History is said to be written by the victors. Fiction, by contrast, is largely the work of injured bystanders.— Edna O'Brien
The most instructive Edna O'Brien quotes that will inspire your inner self
Irish? In truth I would not want to be anything else.
It is a state of mind as well as an actual country. It is being at odds withother nationalities, having quite different philosophy about pleasure, about punishment, about life, and about death. At least it does not leave one pusillanimous.
When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees.
Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.
Ordinary life bypassed me, but I also bypassed it.
It couldn't have been any other way.Conventional life and conventional people are not for me.
Writing is like carrying a fetus.
never forget this moment, the hum of the bee, the saffron threads of the flower, the drawn blinds, nature's assiduousness and human cruelty.
Promiscuity is the death of love.
... a country encapsulates our childhood and those lanes, byres, fields, flowers, insects, suns, moons and stars are forever reoccurring.
I'm an Irish Catholic and I have a long iceberg of guilt.
In a way Winter is the real Spring - the time when the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature.
Sometimes one word can recall a whole span of life.
it is not good to repudiate the dead because then they do not leave you alone, they are like dogs that bark intermittently at night.
Writers, however mature and wise and eminent, are children at heart.
I am obsessive, also I am industrious.
Besides, the time when you are most alive and most aware is in childhood and one is trying to recapture that heightened awareness.
I crossed the room, and what you did was to feel my hair over and over again and in different ways, touch it, with the palm of your hand... felt it, strands of hair, with your fingers, touched it as if it were cloth, the way a child touches its favorite surfaces.
I did not sleep. I never do when I am over-happy, over-unhappy, or in bed with a strange man.
what makes us so afraid is the thing we half see, or half hear, as in a wood at dusk, when a tree stump becomes an animal and a sound becomes a siren. And most of that fear is the fear of not knowing, of not actually seeing correctly.
It's not the vote women need, we should be armed.
She said the reason that love is so painful is that it always amounts to two people wanting more than two people can give.
There are times when the thing we are seeing changes before our very eyes, and if it is a landscape we praise nature, and if it is celestial we invoke God, but if it is a loved one who defects, we excuse ourselves and say we have to be somewhere and are already late for our next appointment. We do not stay to put pennies over the half-dead eyes.
Books everywhere. On the shelves and on the small space above the rows of books and all along the floor and under chairs, books that I have read, books that I have not read.
Countries are either mothers or fathers, and engender the emotional bristle secretly reserved for either sire.
Recollection is not something that I can summon up, it simply comes and I am the servant of it.
Cities, in many ways, are the best repositories for a love affair.
You are in a forest or a cornfield, you are walking by the seashore, footprint after footprint of trodden sand, and somehow the kiss or the spoken covenant gets lost in the vastness and indifference of nature. In a city there are places to remind us of what has been.
Life, after all, was a secret with the self.
The more one gave out, the less there remained for the center--that center which she coveted for herself and recognized instantly in others. Fruits had it, the very heart of, say, a cherry, where the true worth and flavor lay. Some of course were flawed or hollow in there. Many, in fact.
I have some women friends but I prefer men.
Don't trust women. There is a built-in competition between women.
When something has been perfect, there is a tendency to try hard to repeat it.
For me to write I have to be, a, alone, and b, know that nobody is going to question me. I write the way a thief steals; it's a little covert.
In every question and every remark tossed back and forth between lovers who have not played out the last fugue, there is one question and it is this: Is there someone new?
All my life I had feared imprisonment, the nun's cell, the hospital bed, the places where one faced the self without distraction, without the crutches of other people.
I am not kind, I cut people off as with shears and I drop them like nettles.
I know the mistake I am making. I see the exits in life.
shadows of love, inebriations of love, foretastes of love, trickles of love, but never yet the one true love.
The vote means nothing to women. We should be armed.
IT WAS TESS who told me about the crowd going to the all-night dance.
We'd been school friends. We'd picked mushrooms and pretended to have seen a big ship. She had got married since I went away; it was a made match, a man from the midlands, a Donal, who had worked in a garage but took to farming, out all day, draining fields and callows so that he could till them and sow corn.
I was lonelier than I should be, for a woman in love, or half in love.
Later as the day cools and they have gone in, the cry of the corncrake will carry across those same fields and over the lake to the blue-hazed mountain, such a lonely evening sound to it, like the lonely evening sound of the mothers, saying it is not our fault that we weep so, it is nature's fault that makes us first full, then empty.
Movie people are possessed by demons, but a very low form of demons.
When you fall in love, it is spring no matter when.
Leaves falling make no difference, they are from another season.
What we forgot as children is that our parents are children, also.
The child in them has not been satisfied or met or loved, often.
It was the first time that I came face to face with madness and feared it and was fascinated by it.
...people liking you or not liking you is an accident and is to do with them and not you. That goes for love too, only more so.
What matters is the imaginative truth.
Ideally I'd like to spend two evenings a week talking to Proust and another conversing with the Holy Ghost.
Writers are always anxious, always on the run--from the telephone, from responsibilities, from the distractions of the world.
There was I, devouring books and yet allowing a man who had never read a book to walk me home for a bit of harmless fumbling on the front steps.
Darkness is drawn to light, but light does not know it;
light must absorb the darkness and therefore meet its own extinguishment.
To live with the work and the letters of James Joyce was an enormous privilege and a daunting education. Yes, I came to admire Joyce even more because he never ceased working, those words and the transubstantiation of words obsessed him. He was a broken man at the end of his life, unaware that Ulysses would be the number one book of the twentieth century and, for that matter, the twenty-first.
Wherever there were horses or ponies the mushrooms always sprang up.
... we have so many voices in us, how do we know which ones to obey?