Express everything you like. No word can hurt you. None. No idea can hurt you. Not being able to express an idea or word will hurt you more. Like a bullet.

— Jamaica Kincaid

The most fantastic Jamaica Kincaid quotes that will activate your inner potential

I understood that I was inventing myself, and that I was doing this more in the way of a painter than in the way of a scientist. I could not count on precision or calculation; I could only count on intuition.

27

I was given a dictionary when I was seven, and I read it because I had nothing else to read. I read it the way you read a book.

21

I would be lost without the feeling of antagonism that people have towards me.

I write out of defiance.

19

I'm so used to being misunderstood.

14

I come from a little island with the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. I come from, really, nowhere, and for me, the fiction and the nonfiction, creative or otherwise, all come from the same place.

13

America is not so much a country as it is an idea, and that must be why so many people are drawn to it, the idea of it, the idea that you might be free of your past, free of the traditions that kept you in your own traditions - that is the idea of it: freedom from your very own self.

12

I had been a girl of whom certain things were expected, none of them too bad: a career as a nurse, for example; a sense of duty to my parents; obedience to the law and worship of convention. But in one year of being away from home, that girl had gone out of existence.

12

In my writing I'm trying to explore the violations people commit upon each other. And the important thing isn't whether I'm angry. The more important thing is, is it true? Do these things really happen?

8

At the time I was taught to read, it was an Eden-like time of my life.

My mother adored me. Everyone adored me. So I associate reading with enormous pleasure.

6

I like melancholy. I like to pretend that I'm alone in the world and I'm just sort of abandoned.

5

The slave trade was globalism. Why people insist that globalism, after its hideous history, is a good thing, I do not know.

5

Habit gives endurance, and fatigue is the best night cap.

5

About Jamaica Kincaid

Quotes 149 sayings
Profession Novelist
Birthday October 16

People think if you describe someone with glistening brown skin you're writing about race, as if the whole of the African diaspora is in someone's brown skin.

5

In a way, a garden is the most useless of creations, the most slippery of creations: it is not like a painting or a piece of sculpture-it won't accrue value as time goes on. Time is its enemy' time passing is merely the countdown for the parting between garden and gardener.

4

Every native of every place is a potential tourist, and every tourist is a native of somewhere. Every native everywhere lives a life of overwhelming and crushing banality and boredom and desperation and depression, and every deed, good and bad, is an attempt to forget this.

4

If I actually ran the world, I'd do it from the kitchen.

It's not anything deliberate or a statement or anything, that's just how I understand things. It's arranged along informal lines.

4

Race as a subject only comes about because of what I look like.

If I say something truthfully, people say "Oh, she's so angry." If I write about a married person who lives in Vermont, it becomes "Oh, she's autobiographical."

4

Here I am, a product of something really vicious, product of the Atlantic slave trade. And yet, I give nary a thought to some of the awful things happening right now in the world.

3

I used to want to be a backup singer. Not a lead singer, because I really can't sing.

3

But you know, where did the Brontes go to college? Where did George Eliot go to college? Where did Thomas Paine or Thomas Jefferson or George Washington go? Did George Washington go to college? This idea which we now have that people ought to have these credentials is really ridiculous. Where did Homer go to college?

3

Friendship is a simple thing, and yet complicated;

friendship is on the surface, something natural, something taken for granted, and yet underneath one could find worlds.

2

Everything I do is because of writing.

If I go for a walk, it's because I'm thinking of writing. I go look at flowers, I go look at the garden, I go look at a museum, but it's all coming back to writing.

2

I didn't really understand racism because I grew up in an all-black society, so I didn't see how it was possible not to like me!

1

Love and hatred don't take turns; they exist side by side at the same time. And one's duty, one's obligation every day, is to choose to follow the nobler one.

1

The past is a room full of baggage and rubbish and sometimes things that are of use, but if they are of real use, I have kept them.

1

One doesn't have to pursue unhappiness.

It comes to you. You come into the world screaming. You cry when you're born because your lungs expand. You breathe. I think that's really kind of significant. You come into the world crying, and it's a sign that you're alive.

1

Sometimes when someone says something stupid, my friends and I just read the reviews out loud and collapse with laughter at the stupidity of it all.

1

I think life is difficult and that's that.

I am not at all - absolutely not at all - interested in the pursuit of happiness. I am not interested in the pursuit of positivity. I am interested in pursuing a truth, and the truth often seems to be not happiness but its opposite.

1

The space between the idea of something and its reality is always wide and deep and dark. The longer they are kept apart—idea of thing, reality of thing—the wider the width, the deeper the depth, the thicker and darker the darkness.

1

I like cooking, but I think someone else ought to do the dishes.

0

No matter how happy I had been in the past I do not long for it.

The present is always the moment for which I love.

0

...yet a memory cannot be trusted, for so much of the experience of the past is determined by the experience of the present.

0

He must have smiled at me, though I don't really know, but I don't like to think that I would love someone who hadn't first smiled at me.

0

It was hollow, my triumph, I could feel that, but I held on to it just the same.

0

Tomorrow exists even though I may not exist in it.

0

When once I got to America I fell in love with hippie culture, and I've always wanted to live in the country and grow organic vegetables.

0

I've written a book about my mother, and I don't remember anyone going to Antigua or calling up my mother and verifying her life. There is something about this book that drives people mad with the autobiographical question.

0

"Race." I really can't understand it as anything other than something people say. The people who have said that you and I are both "black" and therefore deserve a certain kind of interaction with the world, they make race. I can't take them seriously.

0

The resistance to my work, and to my way of writing, has been there from the beginning. The first things I wrote were these short short stories collected in At the Bottom of the River, and at least three of them are one sentence long. They were printed in The New Yorker, over the objections of many of the editors in the fiction department.

0

There's a difference between bravery and rash stupidity.

0

I think a woman is powerless if she cannot freely claim the right to her reproductive capacity. Society can talk about anything it likes, except a woman's reproductive existence.

0

I've never gotten used to winter and never will.

0

What distinguished my life from my brother's is that my mother didn't like me.

When I became a woman, I seemed to repel her.

0

I wrote home to say how lovely everything was, and I used flourishing words and phrases, as if I were living life in a greeting card - the kind that has a satin ribbon on it, and quilted hearts and roses, and is expected to be so precious to the person receiving it that the manufacturer has placed a leaf of plastic on the front to protect it.

0

The thing we call romance is a diversion from something truer, which is life.

0

A piece of cloth that is called "linen" has more validity than calling you and me "black" or "negro." "Cotton" has more validity as cotton than yours and my being "black."

0

I loved Charlotte Bronte when I was little, and I wanted to be Charlotte Bronte the way people want to be a princess.

0

It is sad that unless you are born a god, your life,from its very beginning, is a mystery to you.

0

I write out of defiance.

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