When you read to a child, when you put a book in a child's hands, you are bringing that child news of the infinitely varied nature of life. You are an awakener.
To be human is to be in a story.
A good novel begins with a small question and ends with a bigger one.
The minute you become conscious that you are doing good, that's the minute you have to stop because from then on it's wrong.
Families hold each other in an iron grip of definition. One must break the grip, somehow.
Life is all getting used to what you're not used to.
we are, in this country, more open to new ideas. But we are also, it seems to me, more inclined to hail the new as absolute truth - until the next new comes along.
People steal into one's consciousness and occupy what seems, in retrospect, to have been their place all along.
The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one-day will be. So please, tell the people you love and care for that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.
Teachers inspire the smallest hearts to grow big enough to change the world.
It was hard to reassure grown-ups when you weren't certain yourself what you were feeling and thinking—when thoughts dissolved before you could name them.
I was the goldfish that leapt out of the bowl.
Freedom is a public library.
There was no way to grasp the reality of the present which slid away each second, invisible as air; reality only existed after the fact, in one's vision of the past.
When I begin a story at my desk, the window to my back, the path is not there. As I start to walk, I make the path.
If a person had accused him of meanness, he could have defended himself. But with a dog - you did something cheap to it when you were sure no one was looking, and it was as though you had done it in front of a mirror.
There's a certain amount of tyranny in all of us to some extent, and in some people it's much more developed than in others. It's a different balance which makes us all different.
My father brought me a box of books once when I was about three and a half or four. I remember the carton they were in and the covers with illustrations by Newell C. Wyeth.
I've always known a lot of very bad people, destructive, brutes of a certain kind. Then I've seen these lovely impulses and what not, and they've stayed with me and comforted me.
I taught writing classes at the University of Pennsylvania for a number of years and I realized that all you can do is encourage people and give them assignments and hope they will write them.
I don't know what makes a writer's voice. It's dozens of things. There are people who write who don't have it. They're tone-deaf, even though they're very fluent. It's an ability, like anything else, being a doctor or a veterinarian, or a musician.
My first job was working in a dress shop in Los Angeles in 1940, for $7 a week.
In my early twenties, that's when I really began to write. Before that, I was too busy working, keeping myself going.
I like to cook; it is, for me, a happy combination of mindlessness and purpose.
I have a painter's memory. I can remember things from my childhood which were so powerfully imprinted on me, the whole scene comes back.
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