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
The most restlessness Colum McCann quotes that will inspire your inner self
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I sit there thinking about how much courage it takes to live an ordinary life.
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.
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.
Cynicism is easy. An optimist is a braver cynic.
About 25 years ago, I took a bicycle across the United States.
I soon found out that the greatest item of clothing was the trusty bandanna. There were dozens of uses for a bandanna - as a pot holder, a chain cleaner, a sun shield, a headband, a snot rag, a declaration of Kerouacian intent.
One small cloud, cast out by the herd, limps away to the west.
The repeated lies become history, but they don't necessarily become the truth.
There are fewer and fewer Jews in Ireland, but we still have one of the most famous Jewish characters in literary history, of course, in Leopold Bloom.
A lot of people think that writers are much cleverer than they actually are.
No, they're not. But they're emotionally clever, and they go into a character, and they feel something that they weren't entirely aware of beforehand.
She was forever tilted sideways by the notion that pain was inevitable, chance was cruel, and all human ingenuity should go towards the making of a good cup of tea.
Give life long enough and it will solve all your problems, including the one of being alive.
We have to admire the world for not ending on us.
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.
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.
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.
It was a silence that heard itself, awful and beautiful.
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.
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.
I have different books for different times of the day, let alone different seasons of the year!
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.
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.
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.
You can count the dead, but you can't count the cost. We've got no math for Heaven.
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.
Increasingly I think of myself as some strange and solitary conductor, introduced to a group of very dynamic musicians who happen to be my characters, and I have no idea how they are going to play together, and I have certainly no idea how I am going to put manners on them.
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.
It struck me that distant cities are designed precisely so you can know where you came from.
Sometimes, in life, nothing happens. But, sometimes, nothing happens beautifully.
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.
We stumble on, thinks Jaslyn, bring a little noise into the silence, find in others the ongoing of ourselves. It is almost enough.
I write about what I know; and I write about things that are new to me, and that I didn't know before.
Even if you're going to die, you might as well die pretty.
Things in life have no real beginning, though our stories about them always do.
There are no days more full than those we go back to.
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.
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.
The essence of intelligence was to know when, or if, to expose even the heart's deep need for instruction.
Yet she likes complications. She wishes she could turn and say: I like people who unbalance me.
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.
The luxury of age was the giving up of vanity.
The person we know at first, she thinks, is not the one we know at last.
The Irish are great for their tunes, but all their lovesongs are sad and their warsongs happy.