Fear of Flying Quotes

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Fear of Flying Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
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Fear of Flying Quotes Showing 1-30 of 87
“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“It was easy enough to kill yourself in a fit of despair. It was easy enough to play the martyr. It was harder to do nothing. To endure your life. To wait.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“The ultimate sexist put-down: the prick which lies down on the job. The ultimate weapon in the war between the sexes: the limp prick. The banner of the enemy's encampment: the prick at half-mast. The symbol of the apocalypse: the atomic warhead prick which self-destructs. That was the basic inequity which could never be righted: not that the male had a wonderful added attraction called a penis, but that the female had a wonderful all-weather cunt. Neither storm nor sleet nor dark of night could faze it. It was always there, always ready. Quite terrifying, when you think about it. No wonder men hated women. No wonder they invented the myth of female inadequacy.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“It took me years to learn to sit at my desk for more than two minutes at a time, to put up with the solitude and the terror of failure, and the godawful silence and the white paper. And now that I can take it . . . now that I can finally do it . . . I'm really raring to go.

I was in my study writing. I was learning how to go down into myself and salvage bits and pieces of the past. I was learning how to sneak up on the unconscious and how to catch my seemingly random thoughts and fantasies. By closing me out of his world, Bennett had opened all sorts of worlds inside my own head. Gradually I began to realize that none of the subjects I wrote poems about engaged my deepest feelings, that there was a great chasm between what I cared about and what I wrote about. Why? What was I afraid of? Myself, most of all, it seemed.

"Freedom is an illusion," Bennett would have said and, in a way, I too would have agreed. Sanity, moderation, hard work, stability . . . I believed in them too. But what was that other voice inside of me which kept urging me on toward zipless fucks, and speeding cars and endless wet kisses and guts full of danger? What was that other voice which kept calling me coward! and egging me on to burn my bridges, to swallow the poison in one gulp instead of drop by drop, to go down into the bottom of my fear and see if I could pull myself up? Was it a voice? Or was it a thump? Something even more primitive than speech. A kind of pounding in my gut which I had nicknamed my "hunger-thump." It was as if my stomach thought of itself as a heart. And no matter how I filled it—with men, with books, with food—it refused to be still. Unfillable—that's what I was. Nymphomania of the brain. Starvation of the heart.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“We drove to the hotel and said goodbye. How hypocritical to go upstairs with a man you don't want to fuck, leave the one you do sitting there alone, and then, in a state of great excitement, fuck the one you don't want to fuck while pretending he's the one you do. That's called fidelity. That's called monogamy. That's called civilization and its discontents.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“Women are their own worst enemies. And guilt is the main weapon of self-torture . . . Show me a woman who doesn't feel guilty and I'll show you a man.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“I stand in the mist and cry, thinking of myself standing in the mist and crying, and wondering if I will ever be able to use this experience in a book.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“I tried to keep myself away from him by using con words like "fidelity" and "adultery", by telling myself that he would interfere with my work, that I had him I'd be too happy to write. I tried to tell myself I was hurting Bennett, hurting myself, making a spectacle of myself. I was. But nothing helped. I was possessed. The minute he walked into a room and smiled at me, I was a goner.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“The zipless fuck is absolutely pure. It is free of ulterior motives. There is no power game . The man is not "taking" and the woman is not "giving." No one is attempting to cuckold a husband or humiliate a wife. No one is trying to prove anything or get anything out of anyone. The zipless fuck is the purest thing there is. And it is rarer than the unicorn. And I have never had one.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“Life has no plot. It is by far more interesting than anything you can say about it...”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“Though my friends envied me because I always seemed so cheerful and confident, I was secretly terrified of practically everything.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
tags: fear
“There are no atheists on turbulent airplanes.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“There is nothing fiercer than a failed artist. The energy remains, but, having no outlet, it implodes in a great black fart of rage which smokes up all the inner windows of the soul. Horrible as successful artists often are, there is nothing crueler or more vain than a failed artist.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“I had gone to graduate school because I loved literature, but in graduate school you were not supposed to study literature. You were supposed to study criticism. Some professor wrote a book 'proving' that TOM JONES was really a Marxist parable. Some other professor wrote a book 'proving' that TOM JONES was really a Christian parable. Some other professor wrote a book 'proving' that TOM JONES was really a parable of the Industrial Revolution. . . . Nobody seemed to give a shit about your reading TOM JONES as long as you could reel off the names of the various theories and who invented them. . . . My response was to sleep through as much of it as possible. ”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“Women are their own worst enemies. And guilt is the main weapon of self-torture…Show me a woman who doesn’t feel guilty and I’ll show you a man.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“Any system was a straightjacket if you insisted on adhering to it so totally and humorlessly.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“I find myself wondering how many other memories are hidden from me in the recesses of my own brain; indeed my own brain will seem to be the last great terra incognita, and I will be filled with wonder at the prospect of some day discovering new worlds there. Imagine the lost continent of Atlantis and all the submerged islands of childhood right there waiting to be found. The inner space we have never adequately explored. The worlds within worlds within worlds. And the marvelous thing is that they are waiting for us. If we fail to discover them, it is only because we haven't yet built the right vehicle - spaceship or submarine or poem - which will take us to them.
It's for this, partly, that I write. How can I know what I think unless I see what I write? My writing is the submarine or spaceship which takes me to the unknown worlds within my head. And the adventure is endless and inexhaustible. If I learn to build the right vehicle, then I can discover even more territories. And each new poem is a new vehicle, designed to delve a little deeper (or fly a little higher) than the one before.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“All natural disasters are comforting because they reaffirm our impotence, in which, otherwise, we might stop believing. At times it is strangely sedative to know the extent of your own powerlessness.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“What all the ads and whorescopes seemed to imply was that if only you took proper care of your smells, your hair, your boobs, your eyelashes, your armpits, your crotch, your stars, your scars, your choice of Scotch in bars - you would meet a beautiful powerful, potent, and rich man who would satisfy every longing, fill every hole, make your heart skip a beat (or stand still), make you misty, and fly you to the moon (preferably on gossamer wings), where you would live totally satisfied forever.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“I see the whole episode in my memory as if it were a very crisply photographed black and white movie. Directed by Bergman perhaps.We are playing ourselves in the movie version. If only we could escape from always having to play ourselves !”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“But what was so great about marriage? I had been married and married. It had its good points, but it also had its bad. The virtues of marriage were mostly negative virtues. Being unmarried in a man's world was such a hassle that anything had to be better. Marriage was better. But not much. Damned clever, I thought, how men had made life so intolerable for single women that most would gladly embrace even bad marriages instead. Almost anything had to be an improvement on hustling for your own keep at some low-paid job and fighting off unattractive men in your spare time while desperately trying to ferret out the attractive ones. Though I've no doubt that being single is just as lonely for a man, it doesn't have the added extra wallop of being downright dangerous, and it doesn't automatically imply poverty and the unquestioned status of a social pariah.
Would most women get married if they knew what it meant? I think of young women following their husbands wherever their husbands follow their jobs. I think of them suddenly finding themselves miles away from friends and family, I think of them living in places where they can't work, where they can't speak the language. I think of them making babies out of their loneliness and boredom and not knowing why. I think of their men always harried and exhausted from being on the make. I think of them seeing each other less after marriage than before. I think of them falling into bed too exhausted to screw. I think of them farther apart in the first year of marriage than they ever imagined two people could be when they were courting. And then I think of the fantasies starting. He is eyeing the fourteen-year-old postnymphets in bikinis. She covets the TV repairman. The baby gets sick and she makes it with the pediatrician. He is fucking his masochistic little secretary who reads Cosmopolitan and things herself a swinger. Not: when did it all go wrong? But: when was it ever right?
.......
I know some good marriages. Second marriages mostly. Marriages where both people have outgrown the bullshit of me-Tarzan, you-Jane and are just trying to get through their days by helping each other, being good to each other, doing the chores as they come up and not worrying too much about who does what. Some men reach that delightfully relaxed state of affairs about age forty or after a couple of divorces. Maybe marriages are best in middle age. When all the nonsense falls away and you realize you have to love one another because you're going to die anyway.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“Once I worshipped Keats for dying young. Now I think it's braver to die old.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“You don't have to beat a woman if you can make her feel guilty.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“Tears are a form of communication - like speech - and require a listener.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“Yet a man assumes that a woman’s refusal is just part of a game. Or, at any rate, a lot of men assume that. When a man says no, it’s no. When a woman says no, it’s yes, or at least maybe. There is even a joke to that effect. And little by little, women begin to believe in this view of themselves. Finally, after centuries of living under the shadow of such assumptions, they no longer know what they want and can never make up their minds about anything. And men, of course, compound the problem by mocking them for their indecisiveness and blaming it on biology, hormones, premenstrual tension.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“There's nothing good about being ordinary. People don't respect you for it. People run after people who are different, who have confidence in their own taste, who don't run with the herd. There is nothing gained by giving in to the pressures of group vulgarity.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“I quickly learned that a book carefully arranged before your face was a bulletproof shield, an asbestos wall, a cloak of invisibility. I learned to take refuge behind books, to become, as my mother and father called me, 'the absentminded professor-' They screamed at me, but I couldn't hear. I was reading. I was writing. I was safe.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“Somehow the idea of bearing his baby angers me. Let him bear his own baby! If I have a baby I want it to be all mine. A girl like me, but better. A girl who'll also be able to have her own babies. It is not having babies in itself which seems unfair, but having babies for men. Babies who get their names. Babies who lock you by means of love to a man you have to please and serve on pain of abandonment. And love, after all, is the strongest lock. The one that chafes hardest and wears longest. And then I would be trapped for good. The hostage of my own feelings and my own child.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
“We're programmed for suffering, not joy. The masochism is built in at a very early age. You're supposed to work and suffer - and the trouble is: you believe it.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying

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