Southerners Quotes

Quotes tagged as "southerners" Showing 1-30 of 53
Maureen Johnson
“I decided to deflect her attitude by giving a long, Southern answer. I come from people who know how to draw things out. Annoy a Southerner, and we will drain away the moments of your life with our slow, detailed replies until you are nothing but a husk of your former self and that much closer to death.”
Maureen Johnson, The Name of the Star

Susan Sontag
“Every culture has its southerners -- people who work as little as they can, preferring to dance, drink, sing brawl, kill their unfaithful spouses; who have livelier gestures, more lustrous eyes, more colorful garments, more fancifully decorated vehicles, a wonderful sense of rhythm, and charm, charm, charm; unambitious, no, lazy, ignorant, superstitious, uninhibited people, never on time, conspicuously poorer (how could it be otherwise, say the northerners); who for all their poverty and squalor lead enviable lives -- envied, that is, by work-driven, sensually inhibted, less corruptly governed northerners. We are superior to them, say the northerners, clearly superior. We do not shirk our duties or tell lies as a matter of course, we work hard, we are punctual, we keep reliable accounts. But they have more fun than we do ... They caution[ed] themselves as people do who know they are part of a superior culture: we mustn't let ourselves go, mustn't descend to the level of the ... jungle, street, bush, bog, hills, outback (take your pick). For if you start dancing on tables, fanning yourself, feeling sleepy when you pick up a book, developing a sense of rhythm, making love whenever you feel like it -- then you know. The south has got you.”
Susan Sontag, The Volcano Lover: A Romance

Natalie Goldberg
“No matter what a person does to cover up and conceal themselves, when we write and lose control, I can spot a person from Alabama, Florida, South Carolina a mile away even if they make no exact reference to location. Their words are lush like the land they come from, filled with nine aunties, people named Bubba. There is something extravagant and wild about what they have to say — snakes on the roof of a car, swamps, a delta, sweat, the smell of sea, buzz of an air conditioner, Coca-Cola — something fertile, with a hidden danger or shame, thick like the humidity, unspoken yet ever-present.

Often when a southerner reads, the members of the class look at each other, and you can hear them thinking, gee, I can't write like that. The power and force of the land is heard in the piece. These southerners know the names of what shrubs hang over what creek, what dogwood flowers bloom what color, what kind of soil is under their feet.

I tease the class, "Pay no mind. It's the southern writing gene. The rest of us have to toil away.”
Natalie Goldberg

Eudora Welty
“Southerners love a good tale. They are born reciters, great memory retainers, diary keepers, letter exchangers . . . great talkers.”
Eudora Welty

Margaret Mitchell
“[Yankees] are pretty much like southerners except with worse manners, of course, and terrible accents.”
Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

Richard Ford
“She said that it was a mistake to have made as few superficial friends as I have done in my life, and to have concentrated only on the few things I have concentrated on--her, for one. My children, for another. Sportswriting and being an ordinary citizen. This did not leave me well enough armored for the unexpected, was her opinion. She said this was because I didn't know my parents very well, had gone to a military school, and grown up in the south, which was full of betrayers and secret-keepers and untrustworthy people, which I agree is true, though I never knew any of them.”
Richard Ford, The Sportswriter

“A determined Yankee book drummer once told a Southerner that 'a set of books on scientific agriculture' would teach him to 'farm twice as good as you do.' To which the Southerner replied: 'Hell, son, I don't farm half as good as I know how now.”
Grady McWhiney, Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South

William Faulkner
“Only Southerners have taken horsewhips and pistols to editors about the treatment or maltreatment of their manuscript. This--the actual pistols--was in the old days, of course, we no longer succumb to the impulse. But it is still there, within us.”
William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

“The past that Southerners are forever talking about is not a dead past--it is a chapter from the legend that our kinfolks have told us, it is a living past, living for a reason. The past is a part of the present, it is a comfort, a guide, a lesson.”
Ben Robertson, Red Hills and Cotton

Tom Robbins
“Jerusalem was capital of southern Israel, known then as Judah. Isn't it true that there's always a rivalry between north and south? North and South Korea, North and South Vietnam, Northern and Southern Ireland, Yankees and Rebels, uptown and downtown. Somebody please tell me why that is? Maybe southerners get too much sun, like Mr. Sock over there, frying his threads, and northerners don't get enough (although I hardly think northern Israel a cool spot in the shade), but southern peoples--tropical and downtown types--always seem to lean toward decadence, whereas uptown, in the north, progress is favored. Decadence and progress obviously are at odds.”
Tom Robbins, Skinny Legs and All

“Well, Southerners like to eat well. You see, it's an event when it's done right.”
Stan Shaw

Wilton Barnhardt
“Southerners. Such literate, civilized folk, such charm and cleverness and passion for living, such genuine interest in people, all people, high and low, white and black, and yet how often it had come to, came to, was still coming to vicious incomprehension, usually over race but other things too - religion, class, money. How often the lowest elements had burst out of the shadows and hollers, guns and torches blazing, galloping past the educated and tolerant as nightriders, how often the despicable had run riot over the better Christian ideals... how often cities had burned, people had been strung up in trees, atrocities had been permitted to occur and then, in the seeking of justice for those outrages, how slippery justice had proven, how delayed its triumph. Oh you expect such easily obtained violence in the Balkans or among Asian or African tribal peoples centuries-deep in blood feuds, but how was there such brutality and wickedness in this place of church and good intention, a place of immense friendliness and charity and fondness for the rituals of family and socializing, amid the nation's best cooking and best music... how could one place contain the other place?”
Wilton Barnhardt, Lookaway, Lookaway

“It is a great comfort to a rambling people to know that somewhere there is a permanent home--perhaps it is the most final of the comforts they ever really know.”
Ben Robertson, Red Hills and Cotton

Frances Mayes
“Growing up in Fitzgerald, I lived in an intense microcosm, where your neighbor knows what you're going to do even before you do, where you can recognize a family gene pool by the lift of an eyebrow, or the length of a neck, or a way of walking. What is said, what is left to the imagination, what is denied, withheld, exaggerated-all these secretive, inverted things informed my childhood. Writing the stories that I found in the box, I remember being particularly fascinated by secrets kept in order to protect someone from who you are. That protection, sharpest knife in the drawer, I absorbed as naturally as a southern accent. At that time, I was curious to hold up to the light glimpses of the family that I had so efficiently fled. We were remote-back behind nowhere-when I was growing up, but even so, enormous social change was about to crumble foundations. Who were we, way far South? "We're south of everywhere," my mother used to lament.”
Frances Mayes, Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir

Sally Mann
“The proverbial hospitality of the South may be selectively extended but it is not a myth.”
Sally Mann, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs

“I am often asked “Why do Southerners still care about the Civil War?”… Because it is unique in the American experience. Defeat was total, surrender unconditional and the land still occupied.”
Tim Heaton

“We have been told to ask about everything: Will it leave us free?”
Ben Robertson, Red Hills and Cotton

Karen   White
“. . .I've been the sheriff here for about five years now, and I'm surprised we haven't met."

"She's been gone awhile--out to California," Trip explained.

The Sheriff nodded, replacing his hat,"Sorry to hear that.”
Karen White, A Long Time Gone

Rick Perlstein
“I think the people from Mississippi ought to come to Chicago to learn how to hate." Martin Luther King, Jr. after the violent reception he received in Chicago in 1966.”
Rick Perlstein, Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America

Vicki Covington
“Wasting talent is a sin. I’m not big on sin, but I know a sin when I see one staring me in the face. I’m not big on sin, but I know a sin when I see one staring me in the face. It’s just not courteous to not use or wear something that somebody’s given you as a well-meaning gift. It goes against Southern ways, not that God is Southern by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think He expects us to be an example for the rest of the country, as far as manners go.”
Vicki Covington, Bird of Paradise

Pat Conroy
“Southerners had a long tradition of looking for religious significance in even the most humble forms of nature, and I always preferred the explanations of folklore to the icy interpretations of science.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

“If the least thing goes wrong with a saddle, or clothes, or a boot, you cannot find a soul to make repairs, and the other day a cobbler answered us, 'Yes, that's right, I'm a shoemaker, and sometimes I work, but I'm not in the mood right now.”
Louis-Philippe, Journal de mon voyage d'Amérique

Colson Whitehead
“He had met this sort of white man before, earnest and believing what came out of their mouths. The veracity of their words was another matter, but at least they believed them. The southern white man was spat from the loins of the devil and there was no way to forecast his next evil act.”
Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad

Michael Lee West
“The first time I saw my father-in-law's cotton, I though of the Original Sin, gardening being the root of the South's downfall.”
Michael Lee West, She Flew the Coop: A Novel Concerning Life, Death, Sex and Recipes in Limoges, Louisiana

Jaguar Jonez
“We stared at each other in silence until she looked away. I won. I always won, because I had my daddy’s eyes and she could only stare for so long, without looking away. I had my own ways of getting to Baby-Sweet.”
Jaguar Jonez, Dem Country Girls Love Hard: Everybody Starts Off With A Clean Slate

Maya Angelou
“Despite the sarcastic remarks of Northerners, who don't know the region (read Easterners, Westerners, North Easterners, North Westerners, Midwesterners), the South of the United States can be so impellingly beautiful that sophisticated creature comforts diminish in importance.”
Maya Angelou, Gather Together in My Name

James Baldwin
“The South is very beautiful but its beauty makes one sad because the lives that people live, and have lived here, are so ugly that now they cannot even speak to one another. It does not demand much reflection to be appalled at the inevitable state of mind achieved by people who dare not speak freely about those things which most disturb them.”
James Baldwin, Collected Essays: Notes of a Native Son / Nobody Knows My Name / The Fire Next Time / No Name in the Street / The Devil Finds Work / Other Essays

Gary Shteyngart
“Folks had draped strange flags over their iron porticoes with drawings of pineapples and the word WELCOME. The South was like that, festive but impenetrable.”
Gary Shteyngart, Lake Success

“The American South is an authentic American Culture. Maybe the last. The north is just a Casserole Culture – a tasteless vat of leftovers, frozen peas and stale crumbs.”
Tim Heaton, The Southerners Guide to Surviving New York City: For Gentlepersons of All Civilized Countries.

“Why, she's as mild as a flower! She ain't hurt nobody! Now git in the kitchen and git some chicory!”
Toni Orrill

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