All History is current; all injustice continues on some level, somewhere in the world.
All partisan movements add to the fullness of our understanding of society as a whole. They never detract; or, in any case, one must not allow them to do so. Experience adds to experience.
America is not nearly done. We’re only in the beginning. Who knows who we will be? Who knows… what color we will be? It is all something that, maybe, our descendants – if they survive that long – will see.
And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see – or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.
Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me.
Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.
As an elder of the Americas and of the rest of the planet, it is my responsibility to care for and protect, to the best of my ability, the young.
As you know from school, it’s when you have not prepared for the test that you have the fear of failing. And if you have prepared, even if you fail, you’ve done your best.
At one point I learned transcendental meditation. This was 30-something years ago. It took me back to the way that I naturally was as a child growing up way in the country, rarely seeing people. I was in that state of oneness with creation and it was as if I didn’t exist except as a part of everything.
Clearly older women and especially older women who have led an active life or elder women who successfully maneuver through their own family life have so much to teach us about sharing, patience, and wisdom.
Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn’t matter. I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book, If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for.
Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.
Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.
Fiction is such a world of freedom, it’s wonderful. If you want someone to fly, they can fly.
For a long time, I thought I was ugly and disfigured. This made me shy and timid, and I often reacted to insults that were not intended.
For in the end, freedom is a personal and lonely battle; and one faces down fears of today so that those of tomorrow might be engaged.
For me, writing has always come out of living a fairly to-the-bone kind of life, just really being present to a lot of life. The writing has been really a byproduct of that.
Helped are those who create anything at all, for they shall relive the thrill of their own conception and realize a partnership in the creation of the Universe that keeps them responsible and cheerful.
Horses make a landscape look beautiful.
How simple a thing it seems to me that to know ourselves as we are, we must know our mothers names.
I can be almost terminally grief-stricken because things are so dire, but at the same time, there’s a real lightheartedness about just the recoverability of life, of how things change, how they’re not the same, ever again.
I can imagine in years to come that my papers and memorabilia, my journals and letters, will find themselves always in the company of people who care about many of the things I do.
I don’t call myself a Buddhist. I’m a free spirit. I believe I’m here on earth to admire and enjoy it; that’s my religion.
I feel very happy to be living in Berkeley because there are a lot of people who are politically active here.
I have learned not to worry about love; but to honor its coming with all my heart.
I have never felt that the one thing that I am ‘known for’ is what I am.
I just like to have words that describe things correctly. Now to me, ‘black feminist’ does not do that. I need a word that is organic, that really comes out of the culture, that really expresses the spirit that we see in black women. And it’s just… womanish.
I love the natural world – it comes from my culture, which grew out of a people enslaved.
I love us so incredibly, insanely deeply; it’s almost unbearable to see what we do to ourselves.
I realized I was a country person – I’m just not used to small spaces.
I see children, all children, as humanity’s most precious resource, because it will be to them that the care of the planet will always be left.
I started out as a poet. I’ve always been a poet since I was 7 or 8. And so I feel myself to be fundamentally a poet who got into writing novels.
I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.
I think that wealthy white people would like to have a country that resembles the Fifties, when all the minorities were tucked away in ghettos and paid in very low wages but on the surface it was very bright and shiny and free and the rest of the world would look on it longingly.
I think there is a sense of being forced at this time to look at America’s really large shadow and that’s not all that bad.
I think we have to own the fears that we have of each other, and then, in some practical way, some daily way, figure out how to see people differently than the way we were brought up to.
I think writing really helps you heal yourself. I think if you write long enough, you will be a healthy person. That is, if you write what you need to write, as opposed to what will make money, or what will make fame.
I try to teach my heart not to want things it can’t have.
I was distressed that after 9/11, when the United States was attacked by terrorists, the United States’ response was to attack Afghanistan, where some of the terrorists had been.
I’m entirely interested in people, and also other creatures and beings, but especially in people, and I tend to read them by emotional field more than anything. So I have a special interest in what they’re thinking and who they are and who’s hiding behind those eyes and how did he get there, and what’s the story, really?
I’m for women choosing whatever they want to do but they have to really know what they are doing.
I’m not convinced that women have the education or the sense of their own history enough or that they understand the cruelty of which men are capable and the delight that many men will take in seeing you choose to chain yourself – then they get to say ‘See, you did it yourself.’
I’m sure we, the American people, are the butt of jokes by those in power.
I’m the most stubborn person I know.
In my work and in myself I reflect black people, women and men, as I reflect others. One day even the most self-protective ones will look into the mirror I provide and not be afraid.
In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.
In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.
Is solace anywhere more comforting than that in the arms of a sister.
Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories.
It is healthier, in any case, to write for the adults one’s children will become than for the children one’s “mature” critics often are.
It is justice and respect that I want the world to dust off and put – without delay, and with tenderness – back on the head of the Palestinian child. It will be imperfect justice and respect because the injustice and disrespect have been so severe. But I believe we are right to try.
It no longer bothers me that I may be constantly searching for father figures; by this time, I have found several and dearly enjoyed knowing them all.
It’s an awful feeling to write something that you feel is really important… and to feel that you’re being published by people who really don’t get it and/or don’t really care.
It’s so clear that you have to cherish everyone. I think that’s what I get from these older black women, that every soul is to be cherished, that every flower Is to bloom.
Language is an intrinsic part of who we are and what has, for good or evil, happened to us.
Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.
My life is not to be somebody else’s impact – you know what I mean?
My mother was very strong. Once, she picked up a coconut and smashed it against my father’s head. It taught me about women defending themselves and not collapsing in a heap.
My work is about my life, and what I want to do with it.
Never be the only one, except, possibly, in your own home.
No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.
Nobody is as powerful as we make them out to be.
Part of what confuses people in times of upheaval is that you’re getting so many different points of view and directions and so and so, how to do this and do that. And a lot of it is written in a language that honestly most people cannot understand.
People do not wish to appear foolish; to avoid the appearance of foolishness, they are willing to remain actually fools.
People tend to think that life really does progress for everyone eventually, that people progress, but actually only some people progress. The rest of the people don’t.
Politically, the world is so confused right now – there’s so much suffering caused by various movements by various parties and people in power in government.
Sexuality is one of the ways that we become enlightened, actually, because it leads us to self-knowledge.
Sometimes, reading a blog, which I do infrequently, I see that generations of Americans have been wilfully crippled, and can no longer spell or write a sentence.
Sucking up to the biggies won’t get us anywhere.
Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors.
‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.
The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.
The experience of God, or in any case the possibility of experiencing God, is innate.
The gift of loneliness is sometimes a radical vision of society or one’s people that has not previously been taken into account.
The infinite faith I have in people’s ability to understand anything that makes sense has always been justified, finally, by their behavior.
The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.
The most important question in the world is, ‘Why is the child crying?’
The quietly pacifist peaceful always die to make room for men who shout.
The trouble with our people is as soon as they got out of slavery they didn’t want to give the white man nothing else. But the fact is, you got to give em something. Either your money, your land, your woman or your ass.
There are those who believe Black people possess the secret of joy and that it is this that will sustain them through any spiritual or moral or physical devastation.
To me, the black black woman is our essential mother, the blacker she is the more us she is and to see the hatred that is turned on her is enough to make me despair, almost entirely, of our future as a people.
Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk?
War contributes greatly to global warming, which shouldn’t surprise us. All those bombs going off, all those rockets, all those planes and helicopters. All that fuel of various kinds being used. It pollutes the air and water of this very fragile and interconnected planet.
We must, I believe, start teaching our children the sanity of nonviolence much earlier.
We should learn to accept that change is truly the only thing that’s going on always, and learn to ride with it and enjoy it.
Well, capitalism is a big problem, because with capitalism you’re just going to keep buying and selling things until there’s nothing else to buy and sell, which means gobbling up the planet.
Well, I think indigenous peoples have ways of living on the Earth that they’ve had forever. And they’ve been overrun by organized religion, which has had a lot of money and power.
What the mind doesn’t understand, it worships or fears.
Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.
Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence.
Yes, Mother. I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me.
You know, one race will not be a survivor if the other one dies, and that’s something that we should think about.