We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.— Cynthia Ozick
The most sensitive Cynthia Ozick quotes that are free to learn and impress others
When something does not insist on being noticed, when we aren't grabbed by the collar or struck on the skull by a presence or an event, we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.
What we remember from childhood we remember forever - permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen.
If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage.
a. Critics: people who make monuments out of books. b. Biographers: people who make books out of monuments. c. Poets: people who raze monuments. d. Publishers: people who sell rubble. e. Readers: people who buy it.
In saying what is obvious, never choose cunning. Yelling works better.
Is there a word more passionate than passion? Obsession, total immersion, the feeling that everything else doesn't matter.
After a certain number of years, our faces become our biographies.
The power of language, it seems to me, is the only kind of power a writer is entitled to.
To imagine the unimaginable is the highest use of the imagination
Traveling is seeing; it is the implicit that we travel by.
Travelers are fantasists, conjurers, seers - and what they finally discover is that every round object everywhere is a crystal ball: stone, teapot, the marvelous globe of the human eye.
I wanted to use what I was, to be what I was born to be - not to have a 'career', but to be that straightforward obvious unmistakable animal, a writer.
It is the function of a liberal university not to give right answers, but to ask right questions.
One must avoid ambition in order to write.
Otherwise something else is the goal: some kind of power beyond the power of language. And the power of language, it seems to me, is the only kind of power a writer is entitled to.
After a certain number of years our faces become our biographies.
We get to be responsible for our faces.
Time heals all things but one: Time.
Two things remain irretrievable: time and a first impression.
I measure my life in sentences pressed out, line by line, like the lustrous ooze on the underside of the snail, the snail's secret open seam, its wound, leaking attar.
In 1952, I had gone to England on a literary pilgrimage, but what I also saw, even at that distance from the blitz, were bombed-out ruins and an enervated society, while the continent was still, psychologically, in the grip of its recent atrocities.
... woman is frequently praised as the more "creative" sex. She does not need to make poems, it is argued; she has no drive to make poems, because she is privileged to make babies. A pregnancy is as fulfilling as, say, Yeats' Sailing to Byzantium.... To call a child a poem may be a pretty metaphor, but it is a slur on the labor of art.
In books, as in life, there are no second chances.
On second thought: its the next work, still to be written, that offers the second chance.
Resentment is a communicable disease and should be quarantined.
Bohemia and all its works are vanished out of America;
or, more exactly, bohemia has migrated to the middle class, and is alive and well in condo and suburb.
It is useless either to hate or to love truth - but it should be noticed.
One reason writers write is out of revenge.
Life hurts; certain ideas and experiences hurt; one wants to clarify, to set out illuminations, to replay the old bad scenes and get the Treppenworte said -- the words one didn't have the strength or ripeness to say when those words were necessary for one's dignity or survival.
An essay is a thing of the imagination.
If there is information in an essay, it is by-the-by, and if there is an opinion, one need not trust it for the long run. A genuine essay rarely has an educational, polemical, or sociopolitical use; it is the movement of a free mind at play.
He who cries, 'What do I care about universality? I only know what is in me,' does not know even that.
We were born to die; we were born to endure, on the way to death, sorrow-sorrow in manifold shapes.
The butterfly lures us not only because he is beautiful, but because he is transitory. The caterpillar is uglier, but in him we can regard the better joy of becoming.
To be any sort of competent writer one must keep one's psychological distance from the supreme artists.
It's true that the young who now flock to script writing, or producing and directing, to fulfill the demands of these new devices would, in an earlier period, have been submitting to magazines and working on their first novels. But even in the midst of all these "digital products," the wonder of it is that there are still so many young writers who continue to believe in the venerable print novel as the corridor to fame and fortune.
I would distinguish between a visitor and a pilgrim: both will come to a place and go away again, but a visitor arrives, a pilgrim is restored. A visitor passes through a place; the place passes through the pilgrim.
What we think we are surely going to do, we don't do;
and what we never intended to do, we may one day notice that we have done, and done, and done.
Much of the academy on the humanities side, English departments in particular, no longer write what can pass for normal English.
The usefulness of madmen is famous: they demonstrate society's logic flagrantly carried out down to its last scrimshaw scrap.
It isn't the instrument that influences High-Minded or Low-Minded; it's the quality of Mind itself.
Invention despoils observations, insinuation invalidates memory.
A stewpot of bad habits, all of it - so that imaginative writers wind up, by and large, a shifty crew, sunk in distortion, misrepresentation, illusion, imposture, fakery.
To want to be what one can be is purpose in life.
To desire to be what one can be is purpose in life.
There are no exterior forces. There are only interior forces. Who squanders talent praises death.
What I felt then I feel now: the inexorable, unchanging interior hum of doubt and hope.
Above all, a book is a riverbank for the river of language.
Language without the riverbank is only television talk - a free fall, a loose splash, a spill.
Awe consumes any brand that ignites it.
Advances in technology neither impede nor augment literature.
We are so placid that the smallest tremor of objection is taken as a full-scale revolution.
literature is an instrument of a culture, not a summary of it.
It is true that money attracts; but much money repels.
No one can teach writing, but classes may stimulate the urge to write.
If you are born a writer, you will inevitably and helplessly write. A born writer has self-knowledge. Read, read, read. And if you are a fiction writer, dont confine yourself to reading fiction. Every writer is first a wide reader.
We are so placid that the smallest tremor of objection to anything at all is taken as a full-scale revolution. Should any soul speak up in favor of the obvious, it is taken as a symptom of the influence of the left, the right, the pink, the black, the dangerous. An idea for its own sake - especially an obvious idea - has no respectability.
In the compact between novelist and reader, the novelist promises to lie, and the reader promises to allow it.