Well, I always say that the two things I was most disastrous at in my life, being a teenager and being a wife, were the two things I really wound up cashing in on when I was writing fluffy magazine pieces.— Ann Patchett
The most captivate Ann Patchett quotes that may be undiscovered and unusual
Writing is a job, a talent, but it's also the place to go in your head.
It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.
Part of it is living in Tennessee. I'm so out of the loop. And as a person, I'm out of the loop. I'm oblivious by nature.
Never be so focused on what you're looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.
Reading fiction not only develops our imagination and creativity, it gives us the skills to be alone. It gives us the ability to feel empathy for people we've never met, living lives we couldn't possibly experience for ourselves, because the book puts us inside the character's skin.
Only a few of us are going to be willing to break our own hearts by trading in the living beauty of imagination for the stark disappointment of words.
Coming back is the thing that enables you to see how all the dots in your life are connected, how one decision leads you another, how one twist of fate, good or bad, brings you to a door that later takes you to another door, which aided by several detours--long hallways and unforeseen stairwells--eventually puts you in the place you are now.
I can write for any magazine now, in any voice.
I can do it in two hours, I could do it in my sleep, it's like writing a grocery list.
Hope is a horrible thing, you know. I don't know who decided to package hope as a virtue because it's not. It's a plague. Hope is like walking around with a fishhook in your mouth and somebody just keeps pulling it and pulling it.
There can be something cruel about people who have had good fortune.
They equate it with personal goodness.
When I am emperor, I will abolish private education.
Private schools, private college. All of these parents with money and energy and the drive for bake sales and a desire to leave their vast fortunes to education - everybody would have to be eating out of the same educational pot.
Staying within the world of a novel gives us the ability to be quiet and alone, two skills that are disappearing faster than the polar icecaps.
I was very influenced by The Magic Mountain.
It's a book that had a huge impact on me. I loved that as a shape for a novel: put a bunch of people in a beautiful place, give them all tuberculosis, make them all stay in a fur sleeping bag for several years and see what happens.
reading is a private act, private even from the person who wrote the book.
Once the novel is out there, the author is beside the point. The reader and the book have their own relationship now, and should be left alone to work things out for themselves.
When well told, a story captured the subtle movement of change.
If a novel was a map of a country, a story was the bright silver pin that marked the crossroads.
Coming back is the thing that enables you to see how all the dots in your life are connected.
There was such an incredible logic to kissing, such a metal-to-magnet pull between two people that it was a wonder that they found the strength to prevent themselves from succumbing every second. Rightfully, the world should be a whirlpool of kissing into which we sank and never found the strength to rise up again.
The Swedish he knew was mostly from Bergman films.
He had learned it as a college student, matching the subtitles to the sounds. In Swedish, he could only converse on the darkest of subjects.
Show kindness whenever possible. Show it to the people in front of you, the people coming up behind you, and the people with whom you are running neck and neck. It will vastly improve the quality of your own life, the lives of others, and the state of the world.
I made a startling discovery. Time spent writing = output of work. Amazing.
I don't write for an audience, I don't think whether my book will sell, I don't sell it before I finish writing it.
You see an absolutely brilliant film later, as an adult, and you walk out thinking about what to have for dinner. Whereas something like Jaws winds up having a huge effect on me. If only my parents had been taking me to Kurosawa films when I was eight, but no.
Praise and criticism seem to me to operate exactly on the same level.
If you get a great review, it's really thrilling for about ten minutes. If you get a bad review, it's really crushing for ten minutes. Either way, you go on.
There was no one clear point of loss.
It happened over and over again in a thousand small ways and the only truth there was to learn was that there was no getting used to it.
I will write my way into another life.
Reading fiction is important. It is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn makes us more empathetic beings.
I will go and speak at rotary clubs. I will go and speak at schools. I'm so much in the community, but in a way that I love. It's been such a positive thing.
I think the best vacation is the one that relieves me of my own life for a while and then makes me long for it again.
If you've had good gin on a hot day in Southern California with the people you love, you forget Nebraska. The two things cannot coexist. The stronger, better of the two wins.
Happiness compresses time, makes it dense and bright, pocketsized.
You can't say, "I'm too busy writing to be political." You are one person.
If someone loves you for what you can do then it's flattering, but why do you love them? If someone loves you for who you are then they have to know you, which means you have to know them.
The kind of love that offers its life so easily, so stupidly, is always the love that is not returned.
I don't believe in fate, as in, which I - as a Catholic, I think, sort of predestination. But I certainly believe in chance.
I wanted to eat her pain, take it into me and make it my own.
Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it.
. . . It's a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are a spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be an artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see.
You can't always trust what you think, what you know ... but you can always trust your nature.
I think of Nashville as a very natural place.
We're easy going, we are ourselves. There isn't a lot of preening or trying to impress. So it's an easy place to just be and that is a good state from which to write.
Sometimes not having any idea where we’re going works out better than we could possibly have imagined.
Seeing images of violence - it's always about how somebody's going to kill you.
From my table inside I watch the glamorous women outside who are lunching on Spa Cobb salads without blue cheese or dressing. The man with the bread basket wanders from table to table, lonesome as a cloud. When he comes to me his basket is full and perfectly arranged. He gives me a smile of sincere pleasure when I tell him I will take both the sourdough roll and the cheese stick.
I think, if you want to grow a novelist, for that person to have a lot of boring time trying to entertain themselves is very important.
Our friendship was like our writing in some ways.
It was the only thing that was interesting about our otherwise dull lives. We were better off when we were together. Together we were a small society of ambition and high ideals. We were tender and patient and kind. We were not like the world at all.
If what a person wants is his life, he tends to be quiet about wanting anything else. Once the life begins to seem secure, one feels the freedom to complain.
You can’t pick up and leave everything behind because there is too much sadness in the world and not enough places to go.
I'm very sentimental about lobsters. The last lobster I ate was the only lobster I cooked.
Some people need a huge amount of attention, and they are worthy of that attention, and they're still exhausting.
The quality of gifts depends on the sincerity of the giver.
I can't write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing.