Words

I am an avid collector of words that hold meaning to me. This is a selection of what I have collected so far.

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We are reminded of the old Persian curse: “May your every desire be immediately fulfilled.”

— The Te of Piglet

I do it for the joy it brings
Because I’m a joyful girl
Because the world owes me nothing
And we owe each other the world

— Ani Di Franco, Joyful Girl, Dilate

I am a poster girl with no poster

— Ani Di Franco, 32 Flavours, Not A Pretty Girl

She reminded me of a warning I was fond of repeating: do not, under any circumstances, belittle a work of fiction by trying to turn it into a carbon copy of real life; what we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth.

— Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

For a brief time we experienced collectively the kind of awful beauty that can only be grasped through extreme anguish and expressed through art.

— Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

I am struck by a sudden thought: memories have ways of becoming independent of the reality they evoke. They can soften us against those we were deeply hurt by or they can make us resent those we once accepted and loved unconditionally.

— Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

“What a beautiful name,” Kimberly said. “Does it mean anything? I love multicultural names because they have such wonderful meanings, from wonderful rich cultures.” Kimberly was smiling the kindly smile of people who thought “culture” the unfamiliar colourful reserve of colourful people, a word that always had to be qualified with “rich”. She would not think Norway had a “rich culture”.

— Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Americanah

Women are the cowards they are because they have been semi-slaves for so long. The number of women prepared to stand up for what they really think, feel, experience with a man they are in love with is still small.

— Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook (Introduction)

During the last year, reading these stories, these novels, in which there might be an occasional paragraph, a sentence, a phrase, of truth; I’ve been forced to acknowledge that the flashes of genuine art are all out of deep, suddenly stark, undisguisable private emotion.

— Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

She was thinking: If someone cracks up, what does that mean? At what point does a person about to fall to pieces say: I’m cracking up? And if I were to crack up, what form would it take?

— Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
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