Margaret Atwood, fully Margaret Eleanor Atwood

Margaret
Atwood, fully Margaret Eleanor Atwood
1939

Canadian Author, Poet, Critic, Essayist and Environmental Activist

Author Quotes

You refuse to own yourself; you permit others to do it for you

You should not be sad, he said, gazing at me with his melancholy, leathery walrus eyes. It must be the love. But you are young and pretty, you will have time to be sad later. The French are connoisseurs of sadness, they know all the kinds. This is why they have bidets. It is criminal, the love, he said, patting my shoulder. But none is worse.?

You shouldn't do that, said Laura. You could set yourself on fire.

You think I'm not a goddess? Try me. This is a torch song. Touch me and you'll burn.

You wake up filled with dread. There seems no reason for it. Morning light sifts through the window, there is birdsong, you can't get out of bed. It's something about the crumpled sheets hanging over the edge like jungle foliage, the terry slippers gaping their dark pink mouths for your feet, the unseen breakfast--some of it in the refrigerator you do not dare to open--you will not dare to eat. What prevents you? The future. The future tense, immense as outer space. You could get lost there. No. Nothing so simple. The past, its density and drowned events pressing you down, like sea water, like gelatin filling your lungs instead of air. Forget all that and let's get up. Try moving your arm. Try moving your head. Pretend the house is on fire and you must run or burn. No, that one's useless. It's never worked before. Where is it coming form, this echo, this huge No that surrounds you, silent as the folds of the yellow curtains, mute as the cheerful Mexican bowl with its cargo of mummified flowers? (You chose the colors of the sun, not the dried neutrals of shadow. God knows you've tried.) Now here's a good one: you're lying on your deathbed. You have one hour to live. Who is it, exactly, you have needed all these years to forgive?

You want the truth, of course. You want me to put two and two together. But two and two doesn?t necessarily get you the truth. Two and two equals a voice outside the window. Two and two equals the wind. The living bird is not its labeled bones.

You wonder about her crime. She was condemned to death for stealing clothes from her employer, from the wife of her employer. She wished to make herself more beautiful. This desire in servants was not legal.

Young girls have such sweet tooths. Or is that sweet teeth?

Your friend is intellectually honorable, Jimmy's mother would say. He doesn't lie to himself.

Your hand is a warm stone I hold between two words.

Your righteous eyes, your laconic trigger-fingers people the streets with villains: as you move, the air in front of you blossoms with targets and you leave behind you a heroic

You're dead, Cordelia.' No I'm not. 'Yes you are. You're dead. Lie down.

You're not my real parents, every child has thought. I'm not your real child. But with orphans, it's true. What freedom, to thumb your nose authentically!

You're sad because you're sad. It's psychic. It's the age. It's chemical. Go see a shrink or take a pill, or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll you need to sleep. Well, all children are sad but some get over it. Count your blessings. Better than that, buy a hat. Buy a coat or a pet. Take up dancing to forget.

Whatever is silenced will clamor to be heard, though silently.

When you alter yourself, the alterations become the truth...

While in a vintage restaurant...the past isn't quaint while you're in it. Only at a safe distance, later, when you see it as decor, not as the shape your life's been squeezed into.

Without a word she swivels, as if she?s voice activated, as if she?s on little oiled wheels, as if she?s on top of a music box. I resent this grace of hers. I resent her meek head, bowed as if into a heavy wind. But there is no wind.

You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself.

You need a certain amount of nerve to be a writer.

What's dangerous in the hands of the multitudes, he said, with what may or may not have been irony, is safe enough for those whose motives are... Beyond reproach, I said. He nodded gravely. Impossible to tell whether or not he meant it.

When you are in the middle of a story it isn't a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It's only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it, to yourself or to someone else.

Who is to say that prayers have any effect? On the other hand, who is to say they don't? I picture the gods, diddling around on Olympus, wallowing in the nectar and ambrosia and the aroma of burning bones and fat, mischievous as a pack of ten-year-olds with a sick cat to play with and a lot of time on their hands. 'Which prayer shall we answer today?' they ask one another. 'Let's cast the dice! Hope for this one, despair for that one, and while we're at it, let's destroy the life of that woman over there by having sex with her in the form of a crayfish!' I think they pull a lot of their pranks because they're bored.

Without the light, no chance; without the dark, no dance.

You can think clearly only with your clothes on.

Author Picture
First Name
Margaret
Last Name
Atwood, fully Margaret Eleanor Atwood
Birth Date
1939
Bio

Canadian Author, Poet, Critic, Essayist and Environmental Activist