toni morrison quotes
Book and Movie Review,  Lifestyle

45 Toni Morrison’s Quotes on Writing, Love, and Life to Inspire You

Born Chloe Ardelia Wofford, Toni Morrison, Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist died on Monday from complications of Pneumonia at the age of 88.

Toni Morrison is one of the most brilliant minds that ever walked the earth.

Hers was a life well-lived. Even though she has departed the world physically, her impact will forever be felt, from generation to generation.

One of her literary legacies are her inspiring quotes on different facets of life – writing, love, feminism, freedom, etc.

Below are 45 of Toni Morrison’s Quotes on Writing, Life, and Love to Inspire You




Toni Morrison Quotes 

Writing

”I think some aspects of writing can be taught. Obviously, you can’t teach vision or talent. But you can help with comfort.”

 

”Everything I’ve ever done, in the writing world, has been to expand articulation, rather than to close it.”

 

”People say to write about what you know. I’m here to tell you, no one wants to read that, cos you don’t know anything. So write about something you don’t know. And don’t be scared, ever.”

 

”I’m not entangled in shaping my work according to other people’s views of how I should have done it.”

 

”The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.”

 

”If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

 

”I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.”

 

”I would solve a lot of literary problems just thinking about a character in the subway, where you can’t do anything anyway.”

 

”Make up a story… For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.”

 

”Writing is really a way of thinking–not just feeling but thinking about things that are disparate, unresolved, mysterious, problematic or just sweet.”




”I didn’t plan on either children or writing. Once I realized that writing satisfied me in some enormous way, I had to make adjustments. The writing was always marginal in terms of time when the children were small. But it was major in terms of my head. I always thought that women could do a lot of things. All the women I knew did nine or ten things at one time. I always understood that women worked, they went to church, they managed their houses, they managed somebody else’s houses, they raised their children, they raised somebody else’s children, they taught. I wouldn’t say it’s not hard, but why wouldn’t it be? All important things are hard.”

toni morrison

”For me, Art is the restoration of order. It may discuss all sort of terrible things, but there must be satisfaction at the end. A little bit of hunger, but also satisfaction.”

 

”There’s a difference between writing for a living and writing for
life. If you write for a living, you make enormous compromises….
If you write for life, you’ll work hard; you’ll do what’s honest,
not what pays.”

 

”I write the way women have babies. You don’t know it’s going to be like that. If you did, there’s no way you would go through with it.”

 

”I feel totally curious and alive and in control. And almost … magnificent, when I write.”

 

”I don’t believe any real artists have ever been non-political. They may have been insensitive to this particular plight or insensitive to that, but they were political, because that’s what an artist is―a politician.”

 

”You need intelligence, and you need to look. You need a gaze, a wide gaze, penetrating and roving — that’s what’s useful for art.”

 

Life

‘If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.”

 

”You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”

 

”At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.”

 

”Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”

 

”Anger … it’s a paralyzing emotion … you can’t get anything done. People sort of think it’s an interesting, passionate, and igniting feeling — I don’t think it’s any of that — it’s helpless … it’s absence of control — and I need all of my skills, all of the control, all of my powers … and anger doesn’t provide any of that — I have no use for it whatsoever.”

 

”I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”

 

”You are your best thing”




‘Lonely, ain’t it?
Yes, but my lonely is mine. Now your lonely is somebody else’s. Made by somebody else and handed to you. Ain’t that something? A secondhand lonely.”

 

”Anger is better. There is a sense of being in anger. A reality and presence. An awareness of worth. It is a lovely surging.”

 

”To get to a place where you could love anything you chose–not to need permission for desire–well now _that_ was freedom.”

 

”If you’re going to hold someone down you’re going to have to hold on by the other end of the chain. You are confined by your own repression.”

 

”What’s the world for you if you can’t make it up the way you want it.”

 

”To be given dominion over another is a hard thing; to wrest dominion over another is a wrong thing; to give dominion of yourself to another is a wicked thing.”

 

”No matter how hard we try to ignore it, the mind always knows truth and wants clarity.”

 

”This is the time for every artist in every genre to do what he or she does loudly and consistently. It doesn’t matter to me what your position is. You’ve got to keep asserting the complexity and the originality of life, and the multiplicity of it, and the facets of it. This is about being a complex human being in the world, not about finding a villain. This is no time for anything else than the best that you’ve got.”

 

”What you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”

 

”I want to feel what I feel. What’s mine. Even if it’s not happiness, whatever that means. Because you’re all you’ve got.”

 

”When fear rules, obedience is the only survival choice.”

 

”Correct what you can; learn from what you can’t.”

 

”I’m interested in the way in which the past affects the present and I think that if we understand a good deal more about history, we automatically understand a great more about contemporary life.”

 

”Death is a sure thing but life is just as certain. Problem is you can’t know in advance.”




‘We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

 

”Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another – physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought.”

 

”Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do.”

 

”There is really nothing more to say — except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.”

 

Love

Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved. The lover alone possesses his gift of love. The loved one is shorn, neutralized, frozen in the glare of the lover’s inward eye.”

 

“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.”

 

”Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it.”

 

”You can’t own a human being. You can’t lose what you don’t own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don’t, do you? And neither does he. You’re turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t value you more than you value yourself.”

 

”It is sheer good fortune to miss somebody long before they leave you.”

 

”You don’t have to love me but you damn well have to respect me.”

 

”Something that is loved is never lost.”




 

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