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These Precious Days: Essays

Ann Patchett

Top 10 Best Quotes

“People want you to want what they want. If you want the same things they want, then their want is validated. If you don’t want the same things, your lack of wanting can, to certain people, come across as judgment.”

“The trouble with good fortune is that we tend to equate it with personal goodness, so that if things are going well for us and less well for others, it’s assumed they must have done something to have brought that misfortune on themselves while we must have worked harder to avoid it. We speak of ourselves as being blessed, but what can that mean except that others are not blessed, and that God has picked out a few of us to love more? It is our responsibility to care for one another, to create fairness in the face of unfairness and find equality where none may have existed in the past.”

“For as many times as the horrible thing happens, a thousand times in every day the horrible thing passes us by.”

“We don’t deserve anything—not the suffering and not the golden light. It just comes.”

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lots of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

“MOST OF THE writers and artists I know were made for sheltering in place. The world asks us to engage, and for the most part we can, but given the choice, we’d rather stay home.”

“As for death, I have remained lucky. Its indifference has never waned, though surely it will circle back for me later. Death always thinks of us eventually. The trick is to find the joy in the interim, and make good use of the days we have.”

“What if this joy you felt, this love, was so great that you wanted to share it with everyone, but they all rushed right by you, looking in the other direction?” All these years later, it’s still the best description of how I feel about books. I would stand in an airport to tell people about how much I love books, reading them, writing them, making sure other people felt comfortable reading and writing them.”

“Part of not wanting children has always been the certainty that I didn’t have the energy for it, and so I had to make a choice, the choice between children and writing. The first time it occurred to me that I wouldn’t have both, I was still years away from being biologically capable of reproduction. History offers some examples of people who’ve done a good job with children and writing, I know that, but I wasn’t one of those people. I’ve always known my limitations. I lacked the units of energy, and the energy I had, I wanted to spend on my work. To have a child and neglect her in favor of a novel would be cruel, but to simply skip the child in favor of a novel was to avoid harm altogether.”

“Having someone who believed in my failure more than my success kept me alert. It made me fierce. Without ever meaning to, my father taught me at a very early age to give up on the idea of approval. I wish I could bottle that freedom now and give it to every young writer I meet, with an extra bottle for the women. I would give them the ability both to love and not to care.”

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Book Keywords:

motherhood, want, children, parenthood, judgement

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