Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didnít.
There is nothing fiercer than a failed artist. The energy remains, but, having no outlet, it implodes in a great black fart of rage which smokes up all the inner windows of the soul. Horrible as successful artists often are, there is nothing crueler or more vain than a failed artist.
If sex and creativity are often seen by dictators as subversive activities, itís because they lead to the knowledge that you own your own body (and with it your own voice), and thatís the most revolutionary insight of all.
No one to blame! . . . That was why most people led lives they hated, with people they hated. . . . How wonderful to have someone to blame! How wonderful to live with oneís nemesis! You may be miserable, but you feel forever in the right. You may be fragmented, but you feel absolved of all the blame for it. Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.
Isnít that the problem? That women have been swindled for centuries into substituting adornment for love, fashion (as it were) for passion? . . . All the cosmetics names seemed obscenely obvious to me in their promises of sexual bliss. They were all firming or uplifting or invigorating. They made you tingle. Or glow. Or feel young. They were prepared with hormones or placentas or royal jelly. All the juice and joy missing in the lives of these women were to be supplied by the contents of jars and bottles. No wonder they would spend twenty dollars for an ounce of face makeup or thirty for a half-ounce of hormone cream. What price bliss? What price sexual ecstasy?
Every country gets the circus it deserves. Spain gets bullfights. Italy gets the Catholic Church. America gets Hollywood.
In a bad marriage, friends are the invisible glue. If we have enough friends, we may go on for years, intending to leave, talking about leaving -- instead of actually getting up and leaving.
Gossip is the opiate of the oppressed.
Men have always detested womenís gossip because they suspect the truth: their measurements are being taken and compared.
Where is Hollywood located? Chiefly between the ears. In that part of the American brain lately vacated by God.
A man assumes that a womanís refusal is just part of a game. Or, at any rate, a lot of men assume that. When a man says no, itís no. When a woman says no, itís yes, or at least maybe. There is even a joke to that effect. And little by little, women begin to believe in this view of themselves.
Perhaps all artists were, in a sense, housewives: tenders of the earth household.
Jealousy is all the fun you think they had. . . .
Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything itís cracked up to be. Thatís why people are so cynical about it. . . . It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you donít risk anything, you risk even more.
There is a rhythm to the ending of a marriage just like the rhythm of a courtship -- only backward. You try to start again but get into blaming over and over. Finally you are both worn out, exhausted, hopeless. Then lawyers are called in to pick clean the corpses. The death has occurred much earlier.
Solitude is un-American.
Back in the days when men were hunters and chestbeaters and women spent their whole lives worrying about pregnancy or dying in childbirth, they often had to be taken against their will. Men complained that women were cold, unresponsive, frigid. . . . They wanted their women wanton. They wanted their women wild. Now women were finally learning to be wanton and wildóand what happened? The men wilted.
Men and women, women and men. It will never work.
Growing up female in America. What a liability! You grew up with your ears full of cosmetic ads, love songs, advice columns, whoreoscopes, Hollywood gossip, and moral dilemmas on the level of TV soap operas. What litanies the advertisers of the good life chanted at you! What curious catechisms!
Friends love misery, in fact. Sometimes, especially if we are too lucky or too successful or too pretty, our misery is the only thing that endears us to our friends.
There is simply no dignified way for a woman to live alone. Oh, she can get along financially perhaps (though not nearly as well as a man), but emotionally she is never left in peace. Her friends, her family, her fellow workers never let her forget that her husbandlessness, her childlessness -- her selfishness, in short -- is a reproach to the American way of life.
Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.
To name oneself is the first act of both the poet and the revolutionary. When we take away the right to an individual name, we symbolically take away the right to be an individual. Immigration officials did this to refugees; husbands routinely do it to wives.
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