Nadine Gordimer quotes

  • The truth isn't always beauty, but the hunger for it is.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Truth #Hunger #Truth Is

  • Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you've made sense of one small area.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Writing #Made #Whole Life

  • It was a miracle; it was all a miracle: and one ought to have known, from the sufferings of saints, that miracles are horror.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Miracle #Suffering #Saint

  • Time is change; we measure its passage by how much things alter.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Aging #Passages

  • The primacy of the word, basis of the human psyche, that has in our age been used for mind-bending persuasion and brain-washing pulp, disgraced by Gobbles and debased by advertising copy, remains a force for freedom that flies out between all bars.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Brain #Mind #Age

  • A desert is a place without expectation.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Expectations #Desert

  • I have failed at many things, but I have never been afraid.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

  • Power is something of which I am convinced there is no innocence this side of the womb.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Power #Sides #Innocence

  • A truly living human being cannot remain neutral.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Truly Living #Humans

  • Writing is making sense of life.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Writing #Make Sense

  • Written words still have the amazing power to bring out the best and worst of human nature
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Human Nature #Worst #Written Word

  • The facts are always less than what really happened.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Facts

  • What is the purpose of writing? For me personally, it is really to explain the mystery of life, and the mystery of life includes, of course, the personal, the political, the forces that make us what we are while there's another force from inside battling to make us something else.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Writing #Political #Purpose

  • There is no moral authority like that of sacrifice.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Sacrifice #Moral #Authority

  • Your whole life you are really writing one book, which is an attempt to grasp the consciousness of your time and place– a single book written from different stages of your ability.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Book #Writing #Different

  • Nothing factual that I write or say will be as truthful as my fiction.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Writing #Fiction #Truthful

  • All worthwhile writing... comes from an individual vision, privately pursued.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Writing #Vision #Individual

  • The creative act is not pure. History evidences it. Sociology extracts it. The writer loses Eden, writes to be read and comes to realize that he is answerable.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Writing #Eden #Creative

  • The solitude of writing is also quite frightening. It's quite close to madness, one just disappears for a day and loses touch.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Writing #Solitude #Madness

  • I'm a candle flame that sways in currents of air you can't see. You need to be the one who steadies me to burn.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Flames #Air #Needs

  • Peace. The upland serenity of high altitude, the openness of grassland without indigenous bush or trees; the greening, yellowing or silver-browning that prevailed, according to season.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Peace #Tree #Serenity

  • You can't be afraid to do good in case evil results.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Evil #Good And Evil #Cases

  • Fiction is a way of exploring possibilities present but undreamt of in the living of a single life.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Single Life #Way #Fiction

  • Disaster is private, in its way, as love is.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Love Is #Tragedy #Way

  • The creative act is not pure. History evidences it. Ideology demands it. Society exacts it.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Creativity #Creative #Demand

  • If you live in Europe . . . things change . . . but continuity never seems to break. You don't have to throw the past away.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Past #Europe #Things Change

  • Well, you know, in the fundamentalist milieu of the Afrikaners, there was a sense that they were a chosen people, that they were bringing civilization to the blacks.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Civilization #People #Wells

  • Mostly I'm interviewed by white people, and identified with white society.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #White #People

  • I shall never write an autobiography, I'm much too jealous of my privacy for that.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Jealous #Writing #Privacy

  • Sentiment is for those who don't know what to do next.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Next #Sentiments

  • Perhaps there is no other way of reaching some understanding of being than through art? Writers themselves don't analyze what they do; to analyze would be to look down while crossing a canyon on a tightrope. To say this is not to mystify the process of writing but to make an image out of the intense inner concentration the writer must have to cross the chasms of the aleatory and make them the word's own, as an explorer plants a flag.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Art #Writing #Understanding

  • Exile as a mode of genius no longer exists; in place of Joyce we have the fragments of work appearing in Index on Censorship.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Genius #Censorship #Fragments

  • Any writer of any worth at all hopes to play only a pocket-torch of light - and rarely, through genius, a sudden flambeau - into the bloody yet beautiful labyrinth of human experience, of being.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Beautiful #Writing #Light

  • in writing, sex doesn't matter; it's the writing that matters.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Sex #Writing #Matter

  • Where do whites fit in the New Africa? Nowhere, I'm inclined to sayand I do believe that it is true that even the gentlest and most westernised Africans would like the emotional idea of the continent entirely without the complication of the presence of the white man for a generation or two. But nowhere, as an answer for us whites, is in the same category as remarks like What's the use of living? in the face of the threat of atomic radiation. We are living; we are in Africa.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Believe #Men #Emotional

  • If one will always have to feel white first, and African second, it would be better not to stay on in Africa
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #White #Firsts #Would Be

  • In various and different circumstances certain objects and individuals are going to turn out to be vital. The wager of survival cannot, by its nature, reveal which, in advance of events.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Survival #Different #Wagers

  • Nothing fades so quickly as what is unchanged.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

  • Keenness of hearing revives when one is alone.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Hearing #Keenness

  • I have learned since that sometimes the things we want most are impossible for us. You may long to come home, yet wander forever.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Home #Long #Forever

  • The function of a writer is to make sense of life. It is such a mystery, it changes all the time, like the light.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Light #Mystery #Function

  • It's absolutely fatal to your writing to think about how your work will be received. It's a betrayal of whatever talent you have.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Betrayal #Writing #Thinking

  • I believe - I know (there are not many things I should care to dogmatize about, on the subject of writing) that writers need solitude, and seek alienation of a kind every day of their working lives. (And remember, they are not even aware when and when not they are working.) ... The tension between standing apart and being fully involved; that is what makes a writer.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Believe #Writing #Solitude

  • In a certain sense a writer is 'selected' by his subject - his subject being the consciousness of his own era.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Eras #Consciousness #Certain

  • a writer doesn't only need the time when he's actually writing - he or she has got to have time to think and time just to let things work out. Nothing is worse for this than society. Nothing is worse for this than the abrasive, if enjoyable, effect of other people.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Writing #Thinking #Work Out

  • Writers themselves don't analyze what they do; to analyze would be to look down while crossing a canyon on a tightrope.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Looks #Would Be #Canyons

  • I never talk about what I'm writing about currently, never. It's private work on your own, no need or obligation to talk about it. Writers are made into performers these days, including myself, but there are some instances in which I will not perform.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Writing #Needs #Made

  • it's impossible to conquer all fear and loss by preparation. There are always sources of desolation that aren't taken into account because no one knows what they will be.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Taken #Loss #Preparation

  • when it comes to their essential faculty as writers, all writers are androgynous beings.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Essentials #Faculty #Androgynous

  • Very often we support change, and then are swept away by the change. I think that...you just make your own response to your own generation. A response adequate to your time.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Change #Thinking #Support

  • Newspapers are horror happening to other people.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #People #Horror #Newspapers

  • Literature is one of the few areas left where black and white feel some identity of purpose; we all struggle under censorship.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Struggle #Black And White #Identity

  • A child understands fear, and the hurt and hate it brings.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Hurt #Children #Hate

  • And this indifference is still very much present in modern South Africa. Just listen to Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer - a representative of the British elite in this country: Afrikaner women are lower than rats, closer related to plants, just fit enough to be raped in an act of genus preservation.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Country #Rats #Winner

  • The process of writing fiction is totally unconscious. It comes from what you are learning, as you live, from within. For me, all writing is a process of discovery. We are looking for the meaning of life. No matter where you are, there are conflicts and dramas everywhere. It is the process of what it means to be a human being; how you react and are reacted upon, these inward and outer pressures. If you are writing with a direct cause in mind, you are writing propaganda. It's fatal for a fiction writer.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Drama #Writing #Mean

  • You can't change a regime on the basis of compassion. There's got to be something harder.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Compassion #Regimes #Harder

  • I cannot live with someone who can't live without me.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

  • Rebirth. I mean by this simply what happens when the child begins to realise the fact that the black does not enter through the white’s front door is not in the same category as the fact that the dead will never come back.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Children #Mean #Doors

  • Success sometimes may be defined as a disaster put on hold. Qualified. Has to be.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #May #Sometimes #Disaster

  • Perhaps the best definition of progress would be the continuing efforts of men and women to narrow the gap between the convenience of the powers that be and the unwritten charter.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Power #Men #Effort

  • Responsibility is what awaits outside the Eden of Creativity.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Responsibility #Creativity #Eden

  • I'm forty-nine but I could be twenty-five except for my face and my legs.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Legs #Nine #Faces

  • Sincerity is never having an idea of oneself.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Ideas #Sincerity #Oneself

  • My answer is: Recognize yourself in others
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Answers

  • The caged eagle become a metaphor for all forms of isolation, the ultimate in imprisonment. A zoo is prison.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Zoos #Eagles #Isolation

  • Books dont need batteries
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Book #Batteries #Needs

  • Everyone ends up moving alone towards the self
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Moving #Self #Ends

  • Afrikaner women are lower than rats, closer related to plants, just fit enough to be raped in an act of genus preservation.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Rats #Fit #Enough

  • In a democracy - even if it is a so-called democracy like our white-?litist one - the greatest veneration one can show the rule of law is to keep a watch on it, and to reserve the right to judge unjust laws and the subversion of the function of the law by the power of the state. That vigilance is the most important proof of respect for the law.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Law #White #Judging

  • There's no tiling moral about beauty.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Beauty #Moral

  • It is not the conscious changes made in their lives by men and women-a new job, a new town, a divorce-which really shape them...but a long slow mutation of emotion, hidden, all-penetrative...
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Jobs #Divorce #Men

  • The tension between standing apart, and being fully involved; that is what makes a writer.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Tension #Standing

  • Art defies defeat by its very existence, representing the celebration of life, in spite of all attempts to degrade and destroy it.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Art #Celebration #Defeat

  • Music has no limits of a life-span.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Limits

  • If people would forget about utopia! When rationalism destroyed heaven and decided to set it up here on earth, that most terrible of all goals entered human ambition. It was clear there'd be no end to what people would be made to suffer for it.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Ambition #Goal #People

  • The country of the tourist pamphlet always is another country, an embarrassing abstraction of the desirable that, thank God, does not exist on this planet, where there are always ants and bad smells and empty Coca-Cola bottles to keep the grubby finger-print of reality upon the beautiful.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Beautiful #Country #Reality

  • It's easier for the former masters to put aside the masks that hid their humanity than for the former slaves to recognise the faces underneath. Or to trust that this is not a new mask these are wearing.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Humanity #Faces #Slave

  • If I dreamt this, while walking, walking in the London streets, the subconscious of each and every other life, past and present, brushing me in passing, what makes it real? Writing it down.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Real #Writing #Past

  • Humans, the only self-regarding animals, blessed or cursed with this torturing higher faculty, have always wanted to know why.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Blessed #Animal #Self

  • Censorship may have to do with literature; but literature has nothing whatever to do with censorship.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Literature #May #Censorship

  • what a writer does is to try to make sense of life. I think that's what writing is, I think that's what painting is. It's seeking that thread of order and logic in the disorder, and the incredible waste and marvelous profligate character of life. What all artists are trying to do is to make sense of life.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Character #Writing #Thinking

  • People give one another things that can't be gift wrapped.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Birthday #People #Giving

  • Perhaps the best way to write is to do so as if one were already dead, afraid of no one's reactions, answerable to no one's views.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Writing #Views #Way

  • From Ernest Hemingway's stories, I learned to listen within my stories for what went unsaid by my characters.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Character #Keys #Stories

  • September 2001. A sunny day in New York. Many of us who are writers were at work on the transformation of life into a poem, story, a chapter of a novel, when terror pounced from the sky, and the world made witness to it.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #New York #Writing #Sky

  • The gap between the committed and the indifferent is a Sahara whose faint trails, followed by the mind's eye only, fade out in sand.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Eye #Mind #Gaps

  • Communists are the last optimists.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Lasts #Communist #Optimist

  • Learning to write sent me falling, falling through the surface of the South African way of life.
    -- Nadine Gordimer

    #Fall #Writing #Way