110+ Colum McCann Quotes On Culture, Education And Writing

Top 10 Colum McCann Quotes (BEST)

  1. There are moments we return to, now and always. Family is like water - it has a memory of what it once filled, always trying to get back to the original stream.
  2. Long ago, long ago. The simple things come back to us. They rest for a moment by our ribcages then suddenly reach in and twist our hearts a notch backward.
  3. It is not fashionable anymore, I suppose, to have a regard for one's mother in the way my brother and I had then, in the mid-1950s, when the noise outside the window was mostly wind and sea chime.
  4. I sit there thinking about how much courage it takes to live an ordinary life.
  5. The contemporary American novelist benefits in a way from being ignored. It makes you angrier and makes you want to go into all of those places where you shouldnt.
  6. People are good or half good or a quarter good, and it changes all the time- but even on the best day nobody's perfect.
  7. Novels are more difficult simply because they are longer and require more juggling, but short stories are closer to perfection, if you can get the language right.
  8. We have to listen to other people's stories. That's the thing. And that's the only way that we eventually get to know ourselves.
  9. Literature can remind us that not all life is already written down: there are still so many stories to be told.
  10. The world spins. We stumble on. It is enough.

Colum McCann Short Quotes

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  • There is always room for at least two truths.
  • What was a life anyway? An accumulation of small shelves of incident.
  • Sometimes, in life, nothing happens. But, sometimes, nothing happens beautifully.
  • Memory has a heavy backspin, yet it’s still impossible to land exactly where we took off.
  • Things in life have no real beginning, though our stories about them always do.
  • Where happiness was not a possibility, the illusion of it was always more important.
  • Everything was fabulous, even our breakdowns.
  • It struck me that distant cities are designed precisely so you can know where you came from.
  • Even if you're going to die, you might as well die pretty.
  • The repeated lies become history, but they don't necessarily become the truth.

Colum McCann Quotes On Love

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He said to me once that most of the time people use the word love as just another way to show off they're hungry. The way he said it went something like: Glorify their appetites. — Colum McCann

...it was necessary to love silence, but before you could love silence you had to have noise. — Colum McCann

The thing about love is that we come alive in bodies not our own. — Colum McCann

There are rocks deep enough in this earth that no matter what the rupture, they will never see the surface. There is, I think, a fear of love. There is a fear of love. — Colum McCann

Colum McCann Quotes On Writing

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Personally, I like the social novel. I like writing that gets in and under the hood and looks about - at what's going on. But I don't say to any writer that that's absolutely what they should do. — Colum McCann

If you have a structure beforehand, you're sort of stuffing your story into a pre-assembled box. You don't want that to happen. What you want in your writing is to have a sort of wildness that occurs. And then, out of the wildness, a structure emerges. — Colum McCann

Ultimately, you can only ever write what you know. It's logically and philosophically impossible to write what you don't know. — Colum McCann

I'm not so sure that I can teach people how to, you know, write dialogue or create plot or anything like that. But if I can get them and grab them by the scruff of the neck and say, you can do this, and if I see that fire in their eyes, that's when I think I know a writer. — Colum McCann

That's what sons do: write to their mothers about recall, tell themselves about the past until they come to realize that they are the past. — Colum McCann

I write about what I know; and I write about things that are new to me, and that I didn't know before. — Colum McCann

I write articles, and I do profiles of members of organizations and associations. — Colum McCann

Colum McCann Famous Quotes And Sayings

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I’m not interested in blind optimism, but I’m very interested in optimism that is hard-won, that takes on darkness and then says, ‘This is not enough.’ But it takes time, more time than we can sometimes imagine, to get there. And sometimes we don’t. — Colum McCann

I think it is our job, as writers, to be epic. Epic and tiny at the same time. If you're going to be a fiction writer, why not take on something that means something. In doing this, you must understand that within that epic structure it is the tiny story that is possibly more important. — Colum McCann

I don't really know what an adverb is. A dangling participle? That sounds really rude. I don't know what character is, really. Plot seems vaguely juvenile to me. It's all about language, it's all about how you apply it to the page. — Colum McCann

No shame in saying that I felt a loneliness drifting through me. Funny how it was, everyone perched in their own little world with the deep need to talk, each person with their own tale, beginning in some strange middle point, then trying so hard to tell it all, to have it all make sense, logical and final. — Colum McCann

I know already that I will return to this day whenever I want to. I can bid it alive. Preserve it. There is a still point where the present, the now, winds around itself, and nothing is tangled. The river is not where it begins or ends, but right in the middle point, anchored by what has happened and what is to arrive. — Colum McCann

One small cloud, cast out by the herd, limps away to the west. — Colum McCann

I think a good novel can be a doorstop to despair. I also think the real bravery comes with those who prepared to go through that door and look at the world in all its grime and torment, and still find something of value, no matter how small. — Colum McCann

The person we know at first, she thinks, is not the one we know at last. — Colum McCann

Some people think love is the end of the road, and if you're lucky enough to find it, you stay there. Other people say it just becomes a cliff you drive off, but most people who've been around awhile know it's just a thing that changes day by day, and depending on how much you fight for it, you get it, or you hold on to it, or you lose it, but sometimes it's never even there in the first place. — Colum McCann

She's always thought that one of the beauties of New York is that you can be from anywhere and within moments of landing its yours. — Colum McCann

Give life long enough and it will solve all your problems, including the one of being alive. — Colum McCann

They told me Corrigan smashed all the bones in his chest when he hit the steering wheel. I thought, Well at least in heaven his Spanish chick'll be able to reach in and grab his heart. — Colum McCann

It was a silence that heard itself, awful and beautiful. — Colum McCann

If you sort of see yourself writing into a space that you don't always recognize, you sometimes learn things that you knew, but weren't entirely aware of. It's very liberating for a writer to go into a space where she or he has not gone before, because, instead of being a tourist, you're like an explorer now, and you're sort of lost in this new idea. — Colum McCann

I have different books for different times of the day, let alone different seasons of the year! — Colum McCann

I told him that I loved him and that I'd always love him and I felt like a child who throws a centavo into a fountain and then she has to tell someone her most extraordinary wish even though she knows that the wish should be kept secret and that, in telling it, she is quite probably losing it. He replied that I was not to worry, that the penny could come out of the fountain again and again and again. — Colum McCann

And I suddenly think, as I look across the table at him, that these are the days as they will be. This is the future as we see it. The swerve and the static. The confidence and the doubt. — Colum McCann

Sometimes we just walk into something that is not for us at all. We pretend it is. We think we can shrug it off like a coat, but it's not a coat at all, it's more like another skin. [...] All I wanted was to make my life thrilling for a while: to take the oridinary objects of my days and make a different argument out of them, no obligations to my past. — Colum McCann

Every man with his own peculiar vice. His will hardly rock heaven or hell. — Colum McCann

She was tired of everyone wanting to go to heaven, nobody wanting to die. The only thing worth grieving over, she said, was that sometimes there was more beauty in this life than the world could bear. — Colum McCann

I was fascinated by the lack of a word for a parent who has lost a child. We have no word in English. I thought for sure there'd be a word in Irish but there is none. And then I looked in several other languages and could not find one, until I found the word Sh'khol in Hebrew. I'm still not sure why so many languages don't have a word for this sort of bereavement, this shadowing. — Colum McCann

Let it be. Silly song, really. You let it be, it returns. There's the truth. You let it be, it drags you to the ground. You let it be, it crawls up your walls. — Colum McCann

Even if people laughed at the notion of goodness, if they found it sentimental, or nostalgic, it didn't matter -- it was none of those things, he said, and it had to be fought for. — Colum McCann

He told me once that there was no better faith than a wounded faith and sometimes I wonder if that is what he was doing all along --trying to wound his faith in order to test it--and I was just another stone in the way of his God. — Colum McCann

We stumble on, thinks Jaslyn, bring a little noise into the silence, find in others the ongoing of ourselves. It is almost enough. — Colum McCann

You can count the dead, but you can't count the cost. We've got no math for Heaven. — Colum McCann

There are no days more full than those we go back to. — Colum McCann

I think one of the biggest political failures, and the biggest social failures, over the past few years has been the failure of empathy; not being able to look at the other person down the street. — Colum McCann

The essence of intelligence was to know when, or if, to expose even the heart's deep need for instruction. — Colum McCann

Yet she likes complications. She wishes she could turn and say: I like people who unbalance me. — Colum McCann

What Corrigan wanted was a fully believable God, one you could find in the grime of the everyday... He consoled himself with the fact that, in the real world, when he looked closely into the darkness he might find the presence of a light, damaged and bruised, but a little light all the same. He wanted, quite simply, for the world to be a better place, and he was in the habit of hoping for it. — Colum McCann

The luxury of age was the giving up of vanity. — Colum McCann

The Irish are great for their tunes, but all their lovesongs are sad and their warsongs happy. — Colum McCann

The real beauty in life is that beauty can sometimes occur. — Colum McCann

I'm a complete and utter fiction. Then again, we all are. — Colum McCann

...and it strikes her, as she walks, that borders, like hatred, are exaggerated precisely because otherwise they would cease to exist altogether. — Colum McCann

Part of the beauty of fiction is that we come alive in a body that we don't own. — Colum McCann

With all respects to heaven, I like it here. — Colum McCann

She takes another long haul, lets the smoke settle in her lungs-- she has heard somewhere that cigarettes are good for grief. One long drag and you forget how to cry. The body too busy dealing with the poison. — Colum McCann

Anakana Schofield is part of a new wave of wonderful Irish fiction-international in scope and electrically alive. — Colum McCann

The tunnels of our lives connect, coming to daylight at the oddest moments, and then plunge us into the dark again. We return to the lives of those who have gone before us, a perplexing möbius strip until we come home, eventually, to ourselves. — Colum McCann

Part of me really wants to believe that hope is entirely available to all of us. We don't have to embrace it. It would be sentimental and silly to say that we all need it, but it is absolutely available to all of us. — Colum McCann

I have the most charmed, most - I feel entirely blessed and lucky that I have the life that I have. — Colum McCann

I don't know of a greater privilege than being allowed to tell a story, or to listen to a story. They're the only thing we have that can trump life itself. — Colum McCann

I'm only telling you on the truth," he said. "If you can't stand the truth, don't ask for it. — Colum McCann

One look at each other and it was immediately understood that they both needed a clean slate,,, The obliteration of memory. — Colum McCann

Whenever summer rolls around I begin to realize that I'm a complete and utter book snob. In relation to reading, I have absolutely no guilty pleasures at all. No graphic novels. No murder mysteries. My summer read is really no different from my winter read. I know many bookshops and magazines would have me believe that our summer forays are different, but literature is literature, and unfortunately snobbery is snobbery. — Colum McCann

It had never occurred to me before but everything in New York is built upon another thing, nothing is entirely by itself, each thing as strange as the last, and connected. — Colum McCann

I am of the opinion, and even more so the older I get, that it is more difficult to have hope than it is to despair. And I mean this in the sense that in order to have hope you must acknowledge the despair and then you have to get beyond it. Taken from a radio interview given on BBC Radio 4's Open Book — Colum McCann

I want the younger writer to know that she or he is meaningful, that what they have to say is powerful in this world. But they can't come indoors, they can't close the curtains, they can't, like, lock themselves away from the world and say nothing. — Colum McCann

The war was about vanity, he said. It was about old men who couldn't look in the mirror anymore and so they sent the young out to die. Was was a get-together of the vain. They wanted it simple--hate your enemy, know nothing of him. — Colum McCann

He realized that he had thought only about the first step, never imagined the last. — Colum McCann

The world does not turn without moments of grace. Who cares how small. — Colum McCann

He might have been naive, but he didn't care; he said he's rather die with his heart on his sleeve than end up another cynic. — Colum McCann

One of those out-of-the-ordinary days that made sense of the slew of ordinary days. New York had a way of doing that. Every now and then the city shook its soul out. It assailed you with an image, or a day, or a crime, or a terror, or a beauty so difficult to wrap your mind around that you had to shake your head in disbelief. — Colum McCann

Pain is not wat you get, it is wat you give. — Colum McCann

Let this be a lesson to us all, said the preacher. You will be walking someday in the dark and the truth will come shining through, and behind you will be a life that you never want to see again. — Colum McCann

Whatever you say, say nothing. — Colum McCann

Pain's nothing. Pain's what you give, not what you get. — Colum McCann

He looks like the sort of man who can't afford to leave, and doesn't want to stay, and so he is doing both at once. — Colum McCann

This is not my life. These are not my cobwebs. This is not the darkness I was designed for. — Colum McCann

We seldom know what we're hearing when we hear something for the first time, but one thing is certain: we hear it as we will never hear it again. We return to the moment to experience it, I suppose, but we can never really find it, only its memory, the faintest imprint of what really was, what it meant. — Colum McCann

Life must pass through difficulty in order to achieve any modicum of beauty. — Colum McCann

The city was bigger than its buildings, bigger than its inhabitants too. It had its own nuances. It accepted whatever came its way, the crime and the violence and the little shocks of good that crawled out from underneath the everyday. — Colum McCann

Stories are the best democracy we have. We are allowed to become the other we never dreamed we could be. — Colum McCann

Téa Obreht is the most thrilling literary discovery in years — Colum McCann

I gave them all the truth and none of the honesty. — Colum McCann

The job of the writer is to look at where he is now and make some sort of emotional sense of it, not only for that moment but for years to come. — Colum McCann

The stars looked like nail heads in the sky--pull a few of them out and the darkness would fall. — Colum McCann

I grew up sort of middle class, safe and suburban. — Colum McCann

She likes the people with the endurance to tolerate the drudge, the ones who know that pain is a requirement, not a curse. — Colum McCann

The point of flight. To get rid of oneself. That was reason enough to fly. — Colum McCann

So much of her time spent like this: dreaming up things to say and never quite saying them. — Colum McCann

He didn't like it all that much when he first came - all the rubbish and the rush - but it was growing on him, it wasn't half bad. Coming to the city was like entering a tunnel, he said, and finding to your surprise that the light at the end didn't matter; sometimes in fact the tunnel made the light tolerable. — Colum McCann

Good days, they come around the oddest corners. — Colum McCann

If they ask you to stand still, you should dance. — Colum McCann

I'm of the opinion that the real is imagined and the imagined is quite real. The real is imagined, in the sense that we shape our stories, so anything that even happens on the news gets shaped in a certain way and gets a texture, and that the imagined can be real. — Colum McCann

People think they know the mystery of living in your skin. They don't. There's no one who knows except the person who carts it around her own self. — Colum McCann

There's a part of me that thinks perhaps we go on existing in a place even after we've left it. — Colum McCann

Corrigan told me once that Christ was quite easy to understand. He went where He was supposed to go. He stayed where He was needed. He took little or nothing along, a pair of sandals, a bit of a shirt, a few odds and ends to stave off the loneliness. He never rejected the world. If He had rejected it, He would have been rejecting mystery. And if He rejected mystery, He would have been rejecting faith. — Colum McCann

A book is completed only when it is finished by a reader. — Colum McCann

Sometimes thinking back on things is a mistake arising out of pride, but I guess you live inside a moment for years, move with it and feel it grow, and it sends out roots until it touches everything in sight. — Colum McCann

Life Lessons by Colum McCann

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  1. Colum McCann's work teaches us the power of storytelling to bring people together and to bridge divides.
  2. Through his work, McCann encourages us to embrace our differences and to celebrate the diversity of human experience.
  3. He also reminds us of the importance of empathy and understanding in order to create a more peaceful and just world.

In Conclusion

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