguso
    “Today was very full, but the problem isn't today. It's tomorrow. I'd be able to recover from today if it weren't for tomorrow. There should be extra days, buffer days, between real days.”
    Sarah Manguso, Ongoingness: The End of a Diary

  • #24
    Sarah Manguso
    “It was a failure of my imagination that made me keep leaving people. All I could see in the world were beginnings and endings: moments to survive, record, and, once recorded, safely forget. I knew I was getting somewhere when I began losing interest in the beginnings and the ends of things. Short tragic love stories that had once interested me no longer did. What interested me was the kind of love to which the person dedicates herself for so long, she no longer remembers quite how it began.”
    Sarah Manguso

  • #25
    Sarah Manguso
    “Perhaps all anxiety might derive from a fixation on moments—an inability to accept life as ongoing.”
    Sarah Manguso, Ongoingness: The End of a Diary

  • #26
    Being born a woman is my awful tragedy. From the moment I was conceived I
    “Being born a woman is my awful tragedy. From the moment I was conceived I was doomed to sprout breasts and ovaries rather than penis and scrotum; to have my whole circle of action, thought and feeling rigidly circumscribed by my inescapable feminity. Yes, my consuming desire to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, bar room regulars--to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording--all is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yet, God, I want to talk to everybody I can as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night...”
    Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

  • #27
    Roman Payne
    “This was how it was with travel: one city gives you gifts, another robs you. One gives you the heart’s affections, the other destroys your soul. Cities and countries are as alive, as feeling, as fickle and uncertain as people. Their degrees of love and devotion are as varying as with any human relation. Just as one is good, another is bad.”
    Roman Payne, Cities & Countries

  • #28
    Christopher  Morley
    “All cities are mad: but the madness is gallant. All cities are beautiful, but the beauty is grim.”
    Christopher Morley

  • #29
    Jane Jacobs
    “Neighborhood is a word that has come to sound like a Valentine. As a sentimental concept, 'neighborhood' is harmful to city planning. It leads to attempts at warping city life into imitations of town or suburban life. Sentimentality plays with sweet intentions in place of good sense.”
    Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

  • #30
    Olivia Laing
    “Hopper’s paintings are full of women like her; women who appear to be in the grips of a loneliness that has to do with gender and unattainable standards of appearance, and that gets increasingly toxic and strangulating with age.”
    Olivia Laing, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone



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