Zadie Smith quotes

  • This, after all, was the month in which families began tightening and closing and sealing; from Thanksgiving to the New Year, everybody's world contracted, day by day, into the microcosmic single festive household, each with its own rituals and obsessions, rules and dreams. You didn't feel you could call people. They didn't feel they could phone you. How does one cry for help from these seasonal prisons?
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Dream #New Year #Phones

  • When people use that stream of consciousness, it's kind of just a term they use for anything that looks slightly different on the page.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #People #Looks #Use

  • Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Writing #Space #People

  • I'm always interested in the way people speak and move in their environment, in a very particular environment. I'm never interested in writing a kind of neutral, universal novel that could be set anywhere. To me, the any novel is a local thing always.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Moving #Writing #People

  • Time is how you spend your love.
    -- Zadie Smith

  • I'm just interested in women's friendships generally. It always seems to me, and this is just my pet theory, that women are kind of at the sharp end of capitalism one way or another. Mainly because they buy everything. In a practical sense, women buy most things. They're always comparing - to friends, to famous people, to other people. An obsessive act of comparison.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #People #Pet #Way

  • The past is always tense, the future perfect.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Future #Past #Perfect

  • A lot of women, when they're young, feel they have very good friends, and find later on that friendship is complicated. It's easy to be friends when everyone's 18. It gets harder the older you get, as you make different life choices, as people say in America. A lot of women's friendships begin to founder.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Good Friend #America #People

  • Don’t romanticise your ‘vocation’. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle’. All that matters is what you leave on the page.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Writing #Pages #Matter

  • The arena of women's lives is somewhat more intimate. If a woman goes out with an incredibly attractive man and they break up, that woman is not more attractive to men. It's completely irrelevant to them. That's an example of the way women's minds work.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Men #Mind #Way

  • Every moment happens twice: inside and outside, and they are two different histories.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Life #Two #Different

  • I was brought up with the sense that I was absolutely no different from my brothers. I went to college thinking I was absolutely no different from the men in college. But that's not true. I'm fundamentally different. The problem was not being able to understand difference and equality at the same time. It's something that we can't seem to comprehend. You can't state difference and also state equality. We have to state sameness to understand equality. It's a mistake.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Brother #Mistake #College

  • Don't confuse honours with achievement.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Achievement #Honour

  • Pulchritude--beauty where you would least suspect it, hidden in a word that looked like it should signify a belch or a skin infection.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Skins #Should #Infection

  • She wore her sexuality with an older woman's ease, and not like an awkward purse, never knowing how to hold it, where to hang it, or when to just put it down.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Women #Knowing #Awkward

  • Nowadays, I know the true reason I read is to feel less alone, to make a connection with a consciousness other than my own.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Connections #Consciousness #Reason

  • Learning how to be a good reader is what makes you a writer.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Reader

  • I am the sole author of the dictionary that defines me.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Sole #Dictionary

  • If religion is the opiate of the people, tradition is an even more sinister analgesic, simply because it rarely appears sinister. If religion is a tight band, a throbbing vein, and a needle, tradition is a far homelier concoction: poppy seeds ground into tea; a sweet cocoa drink laced with cocaine; the kind of thing your grandmother might have made.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Sweet #Grandmother #People

  • Work on a computer that is disconnected from the ­internet.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Computer #Internet

  • Try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Writing #Enemy #Trying

  • And now the moment. Such a moment has a peculiar character. It is brief and temporal indeed, like every moment; it is transient as all moments are; it is past, like every moment in the next moment. And yet it is decisive, and filled with the eternal. Such a moment ought to have a distinctive name; let us call it the Fullness of Time.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Character #Past #Names

  • Women often have a great need to portray themselves as sympathetic and pleasing, but we're also dark people with dark thoughts.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Dark #People #Needs

  • You can't state difference and also state equality. We have to state sameness to understand equality.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Differences #States #Sameness

  • When a human being becomes a set of data on a website like Facebook, he or she is reduced. Everything shrinks. Individual character. Friendships. Language. Sensibility.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Character #Data #Language

  • I am very selfish, really. I lived for love.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Selfish

  • An essential part of power is the freedom not to think too deeply
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Thinking #Essentials

  • Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand - but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Sadness #Writing #Hands

  • We are so convinced of the goodness of ourselves, and the goodness of our love, we cannot bear to believe that there might be something more worthy of love than us, more worthy of worship. Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Believe #Water #Our Love

  • The greatest lie ever told about love is that it sets you free.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Love #Lying #African American

  • Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Water #Cards #Greeting Card

  • We cannot be all the writers all the time. We can only be who we are. Which leads me to my second point: writers do not write what they want, they write what they can.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Writing #Want #Who We Are

  • Are there other people who, when watching a documentary set in a prison, secretly think, as I have, 'Wish I had all that time to read'?
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Thinking #People #Wish

  • I never attended a creative writing class in my life. I have a horror of them; most writers groups moonlight as support groups for the kind of people who think that writing is therapeutic. Writing is the exact opposite of therapy.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Writing #Thinking #Opposites

  • When I write I am trying to express my way of being in the world. This is primarily a process of elimination: once you have removed all the dead language, the second-hand dogma, the truths that are not your own but other people's, the mottos, the slogans, the out-and-out lies of your nation, the myths of your historical moment - once you have removed all that warps experience into a shape you do not recognise and do not believe in - what you are left with is something approximating the truth of your own conception.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Lying #Believe #Writing

  • You can feel bad... I mean, that's not illegal.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Mean #Illegal #Feels

  • But surely to tell these tall tales and others like them would be to spread the myth, the wicked lie, that the past is always tense and the future, perfect.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Lying #Past #Perfect

  • Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand - but tell it.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Hands #Veils #Telling The Truth

  • It's a feeling of happiness that knocks me clean out of adjectives. I think sometimes that the best reason for writing novels is to experience those four and a half hours after you write the final word.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Writing #Thinking #Feelings

  • The end is simply the beginning of an even longer story.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Stories #Ends

  • The library was the place I went to find out what there was to know. It was absolutely essential.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Library #Essentials

  • You become a different writer when you approach a short story. When things are not always having to represent other things, you find real human beings begin to cautiously appear on your pages.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Real #Insightful #Stories

  • The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Writing #Might #Reason

  • ...They cannot escape their history any more than you yourself can lose your shadow.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Shadow

  • First rule of writing: When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Children #Book #Writing

  • To a novelist, fluidity is the ultimate good omen; suddenly difficult problems are simply solved, intractable structural knots loosen themselves, and you come upon the key without even recognizing that this is what you hold.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Keys #Novelists #Fluidity

  • I do my best work under pressure, so I’ll nick an artery, and my husband isn’t allowed to stanch the bleeding till I’ve banged out a chapter.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Husband #Bleeding #Pressure

  • You're a library of me.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Library

  • Where I come from," said Archie, "a bloke likes to get to know a girl before he marries her." "Where you come from it is customary to boil vegetables until they fall apart. This does not mean," said Samad tersely, "that it is a good idea.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Girl #Fall #Mean

  • People don't settle for people. They resolve to be with them. It takes faith. You draw a circle in the sand and agree to stand in it and believe in it.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Believe #Circles #People

  • It seems to me,' said Magid finally, as the moon became clearer than the sun, 'that you have tried to love a man as if he were an island and you were shipwrecked and you could mark the land with an X. It seems to me it is too late in the day for all that.' Then he gave her a kiss on the forehead that felt like a baptism and she wept like a baby.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Baby #Kissing #Moon

  • These days, it feels to me like you make a devil's pact when you walk into this country. You hand over your passport at the check-in, you get stamped, you want to make a little money, get yourself started... but you mean to go back! Who would want to stay? Cold, wet, miserable; terrible food, dreadful newspapers - who would want to stay? In a place where you are never welcomed, only tolerated. Just tolerated. Like you are an animal finally house-trained.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Country #Mean #Animal

  • No matter what anyone says, suicide takes guts. It's for heroes and martyrs, truly vainglorious men. Archie was none of these. He was a man whose significance in the Greater Scheme of Things could be figured along familiar ratios: Pebble : Beach Raindrop : Ocean Needle : Haystack
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Suicide #Beach #Ocean

  • It's easy to confuse a woman for a philosophy
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Philosophy #Easy

  • I find it impossible to experience either pride or shame over accidents of genetics in which I had no active part. I'm not necessarily proud to be female. I am not even proud to be human—I only love to be so.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Pride #Proud #Female

  • This is what a woman is: unadorned, after children and work and age, and experience-these are the marks of living.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Children #Age #Mark

  • It’s such a confidence trick, writing a novel. The main person you have to trick into confidence is yourself. This is hard to do alone.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Writing #Tricks #Novel

  • I love to dance, and sing - in the shower, not in public. Im too old to go raving, but my fondest memories are of that kind of thing - dancing, with lots of people, outside if possible.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Memories #People #Dancing

  • You don't have favourites among your children, but you do have allies.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Children #Allies #Your Children

  • A reality shaped around your own desires -- there is something sociopathic in that ambition.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Ambition #Reality #Desire

  • But sometimes it's like you just meet someone and you just know that you're totally connected, and this person is, like, your brother - or your sister. Even if they don't, like, recognize it, you feel it. And in a lot of ways it don't matter if they do or they don't see that for what it is - all you can do is put the feeling out there. That's your duty. Then you just wait and see what comes back to you. That's the deal.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Brother #Waiting #Feelings

  • I cannot believe homosexuality is that much fun. Heterosexuality certainly is not.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Fun #Believe #Heterosexuality

  • Sometimes Allah punishes and sometimes men have to do it, and it is a wise man who knows if it's Allah's turn or his own.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Wise #Men #Sometimes

  • Each couple is its own vaudeville act.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Couple #Vaudeville

  • All tastes are expressions of belief.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Expression #Taste #Belief

  • You must live life with the full knowledge that your actions will remain. We are creatures of consequence.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Live Life #Action #Creatures

  • Under every friendship there is a difficult sentence that must be said, in order that the friendship can be survived.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Order #Said #Difficult

  • He had her in his heart, but not always in his mind.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Heart #Mind

  • The nineties, ecstatic decade!
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Ecstatic

  • It was in the air, or so it seemed to Kiki, this hatred of women and their bodies- it seeped in with every draught in the house; people brought it home on their shoes, they breathed it in off their newspapers. There was no way to control it.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Home #Air #Shoes

  • A writer's duty is to register what it is like for him or her to be in the world.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Writing #World #Duty

  • It's still easier to find the correct Hoover bag than to find one pure person, one pure faith, on the globe.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Bags #Easier #Hoover

  • The choices a writer makes within a tradition - preferring Milton to Moliere, caring for Barth over Barthelme - constitute some of the most personal information we can have about him.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Caring #Artist #Choices

  • Revelation is where all crazy people end up. It's the last stop on the nutso express.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Crazy #People #Lasts

  • Step back from your Facebook Wall for a moment: Doesn't it, suddenly, look a little ridiculous? Your life in this format?
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Wall #Looks #Littles

  • (Feedback) People become addicted to it. That’s why journalism is so popular, because you want to hear, every day, what people think of what you just wrote. I think a little patience on that front can be good, too.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Thinking #People #Want

  • No fiction, no myths, no lies, no tangled webs - this is how Irie imagined her homeland. Because homeland is one of the magical fantasy words like unicorn and soul and infinity that have now passed into language.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Lying #Tangled #Soul

  • When the male organ of a man stands erect, two thirds of his intelect go away. And one third of his religion.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Men #Two #Going Away

  • Every genuinely literary style, from the high authorial voice to Foster Wallace and his footnotes-within-footnotes, requires the reader to see the world from somewhere in particular, or from many places. So every novelist's literary style is nothing less than an ethical strategy - it's always an attempt to get the reader to care about people who are not the same as he or she is.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Writing #Voice #People

  • Make sure the lubricant is unscented. Don't join fashionable 'schools of thought.' Read everything.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #School #Fashionable

  • The golden age of Luncheon Vouchers ended ten yearsago. For ten years Mickey had been saying, "The goldenage of Luncheon Vouchers is over." And that's what Archieloved about O'Connell's. Everything was remembered,nothing was lost. History was never revised orreinterpreted, adapted or whitewashed. It was as solid andas simple as the encrusted egg on the clock.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Love #Simple #Years

  • You don't come to live here unless the delusion of a reality shaped around your own desires isn't a strong aspect of your personality. A reality shaped around your own desires - there is something sociopathic in that ambition.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Strong #New York #Ambition

  • In the end, your past is not my past and your truth is not my truth and your solution - is not my solution.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Past #Truth Is #Ends

  • She did what girls generally do when they don't feel the part: she dressed it instead.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Girl #Feels

  • She had that thing most people don't have - curiosity. She might not have always got the right answers, but she wanted to ask the questions. It's very hard if you are interested in ideas and all that, ideas and the philosophies of the past, it's very hard to find someone around here to really talk to. That's the tragedy of the thing really I mean, when you think about it. Certainly I can't find anyone around here to talk to anymore. And for a woman it's even harder you see. They can feel very trapped - because of the patriarchy. I do feel everyone needs to have these little chats now and then.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Philosophy #Mean #Past

  • The secret to editing your work is simple: you need to become its reader instead of its writer.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Simple #Editing #Secret

  • The idea that motherhood is inherently somehow a threat to creativity is just absurd.
    -- Zadie Smith

    #Creativity #Motherhood #Ideas