Best 536 of Toni Morrison quotes - MyQuotes

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Toni Morrison
By Anonym 17 Sep

Toni Morrison

Nowadays silence is looked on as odd and most of my race has forgotten the beauty of meaning much by saying little. Now tongues work all day by themselves with no help from the mind.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

This is really skin privilege, the ranking of color in terms of its closeness to white people or white-skinned people and its devaluation according to how dark one is and the impact that has on people who are dedicated to the privileges of certain levels of skin color.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Toni Morrison

For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Toni Morrison

A dead language is not only one no longer spoken or written, it is unyielding language content to admire its own paralysis. Like statist language, censored and censoring. Ruthless in its policing duties, it has no desire or purpose other than maintaining the free range of its own narcotic narcissism, its own exclusivity and dominance. However moribund, it is not without effect for it actively thwarts the intellect, stalls conscience, suppresses human potential. Unreceptive to interrogation, it cannot form or tolerate new ideas, shape other thoughts, tell another story, fill baffling silences.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Toni Morrison

For a long time I was convinced that the conflict between Jewish people and black people in this country was a media event.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

Usually I try to be there by six. Everything has been taken off the walls so that there's nothing to arrest my sight. On the bed I have Roget's Thesaurus, a dictionary, a Bible, and a deck of playing cards.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Toni Morrison

The complexity of the so-called individual that’s been praised for decades in America somehow has narrowed itself to the ‘me’. When I was a young girl we were called citizens – American citizens. We were second-class citizens, but that was the word. In the 50s and 60s they started calling us consumers. So we did – consume. Now they don’t use those words any more – it’s the American taxpayer and those are different attitudes.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Toni Morrison

[Obama is ] creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom . . . [He is] the man for this time.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

You marvel at the economy and this choice of words. How many ways can you describe the sky and the moon? After Sylvia Plath, what can you say?

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

But the doctor had felt threatened as soon as he walked in the door. Yet not having to beat up the enemy to get what he wanted was somehow superior—sort of, well, smart.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Toni Morrison

I have difficulties with contemporary language. Big difficulties. I counted, you know, something like 160 words have disappeared from the English language because of the use of the word "like." "I'm like, he's like" - not "thought," not "as if .

By Anonym 13 Sep

Toni Morrison

And fantasy it was, for we were not strong, only aggressive; we were not free, merely licensed; we were not compassionate, we were polite; not good, but well behaved. We courted death in order to call ourselves brave, and hid like thieves from life. We substituted good grammar for intellect; we switched habits to simulate maturity; we rearranged lies and called it truth, seeing in the new pattern of an old idea the Revelation and the Word.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

The men began to trade tales of atrocities, first stories they had heard, then those they'd witnessed, and finally the things that had happened to themselves. A litany of personal humiliation, outrage, and anger turned sicklelike back to themselves as humor. They laughed then, uproariously, about the speed with which they had run, the pose they had assumed, the ruse they had invented to escape or decrease some threat to their manliness, their humanness. All but Empire State, who stood, broom in hand and drop-lipped, with the expression of a very intelligent ten-year-old.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

There is no civilization that did not begin with art, Whether it was drawing a line in the sand, painting a cave or dancing.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Toni Morrison

Well, it probably won't live. They say the way her mama beat her she lucky to be alive herself. She be lucky if it don't live. Bound to be the ugliest thing walking. Can't help but be. Ought to be a law: two ugly people doubling up like that to make more ugly. Be better off in the ground. Well, I wouldn't worry none. It be a miracle if it live.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Toni Morrison

Racism will disappear when it's no longer profitable, and no longer psychologically useful. And when that happens, it'll be gone. But at the moment, people make a lot of money off of it, pro and con.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

When she awoke there was a melody in her head she could not identify or recall ever hearing before. 'Perhaps I made it up,' she thought. Then it came to her - the name of the song and all its lyrics just as she had heard it many times before. She sat on the edge of the bed thinking, 'There aren't any more new songs and I have sung all the ones there are. I have sung them all. I have sung all the songs there are.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Toni Morrison

I'm a writer in the world. I translate the confusion that I might feel, the dread that I know I feel, moving towards some other place, moving away from puny language, from all that dread into some other kind of language.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Toni Morrison

There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art. —Toni Morrison, “No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear,” The Nation, 23 Mar. 2015

By Anonym 14 Sep

Toni Morrison

Tell us what it is to be a woman so that we may know what it is to be a man. What moves at the margin. What it is to have no home in this place. To be set adrift from the one you knew. What it is to live at the edge of towns that cannot bear your company.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Toni Morrison

Black people are victims of an enormous amount of violence. None of those things can take place without the complicity of the people who run the schools and the city.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Toni Morrison

She looked around for a place to be. A small place. The closet? No. Too dark. The bathroom. It was both small and bright, and she wanted to be in a very small, very bright place. Small enough to contain her grief. Bright enough to throw into relief the dark things that cluttered her.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Toni Morrison

At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough. No record of it needs to be kept and you don't need someone to share it with or tell it to. When that happens — that letting go — you let go because you can.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

When there is pain, there are no words. All pain is the same.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Toni Morrison

Nothing and nobody is obliged to save you but you.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Toni Morrison

Somebody has to take responsibility for being a leader.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Toni Morrison

She led him to the top of the stairs, where light came straight from the sky because the second-story windows of that house had been placed in the pitched ceiling and not the walls. There were two rooms and she took him into one of them, hoping he wouldn’t mind the fact that she was not prepared; that though she could remember desire, she had forgotten how it worked; the clutch and helplessness that resided in the hands; how blindness was altered so that what leapt to the eye were places to lie down, and all else—doorknobs, straps, hooks, the sadness that crouched in corners, and the passing of time—was interference.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Toni Morrison

Liberation means you don't have to be silenced.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Toni Morrison

This soil is bad for certain kinds of flowers. Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruit it will not bear, and when the land kills of its own volition, we acquiesce and say the victim had no right to live. We are wrong, of course, but it doesn't matter. It's too late. At least on the edge of my town, among the garbage and the sunflowers of my town, it's much, much, much too late.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Toni Morrison

I want to discourage you from choosing anything or making any decision simply because it is safe. Things of value seldom are

By Anonym 14 Sep

Toni Morrison

I would solve a lot of literary problems just thinking about a character in the subway, where you can't do anything anyway.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Toni Morrison

Violet learned then what she had forgotten until this moment: that laughter is serious. More complicated, more serious than tears.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

You need intelligence, and you need to look. You need a gaze, a wide gaze, penetrating and roving - thats what's useful for art.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

The vitality of language lies in its ability to limn the actual, imagined and possible lives of its speakers, readers, writers.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Toni Morrison

I don't think I knew any of my father's friends - male friends - by their real names. I remember them only by their nicknames.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Toni Morrison

Suspended between the nastiness of life and the meanness of the dead, she couldn't get interested in leaving life or living it, let alone the fright of two creeping-off boys. Her past had been like her present—intolerable—and since she knew death was anything but forgetfulness, she used the little energy left her for pondering color.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Toni Morrison

Her passions were narrow but deep.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Toni Morrison

Intimacy is extremely important to me and I want it to be extremely important to the readers.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Toni Morrison

Long before I was a success, my parents made me feel like I could be one.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Toni Morrison

In my mother's church, everybody read the Bible and it was mostly about music. My mother had the most beautiful voice I have ever heard in my life. She could sing anything - classical, jazz, blues, opera. And people came from long distances to that little church she went to - African Methodist Episcopal, the AME church she belonged to - just hear her.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Toni Morrison

She knew Paul D was adding something to her life—something she wanted to count on but was scared to... His waiting eyes and awful human power. The mind of him that knew her own. Her story was bearable because it was his as well—to tell, to refine and tell again. The things neither knew about the other—the things neither had word-shapes for—well, it would come in time.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Toni Morrison

All important things are hard.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

They held hands and knew that only the coffin would lie in the earth; the bubbly laughter and the press of fingers in the palm would stay aboveground forever. At first, as they stood there, their hands were clenched together. They relaxed slowly until during the walk back home their fingers were laced in as gentle a clasp as that of any two young girlfriends trotting up the road on a summer day wondering what happened to butterflies in the winter.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Toni Morrison

I know there's some poetry that sort of sounds like daisies, but most of the good poetry is also [political], you can feel the heartbeat; it's about some situation that concerns human beings under duress. It's suggesting a solution, or just acknowledging that [the situation] exists. Art does that.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

The Nobel Prize is the best thing that can happen to a writer in terms of how it affects your contracts, the publishers, and the seriousness with which your work is taken. On the other hand, it does interfere with your private life, or it can if you let it, and it has zero effect on the writing. It doesn't help you write better and if you let it, it will intimidate you about future projects.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Toni Morrison

This notion of rest, it’s attractive to her, but I don’t think she would like it. They are all like that, these women. Waiting for the ease, the space that need not be filled with anything other than the drift of their own thoughts. But they wouldn’t like it. They are busy and thinking of ways to be busier because such a space of nothing pressing to do would knock them down. No fields of cowslips will rush into that opening, nor mornings free of flies and heat when the light is shy. No. Not at all. They fill their mind and hands with soap and repair and dicey confrontations because what is waiting for them, in a suddenly idle moment, is the seep of rage. Molten. Thick and slow-moving. Mindful and particular about what in its path it chooses to bury. Or else, into a beat of time, and sideways under their breasts, slips a sorrow they don’t know where from.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

Women's rights is not only an abstraction, a cause; it is also a personal affair. It is not only about us; it is also about me and you. Just the two of us.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

And in the night, when my coughing was dry and tough, feet padded into my room, hands repinned the flannel, readjusted the quilt, and rested a moment on my forehead. So when I think of Autumn, I think of someone with hands who does not want me to die.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

True the Black woman did the housework, the drudgery; true, she reared the children, often alone, but she did all of that while occupying a place on the job market, a place her mate could not get or which his pride would not let him accept.And she had nothing to fall back on: not maleness, not whiteness, not ladyhood, not anything. And out of the profound desolation of her reality she may very well have invented herself.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Toni Morrison

And when spring comes to the City people notice one another in the road; notice the strangers with whom they share aisles and tables and the space where intimate garments are laundered. going in and out, in and out the same door, they handle the handle; on trolleys and park benches they settle thighs on a seat in which hundreds have done it too. Copper coins dropped in the palm have been swallowed by children and tested by gypsies, but it’s still money and people smile at that. It’s the time of year when the City urges contradiction most, encouraging you to buy street food when you have no appetite at all; giving you a taste for a single room occupied by you alone as well as a craving to share it with someone you passed in the street. Really there is no contradiction—rather it’s a condition; the range of what an artful City can do. What can beat bricks warming up to the sun? The return of awnings. The removal of blankets from horses’ backs. Tar softens under the heel and the darkness under bridges changes from gloom to cooling shade. After a light rain, when the leaves have come, tree limbs are like wet fingers playing in woolly green hair. Motor cars become black jet boxes gliding behind hoodlights weakened by mist. On sidewalks turned to satin figures move shoulder first, the crowns of their heads angled shields against the light buckshot that the raindrops are. The faces of children glimpsed at windows appear to be crying, but it is the glass pane dripping that makes it seem so.