Anna Quindlen quotes

  • The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Confidence #Letting Go #Being Yourself

  • My sister is a public school teacher. She makes far far less money than I do, and gets almost no public attention for her work. Yet I believe what she does is infinitely more important and more difficult than what I do.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Teacher #Believe #School

  • Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Travel #Reading #Book

  • New York is a city where it's particularly hard to be poor, not only because everything costs twice as much as it does elsewhere but because over-the-top affluence is part of its identity.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #New York #Cities #Identity

  • I was doing the family grocery shopping accompanied by two children, an event I hope to see included in the Olympics in the near future.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Children #Shopping #Two

  • Reading is another thing that has made me more human by exposing me to worlds I might never have entered and people I might never meet.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Reading #People #World

  • I would be the most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Children #Thinking #People

  • There's no greater happiness than doing something every day that you love, that you feel you do in a satisfactory fashion, and which both supports and gives you time to support your family. I felt so lucky to have all that.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Fashion #Giving #Support

  • I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make my marriage vows mean what they say. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Marriage #Husband #Mean

  • I've been a feminist since I was a teenager, but originally it was because I wanted to make the world a better place for me.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Teenager #Feminist #World

  • I got a fortune cookie that said, "To remember is to understand." I have never forgotten it. A good judge remembers what it was like to be a lawyer. A good editor remembers being a writer. A good parent remembers what it was like to be a child.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Life #Children #Editors

  • There is a little boy inside the man who is my brother... Oh, how I hated that little boy. And how I love him too.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Inspirational #Brother #Sibling

  • You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Inspirational #Design #Firsts

  • When you really want to say no, say no. You can't do everything - or at least not well.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Want #Habit #Wells

  • All parents should be aware that when they mock or curse gay people, they may be mocking or cursing their own child.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Children #Gay #People

  • [In the aftermath of death] Small talk feels too small, big talk too enormous.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Aftermath #Bigs #Enormous

  • Whether talking about addiction, taxation [on cigarettes] or education [about smoking], there is always at the center of the conversation an essential conundrum: How come we're selling this deadly stuff anyway?
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Talking #Addiction #Smoking

  • Look back, to slavery, to suffrage, to integration and one thing is clear. Fashions in bigotry come and go. The right thing lasts.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Fashion #Looks #Racist

  • But it's important, while we are supporting lessons in respecting others, to remember that many of our youngest kids need to learn to respect themselves. You learn your worth from the way you are treated.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Respect #Kids #Important

  • Your children make it impossible to regret your past. They're its finest fruits. Sometimes the only ones.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Children #Regret #Past

  • Not writing at all leads to nothing.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Writing

  • A life of unremitting caution, without the carefree - or even, occasionally, the careless - may turn out to be half a life.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Inspirational #May #Half

  • There is a lot of talk now about metal detectors and gun control. Both are good things. But they are no more a solution than forks and spoons are a solution to world hunger.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Gun #Spoons #World

  • The victim mentality may be the last uncomplicated thing about life in America.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #America #May #Lasts

  • This is how I learn most of what I know about my children and their friends: by sitting in the driver's seat and keeping quiet.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Children #Sitting #Keeping Quiet

  • Ideas are only lethal if you suppress and don't discuss them. Ignorance is not bliss, it's stupid. Banning books shows you don't trust your kids to think and you don't trust yourself to be able to talk to them.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Trust #Stupid #Book

  • I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that this is not a dress rehersal, and that today is the only guarantee you get.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Life #Journey #Dresses

  • Maybe I had three children in the first place so I wouldn't ever have to play board games. In my religion, martyrs die.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Children #Games #Play

  • If an opportunity scares you, that's God's way of saying you should jump at it.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Life #Opportunity #Starting Over

  • All of us want to do well. But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Done #Want #Enough

  • A man who builds his own pedestal had better use strong cement.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Wisdom #Strong #Men

  • When you leave college, there are thousands of people out there with the same degree you have; when you get a job, there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Jobs #Inspirational Life #College

  • Get a life. A real life. Not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Real #House #Next

  • People always blame the girl; she should have said no. A monosyllable, but conventional wisdom has always been that boys can't manage it.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Girl #Wisdom #Boys

  • Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Ideas #Literature #Dough

  • Even as we enumerate their shortcomings, the rigor of raising children ourselves makes clear to us our mothers' incredible strength. We fear both. If they are not strong, who will protect us? If they are not imperfect, how can we equal them?
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Mother #Strong #Children

  • The great motherhood friendships are the ones in which two women can admit [how difficult mothering is] quietly to each other, over cups of tea at a table sticky with spilled apple juice and littered with markers without tops.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Motherhood #Two #Apples

  • Speech is the voice of the heart.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Heart #Voice #Speech

  • Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won’t happen. We have to teach ourselves how to make room for them, to love them, and to live, really live.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Life #Long #Would Be

  • The life you have led doesn't need to be the only life you have.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Inspirational #Funny #Life

  • the joy of someone who had been a reader all her life, whose world had been immeasurably enlarged by the words of others.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Joy #World #Reader

  • Reading has always been my home, my sustenance, my great invincible companion. "Book love," Trollope called it. "It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live." Yet of all the many things in which we recognize some universal comfort...reading seems to be the one in which the comfort is most undersung...
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Book #Reading #Home

  • The beginning and the end are never really the journey of discovery for me. It is the middle that remains a puzzle until well into the writing. That's how life is most of the time, isn't it? You know where you are and where you hope to wind up. It's the getting there that's challenging.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Writing #Journey #Discovery

  • Trying to be perfect may be inevitable for people who are smart and ambitious and interested in the world and its good opinion...What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Giving Up #Smart #People

  • While we pay lip service to the virtues of reading, the truth is that there is still in our culture something that suspects those who read too much, whatever reading too much means, of being lazy, aimless dreamers, people who need to grow up and come outside to where real life is, who think themselves superior in their separateness.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Growing Up #Real #Reading

  • The voices of conformity speak so loudly. Don't listen to them. No one does the right thing out of fear. If you ever utter the words, 'We've always done it that way,' I urge you to wash out your mouth with soap.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Voice #Doe #Done

  • Figuring out who you are is the whole point of the human experience.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Daughter #Mother #Human Experience

  • In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds but into my own. I learned who I was and who I wanted to be, what I might aspire to, and what I might dare to dream about my world and myself.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Dream #Book #Other Worlds

  • Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. The second is only part of the first.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Graduation #Two #Firsts

  • You are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life ... Your entire life ... Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Heart #Soul #Mind

  • [After my mother died, I had a feeling that was] not unlike the homesickness that always filled me for the first few days when I went to stay at my grandparents'' house, and even, I was stunned to discover, during the first few months of my freshman year at college. It was not really the home my mother had made that I yearned for. But I was sick in my soul for that greater meaning of home that we understand most purely when we are children, when it is a metaphor for all possible feelings of security, of safety, of what is predictable, gentle, and good in life.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Mother #Children #Home

  • Life is not so much about beginnings and endings as it is about going on and on and on. It is about muddling through the middle.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Literature #Life Is #Middle

  • After all those years as a woman hearing 'not thin enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not this enough, not that enough,' almost overnight I woke up one morning and thought, 'I'm enough.'
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Morning #Smart #Women

  • A finished person is a boring person.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Book #Reading #Boring

  • If you want something, it will elude you. If you do not want something, you will get ten of it in the mail.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Literature #Want #Mail

  • I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Life #Beach #Ocean

  • In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Travel #Book #Reading

  • We read in bed because reading is halfway between life and dreaming, our own consciousness in someone else's mind.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Dream #Reading #Mind

  • Our love of lockstep is our greatest curse, the source of all that bedevils us. It is the source of homophobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism, terrorism, bigotry of every variety and hue, because it tells us there is one right way to do things, to look, to behave, to feel, when the only right way is to feel your heart hammering inside you and to listen to what its timpani is saying.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Xenophobia #Heart #Racism

  • I wondered why I hadn't loved that day more, why I hadn't savored every bit of it...why I hadn't known how good it was to live so normally, so everyday. But you only know that, I suppose, after it's not normal and every day any longer.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Everyday #Normal

  • Every story has already been told. Once you've read Anna Karenina, Bleak House, The Sound and the Fury, To Kill a Mockingbird and A Wrinkle in Time, you understand that there is really no reason to ever write another novel. Except that each writer brings to the table, if she will let herself, something that no one else in the history of time has ever had.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Inspirational Life #Writing #Wrinkles

  • The greatest public health threat for many American women is the men they live with.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Health #Men #Usa

  • Here is one of the worst things about having someone you love die: It happens again every single morning.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Morning #Someone You Love #Worst

  • I don't know what I would do in the world without [female friends] for advice, for comfort, for simply knowing that there is someone out there who knows me as I am, and loves me despite and because of it.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Mom #Knowing #Advice

  • Being a reporter is as much a diagnosis as a job description.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Jobs #Media #Diagnosis

  • Look around at the azaleas making fuchsia star bursts in spring; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black sky on a cold night. And realize that life is glorious, and that you have no business taking it for granted.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Stars #Spring #Moon

  • So carry your courage in an easily accessible place, the way you do your cellphone or your wallet. You may still falter or fail, but you always know that you pushed hard and aimed high. Take a leap of faith. Fear not. Courage is the ultimate career move.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Moving #Careers #Leap Of Faith

  • WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE WOMEN THAT HAVE MADE A REAL DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD THROUGHOUT HISTORY, WHAT THEY’VE DONE HAS ALMOST ALWAYS BEEN DEFINED BY FEARLESSNESS. STOP LOOKING OVER YOUR SHOULDER - THERE’S NOBODY WHO MATTERS BACK THERE.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Real #Differences #Over You

  • We don't do ambivalence well in America. We do courage of our convictions. We do might makes right. Ambivalence is French. Certainty is American.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #America #Might #Conviction

  • So much of what you take for granted is the bedrock of happiness.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Happiness #Granted

  • When men do the dishes, it's called helping. When women do the dishes, it is called life.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Men #House #Helping

  • People who are knowledgeable about poetry sometimes discuss it in that knowing, rather hateful way in which oenophiles talk about wine: robust, delicate, muscular. This has nothing to do with how most of us experience it, the heart coming around the corner and unexpectedly running into the mind. Of all the words that have stuck to the ribs of my soul, poetry has been the most filling.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Running #Heart #Wine

  • The age of technology has both revived the use of writing and provided ever more reasons for its spiritual solace. Emails are letters, after all, more lasting than phone calls, even if many of them r 2 cursory 4 u.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Spiritual #Writing #Technology

  • It often seems, looking back, that the unexpected comes to define us, the paths we didn't see coming and may have wandered down by mistake. The older we get the more willing we are to follow those, to surprise ourselves.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Mistake #May #Path

  • Reading is not simply an intellectual pursuit but an emotional and spiritual one. It lights the candle in the hurricane lamp of self; that's why it survives
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Spiritual #Reading #Emotional

  • Fashions in bigotry come and go. The right thing lasts.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Fashion #Lasts #Comes And Goes

  • I only really understand myself, what I'm really thinking and feelings, when I've talked it over with my circle of female friends. When days go by without that connection, I feel like a radio playing in an empty room.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Thinking #Circles #Feelings

  • Decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Building #Enough #Decorating

  • Ask any woman how she makes it through the day, and she may mention her calendar, her to-do lists, her babysitter. But if you push her on how she really makes it through her day, she will mention her girlfriends.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Girlfriend #Calendars #May

  • When an actress takes off her clothes onscreen but a nursing mother is told to leave, what message do we send about the roles of women?
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Mother #Nursing #Clothes

  • Downtime is where we become ourselves, looking into the middle distance, kicking at the curb, lying on the grass or sitting on the stoop and staring at the tedious blue of the summer sky. I don't believe you can write poetry, or compose music, or become an actor without downtime, and plenty of it, a hiatus that passes for boredom but is really the quiet moving of the wheels inside that fuel creativity.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Summer #Distance #Lying

  • People have writer's block not because they can't write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Block #Writing #People

  • Fifty years ago, teachers said their top discipline problems were talking, chewing gum, making noise, and running in the halls. The current list, by contrast, sounds like a cross between a rap sheet and the seven deadly sins.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Running #Teacher #Rap

  • If God is watching us, as some believers suggest, as though we were a television show and God had a lot of free time, the deity would surely be bemused by how dumbed-down devotion has sometimes become in this so-called modern era. How might an omnipotent being with the long view of history respond to those who visit the traveling exhibit of a grilled-cheese sandwich , sold on eBay, that is said to bear the image of the Virgin Mary? It certainly argues against intelligent design , or at least intelligent design in humans .
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Intelligent #Views #Ebay

  • [President Johnson] had the political will to say that having one in five Americans living in the kind of abject conditions their fellow citizens associated with Third World countries and the novels of Dickens was as dangerous as any battlefield enemy.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Country #Political #Enemy

  • part of the problem with a war on poverty today is that many Americans have decided that being poor is a character defect, not an economic condition.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #War #Character #Today

  • An election marks the end of the affair; it puts paid to the seduction of the many by the few. Pretty words, fulsome promises. We wind up married, but to whom, to what? We cannot always predict with certainty the future leader from the winning candidate. Some men grow in the job; others are diminished by its demands and its grandeur.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Jobs #Winning #Men

  • being a parent is not transaction ... we do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: we are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Strong #Giving #Parent

  • Testosterone does not have to be toxic.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Men #Toxic #Doe

  • A safety net of small white lies can be the bedrock of a successful marriage. You wouldn't believe how cheaply I can do a kitchen renovation.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Marriage #Lying #Believe

  • Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Long #Pieces #Life Is

  • the most sacred business of judges is not to ratify the will of the majority but to protect the minority from its tyranny.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Justice #Judging #Majority

  • I don't understand how people learn to live in the world if they haven't had siblings. Everything I learned about negotiation, territoriality, coexistence, dislike, inbred differences and love despite knowledge I learned from my four younger siblings ...
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Sibling #Differences #People

  • Women writers of all people should know better than to pigeonhole women, put them in little groups, the smart one, the sweet one.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Sweet #Smart #People

  • The truth about your own life is not always easy to accept, and sometimes hasn't even occurred to you.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Sometimes #Life Is #Easy

  • I can't think of anything to write about except families. They are a metaphor for every other part of society.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Family #Writing #Thinking

  • There's a certain kind of conversation you have from time to time at parties in New York about a new book. The word "banal" sometimes rears its by-now banal head; you say "underedited," I say "derivative." The conversation goes around and around various literary criticisms, and by the time it moves on one thing is clear: No one read the book; we just read the reviews.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #New York #Party #Moving

  • Over the last twenty years, we've changed the world just enough to make it radically different, but not enough to make it work.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Years #Twenties #Different

  • You're like a cake when you're young. You can't rush it or it will fall, or just turn out wrong. Rising takes patience, and heat.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #Fall #Cake #Rising

  • what we call things matters. ... The words we use, and how we perceive those words, reflect how we value, or devalue, people, places, and things.
    -- Anna Quindlen

    #People #Use #Matter