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Words

A selection of quotes I have collected along my literary and lyrical travels…

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The basic reason why I do not get a job is that I have an inherent disillusion about market-favourable jobs. Or one might say, I have a blindness about the business of making money.

— Chittaprosad, 1960, Letters

…not being able to work is a painful situation, the pain of not being able to give oneself.

— Chittoprosad, 1953, Letters

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

I have to conclude that fiction is better at “the truth” than a factual record. Why this should be so is a very large subject and one I don’t begin to understand.

— Doris Lessing

What is terrible is that after every one of the phases of my life is finished, I am left with no more than some banal commonplace that everyone knows: in this case, that women’s emotions are all still fitted for a kind of society that no longer exists. My deep emotions, my real ones, are to do with my relationship with a man. One man. But I don’t live that kind of life, and I know few women who do. So what I feel is irrelevant and silly…I am always coming to the conclusion that my real emotions are foolish, I am always having, as it were, to cancel myself out. I ought to be like a man, caring more for my work than for people; I ought to put my work first, and take men as they come, or find an ordinary comfortable man for bread and butter reasons—but I won’t do it, I can’t be like that…

— Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

And history is vitally important because perhaps as much as, if not more than biology, the past owns us and however much we think we can, we cannot escape it. If you only knew how close you are to people who seem so far from you … it would astonish you. ‘Also, it’s a way of honouring those who came before us. We can tell their stories. Wouldn’t you want someone to tell your story? Ultimately, it’s the best proof there is that we mattered. And what else is life from the time you were born but a struggle to matter, at least to someone?

— Eliot Perlman, The Street Sweepers

There were times when the pressure to achieve happiness felt almost oppressive, as if happiness were something that everyone should and could attain, and that any sort of compromise in its pursuit was somehow your fault.

— Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

“I think it means,” I say, “that chance encounters are what keep us going. In simple terms.”

— Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
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