Women Quotables

“Most women would rather have someone whisper their name at optimum moments than rocket to the moon.”–Merle Shain, Some Men Are More Perfect Than Others

“I touch the future. I teach.”–Christa McAuliffe, Aug. 1985 speech

“I have everything I need, but I have lost the main part.”
-Keri Hulme, The Bone People

“The thing you have to be prepared for is that other people don’t always dream your dream.”–Linda Ronstadt, “Ronstadt Backed into Her Notoriety”

“The artist is bisexual; I’m not necessarily talking about who you choose to sleep with but about how deeply you can enter into both your own psyche and that of someone unlike you.”–Karen Malpede, Interviews with Contemporary Women Playwrights

“Part of teaching is helping students learn how to tolerate ambiguity, consider possibilities, and ask questions that are unanswerable.”
-Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, quoted in A World of Ideas

“Surviving meant being born over and over again.”–Erica Jong, Fear of Flying

“In our rapidly changing society we can count on only two things that will never change. What will never change is the will to change and the fear of change.”–Harriet Goldhor Lerner, The Dance of Intimacy

“I have to protect myself from the toxicity of this culture.”–Kate Braverman, quoted in “From the Tropic of L.A.”

“Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre.”–Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman

“If I could know me, I could know the universe.”–Shirley MacLaine, Dancing in the Light

“The moment of change is the only poem.”–Adrienne Rich, “Images for Godard”

“The liberation of language is rooted in the liberation of ourselves.”–Mary Daly, The Church and the Second Sex

“To me gender is not physical at all, but is altogether insubstantial. It is soul, perhaps, it is talent, it is taste, it is environment, it is how one feels, it is light and shade, it is inner music.”–Jan Morris, Conundrum

“When you don’t read, you don’t write.”–Helen Barolini, The Dream Book

“Cherish your wildness.”
-Maxine Kumin, “You Are in Bear Country”

“I think women need kindness more than love. When one human being is kind to another, it’s a very deep matter.”–Alice Childress, Interviews with Contemporary Women Playwrights

“That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.”–Doris Lessing, The Four-Gated City

“Truth could never be wholly contained in words. All of us know it: At the same moment the mouth is speaking one thing, the heart is saying another.”–Catherine Marshall, Christy

“Love between women in seen as a paradigm in love between equals, and that is perhaps its greatest attraction.”–Elizabeth Janeway, Between Myth and Morning

“To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.”–Mother Teresa, “Saints Among Us”

“Love interferes with fidelities.”–Sylvia Ashton-Warner, Teacher

“Happiness is a by-product of an effort to make someone else happy.”
-Gretta Brooker Palmer, Permanent Marriage

“Love in itself, she felt should be like the creation of a succession of works of art.”–Hayashi Fumiko, “Lady Chrysanthemum”

“I will not be just a tourist in the world of images, just watching images passing by which I cannot live in, make love to, possess as permanent sources of joy and ecstasy.”–Anais Nin, The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. V

“A poet is a state of mind.”–Virginia Moore, “Saint Teresa”

“I don’t like quintessential certitude.”–Louise Bogan, Letter to Rolphe Humphries

“Brevity is the soul of lingerie.”–Dorothy Parker, quoted in While Rome Burns

“Any authentic work of art must start as an argument between the artist and his audience.”–Rebecca West, The Court and the Castle

“There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are intersecting monologues, that is all.”–Rebecca West, There Is No Conversation

“Technology dominates us all, diminishing our freedom.”–Dorothy McCall, quoted in The Los Angeles Times, 14 March 1974

“There’s nothing half so real in life as the things you’ve done,” she whispered. “Inexorably, unalterably done.”–Margaret Ayer Barnes, Westward Passage

“Marriage: a souvenir of love.”–Helen Rowland, Reflections of a Bachelor Girl

“If a man is worth loving at all, he is worth loving generously, even recklessly.”–Marie Dressler, My Own Story

“Language grows out of life, out of its needs and experiences….Language and knowledge are indissolubly connected; they are interdependent. Good work in language presupposes and depends on a real knowledge of things.”–Anne Sullivan, Speech, July 1894

“There is nothing ridiculous in love.”–Olive Schreiner, “The Buddhist Priest’s Wife”

“I say that the strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.”–George Eliot, Daniel Deronda

“It is the mind that makes the body.”–Sojourner Truth, Interview, Battle Creek, Michigan

“Is not amusement the very soul of life?”–Francis Milton Trollope, The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong

“The greatest happiness is to transform one’s feelings into action.”–Germaine de Stael, Letter to de Pange, May 1796

“O Sensibility divine!”–Anna Young Smith, “Ode to Sensibility”

“Minds ripen at different ages.”
–Elizabeth Montagu, Letter to Mrs. William Robinson

“I am like an owl in the desert.”–Anne Clifford, Diary entry, May 1616

“When my self is not with you, it is nowhere.”–Heloise, Letter to Peter Abelard

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