Margaret Atwood, fully Margaret Eleanor Atwood

Margaret
Atwood, fully Margaret Eleanor Atwood
1939

Canadian Author, Poet, Critic, Essayist and Environmental Activist

Author Quotes

Where do the words go when we have said them?

Why do men want to kill the bodies of other men? Women don't want to kill the bodies of other women, by and large. As far as we know. Here are some traditional reasons: Loot. Territory. Lust for power. Hormones. Adrenaline high. Rage. God. Flag. Honor. Righteous anger. Revenge. Oppression. Slavery. Starvation. Defense of one's life. Love; or, a desire to protect the women and children. From what? From the bodies of other men. What men are most afraid of is not lions, not snakes, not the dark, not women. Not anymore. What men are most afraid of is the body of another man. Men's bodies are the most dangerous thing on earth.

Women, and what went on under their collars. Hotness and coldness, coming and going in the strange musky flowery variable-weather country inside their clothes -- mysterious, important, uncontrollable. That was his father's take on things. But men's body temperatures were never dealt with; they were never even mentioned.

You can't execute me twice.

When I saw that, the evidence left by two people, of love or something like it, desire at least, at least touch, between two people now perhaps old or dead, I covered the bed again and lay down on it. I looked up at the blind plaster eye in the ceiling. I wanted to feel Luke lying beside me. I have them, these attacks of the past, like faintness, a wave sweeping over my head. Sometimes it can hardly be borne. What is to be done, what is to be done, I thought. There is nothing to be done. They also serve who only stand and wait. Or lie down and wait. I know why the glass in the window is shatterproof, and why they took down the chandelier. I wanted to feel Luke lying beside me, but there wasn't room.

Where I am is not a prison but a privilege, as Aunt Lydia said, who is in love with either/or.

Why does the mind do such things? Turn on us, rend us, dig the claws in. If you get hungry enough, they say, you start eating your own heart. Maybe it's much the same.

Writing is work. It?s also gambling. You don?t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ?essentially you?re on your own. ?Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don?t whine.

You can't help what you feel, but you can help how you behave.

When I was sixteen, it was simple. Poetry existed; therefore it could be written; and nobody had told me ? yet ? the many, many reasons why it could not be written by me.

Where there's a doctor it's always a bad sign. Even when they are not doing the killing themselves it means a death is close, and in that way they are like ravens or crows.

Why hyphenate, why parenthesize, unless absolutely necessary?

Writing of the narrative kind, and perhaps all writing, is motivated deep down, by a fear or and fascination with mortality - by a desire to make the risky trip to the underworld and to bring something or someone back from the dead.

You can't keep a cool head when you're drowning in love. You just thrash around a lot and scream, and wear yourself out.

When I was younger I used to think that if I could hug myself tight enough I could make myself smaller, because there was never enough room for me, at home or anywhere, but if I was smaller than I would fit in.

Where to start is the problem, because nothing begins when it begins and nothing's over when it's over, and everything needs a preface: a preface, a postscript, a chart of simultaneous events.

Why is it he feels some line has been crossed, some boundary transgressed? How much is too much, how far is too far?

Writing poetry is a state of free float.

You could tell a lot about a person from their fridge magnets, not that he'd thought much about them at the time.

When I was younger, imagining age, I would think, Maybe you appreciate things more when you don't have much time left. I forgot to include the loss of energy. Some days I do appreciate things more, eggs, flowers, but then I decide I'm only having an attack of sentimentality, my brain going pastel Technicolor, like a beautiful-sunset greeting cards they used to make so many of in California. High-gloss hearts.

Where was the threshold, between the inner world and the outer one? We each move unthinkingly through this gateway every day, we use the passwords of grammar--I say, you say, he and she, it, on the other hand, does not say--paying for the privilege of sanity with common coin, with meanings we've agreed on.

Why is it that we want so badly to memorialize ourselves? Even while we're still alive. we wish to assert our existence, like dogs peeing on fire hydrants. we put on display our framed photographs, our parchment diplomas, our silver-plated cups; we monogram our linen, we carve our names on trees, we scrawl them on washroom walls. It's all the same impulse; what do we hope from it? Applause, envy, respect? Or simply attention, of any kind we can get? At the very least we want a witness. We can't stand the idea of our own voices falling silent finally, like a radio turning down.

Yes, it does feel deceptively safer with two; but Thou is a slippery character. Every Thou I've known has had a way of going missing. They skip town or turn perfidious, or else the drop like flies and then where are you?

You couldn?t leave words lying around where our enemies might find them.

When power is scarce, a little of it is tempting.

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

Canadian Author, Poet, Critic, Essayist and Environmental Activist