Literary Birthday - 18 February
Happy Birthday, Toni Morrison, born 18 February 1931
- What was driving me to write was the silence - so many stories untold and unexamined.
- There was a vacuum in the literature. I was inspired by the silence and absences.
- If you’re blocked, you probably ought to be.
- If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.
- Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge.
- I often think about rewriting or continuing the life of particular characters in subsequent books, but I have found that it’s a kind of trap because you never really go on to another topic.
- In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.
- I didn’t plan on either children or writing. Once I realized that writing satisfied me in some enormous way, I had to make adjustments. The writing was always marginal in terms of time when the children were small. But it was major in terms of my head.
- The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.
- Nelson Mandela is, for me, the single statesman in the world. The single statesman, in that literal sense, who is not solving all his problems with guns. It’s truly unbelievable.
- I think some aspects of writing can be taught. Obviously, you can’t teach vision or talent. But you can help with comfort.
- I would solve a lot of literary problems just thinking about a character in the subway, where you can’t do anything anyway.
- We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.
Morrison is an American novelist, editor, and professor. She is best known for The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Beloved. She won the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize for Beloved. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write