Margaret Atwood, fully Margaret Eleanor Atwood

Atwood, fully Margaret Eleanor Atwood

Canadian Author, Poet, Critic, Essayist and Environmental Activist

Author Quotes

Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth.

We all know that a book is not really a person. It isn?t a human being. But if you are a lover of books as books ? as objects, that is ? and ignore the human element in them ? that is, their voices ? you will be committing an error of the soul, because you will be an idolater or else a fetishist.

We shouldn't be saying 'Save the planet'; we should be saying: 'Save viable conditions in which people can live.' That's what we're dealing with here.

We've learned to see the world in gasps.

What is the real breath of a man ? the breathing out or the breathing in?

Time is not a thing that passes... it's a sea on which you float.

Trail of desolation: beer bottles slaughtered by the side of the road, bird-skulls bleaching in the sunset.

We are a society dying, said Aunt Lydia, of too much choice.

We shouldn't have been so scornful; we should have had compassion. But compassion takes work, and we were young.

What a lost person needs is a map of the territory, with his own position marked on it so he can see where he is in relation to everything else. Literature is not only a mirror; it is also a map, a geography of the mind. Our literature is one such map, if we can learn to read it as our literature, as the product of who and where we have been. We need such a map desperately; we need to know about here because here is where we live. For the members of a country or a culture, shared knowledge of their place, they?re here, is not a luxury but a necessity. Without that knowledge we will not survive.

What is toast? says Snowman to himself, once they?ve run off. Toast is when you take a piece of bread ? What is bread? Bread is when you take some flour ? What is flour? We?ll skip that part, it?s too complicated. Bread is something you can eat, made from a ground-up plant and shaped like a stone. You cook it? Please, why do you cook it? Why don?t you just eat the plant? Never mind that part ? Pay attention. You cook it, and then you cut it into slices, and you put a slice into a toaster, which is a metal box that heats up with electricity ? What is electricity? Don?t worry about that. While the slice is in the toaster, you get out the butter ? butter is a yellow grease, made from the mammary glands of ? skip the butter. So, the toaster turns the slice of bread black on both sides with smoke coming out, and then this toaster shoots the slice up into the air, and it falls onto the floor? Forget it, says Snowman. Let?s try again. Toast was a pointless invention from the Dark Ages. Toast was an implement of torture that caused all those subjected to it to regurgitate in verbal form the sins and crimes of their past lives. Toast was a ritual item devoured by fetishists in the belief that it would enhance their kinetic and sexual powers. Toast cannot be explained by any rational means. Toast is me. I am toast.

Time rises and rises, and when it reaches the level of your eyes you drown.

Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations.

We are hard on each other and call it honesty, choosing our jagged truths with care and aiming them across the neutral table. The things we say are true; it is our crooked aims, our choices turn them criminal. Of course your lies are more amusing: you make them new each time. Your truths, painful and boring repeat themselves over and over perhaps because you own so few of them. A truth should exist, it should not be used like this. If I love you is that a fact or a weapon? Does the body lie moving like this, are these touches, hairs, wet soft marble my tongue runs over lies you are telling me? Your body is not a word; it does not lie or speak truth either. It is only here or not here.

We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.

What a moron I was to think you were sweet and innocent, when it turns out you were actually college-educated the whole time!

What people want is perfection, said the man. In themselves. But they need the steps to it to be pointed out, said the woman. In a simple order, said the man. With encouragement, said the woman. And a positive attitude.

Time: old cold time, old sorrow, settling down in layers like silt in a pond.

Vanity is becoming a nuisance. I can see why women give it up, eventually. But I'm not ready for that yet.

We are survivors, of each other. We have been shark to one another, but also lifeboat. That counts for something.

We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.

What am I living for and what am I dying for are the same question.

What restless woman can resist a man with a shovel in one hand and a glowing rose bush in the other, and a moderately crazed glitter in his eyes that might be mistaken for love?

To be rendered unconscious; to lie exposed, without shame, at the mercy of others; to be touched, incised, plundered, remade - this is what they are thinking of when they look at him, with their widening eyes and slightly parted lips.

Via the conduit of a wild dog pack, she has now made the ultimate Gift to her fellow Creatures, and has become part of God's great dance of proteins.

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Atwood, fully Margaret Eleanor Atwood
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Canadian Author, Poet, Critic, Essayist and Environmental Activist