The Collected Stories Quotes

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The Collected Stories The Collected Stories by Amy Hempel
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The Collected Stories Quotes Showing 1-30 of 49
“We can only die in the future, I thought; right now we are always alive.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“I meet a person, and in my mind I'm saying three minutes; I give you three minutes to show me the spark.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“ I think of the chimp, the one with the talking hands.
In the course of the experiment, that chimp had a baby. Imagine how her trainers must have thrilled when the mother, without prompting, began to sign her newborn.
Baby, drink milk.
Baby, play ball.
And when the baby died, the mother stood over the body, her wrinkled hands moving with animal grace, forming again and again the words: Baby, come hug, Baby come hug, fluent now in the language of grief.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
tags: grief
“if it's true your life flashes past your eyes before you die, then it is also the truth that your life rushes forth when you are ready to start to truly be alive.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“Dreams: the place most of us get what we need.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“I get rational when I panic.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“The worst of it is over now, and I can't say that I am glad. Lose that sense of loss—you have gone and lost something else. But the body moves toward health. The mind, too, in steps. One step at a time. Ask a mother who has just lost a child, How many children do you have? "Four," she will say, "—three," and years later, "Three," she will say, "—four.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“The other day I was playing Scrabble. I saw that I could close the space in D-E- -Y. I had an N and an F. Which do you think I chose? What was the word I made?”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“I thought, my love is so good, why isn't it calling the same thing back.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“Then the children went to bed, or at least went upstairs, and the men joined the women for a cigarette on the porch, absently picking ticks engorged like grapes off the sleeping dogs. And when the men kissed the women good night, and their weekend whiskers scratched the women's cheeks, the women did not think shave, they thought stay.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“It is possible to imagine a person so entirely that the image resists attempts to dislodge it.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“I had my own bed. I slept in it alone, except for those times when we needed—not sex—but sex was how we got there.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“I know that homes burn and that you should think what to save before they start to. Not because, in the heat of it, everything looks as valuable as everything else. But, because nothing looks worth the bother, not even your life.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“I often feel the effects of people only after they leave me.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“He could not wait to get rid of them so he could enjoy remembering them.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“I think you would like Warren. He drinks Courvoisier in a Coke can, and has a laugh like you'd find in a cartoon bubble.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“Look at me. My concerns-are they spiritual, do you think, or carnal? Come on. We've read our Shakespeare.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“The worst of it is over now, and I can't say that I am glad. Lose that sense of loss--you have gone and lost something else.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“In my head there's a broken balcony I fall off of when I speak.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“What I think," Chatty says, "is that if a man loves a woman more than a woman loves a man, then they're even.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“Before I took to the road, a friend tried to get me to go to a department store with him. He said it was to improve the place where I lived. He said," I want to know you are reading beneath this lamp. " This fellow was dying. He knew it and I did not. I think he was tucking me in. He was making sure all of his friends had the right lamps, the comfiest pillows, the softest sheets. He was tucking us all in for the night.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“I told him about the way they get to know you. Not the way people do, the way they flatter you by wanting to know every last thing about you, only it isn't a compliment, it is just efficient, a person getting more quickly to the end of you. Correction - dogs do want to know every last thing about you. They take in the smell of you, they know from the next room, asleep, when a mood settles over you. The difference is there's not an end to it.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“When my mother died, my father's early widowhood gave him social cachet he would not have had if they had divorced. He was a bigger catch for the sorrow attached.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“And I see that not touching for so long was a drive to the beach with the windows rolled up so the waves feel that much colder.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“And it was the first time that I believed the claim that you can help a person more by asking them the right question than by giving them the answer.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“As soon as I knew that I would be all right, I was sure that I was dead and didn't know it. I moved through the days like a severed head that finishes a sentence. I waited for the moment that would snap me out of my seeming life.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“The only time the word baby doesn't scare me is the time that it should, when it is what a man calls me.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“I read about a famous mystery writer who worked for one week in a department store. One day she saw a woman come in and buy a doll. The mystery writer found out the woman’s name, and took a bus to New Jersey to see where the woman lived. That was all. Years later, she referred to this woman as the love of her life. It is possible to imagine a person so entirely that the image resists attempts to dislodge it.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“I like radio personalities, and I like to change lanes. And losing yourself on the freeway is like living at the beach--you're not aware of lapsed time, and suddenly you're there, where it was you were going.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories
“For example, the questions that say, "Would you prefer..." "Would you prefer (a) Answer questions about what you do, (b) Answer questions about what you know, (c) Answer questions about what you think?

My answer is "Depends." But it's not one of the choices. I am having to think in terms of Always, Sometimes, Never.”
Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories

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