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Zora Neale Hurston

"Folklore is the boiled-down juice, or pot-likker, of human living."

Zora Neale Hurston, Folklore Field Notes (1925)

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"Ah done been in sorrow's kitchen and Ah done licked out all de pots."

Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)

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"Faith hasn't got no eyes, but she' long-legged ... "

Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)

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"Tain't nothin' Ah hate lak gittin' sin throwed in mah face dat done got cold."

Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)

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"Lawd how some folks kin lie! Dey don't wait tuh find out a thing. Some of 'em so expert on mindin' folks' business dat dey kin look at de smoke comin' out yo' chimbley and tell yuh what yuh cookin'."

Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)

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"Nobody pushed him uphill, but everybody was willing to lend a hand on the downward shove."

Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)

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"Distance is the only cure for certain diseases."

Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)

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"Don't you love nobody better'n you do yo'self. Do, you'll be dying befo' yo' time is out."

Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)

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"Her tongue is hung in de middle and works both ways."

Zora Neale Hurston, Mules and Men (1935)

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"Belief in magic is older than writing. So nobody knows how it started."

Zora Neale Hurston, Mules and Men (1935)

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"Among the thousand white persons, I am a dark rock surged upon, and overswept."

Zora Neale Hurston, Mules and Men (1935)

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"An envious heart makes a treacherous ear."

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

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"There are years that ask questions and years that answer."

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

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"The spirit of the marriage left the bedroom and took to living in the parlor."

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

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"It was like sewing ruffles on a fence of nails. The will to make life beautiful was so strong."

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

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"Women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. "

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

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"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. This is the life of men."

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

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"Learning without wisdom is a load of books on a donkey's back."

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"Slogans can be worse than swords if they are only put in the right mouths."

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"... once you wake up thought in a man, you can never put it to sleep again. "

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"... fighting is a game where everybody is the loser."

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"She all dressed up so till it would take a doctor to tell her how near she is dressed to death."

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"Silence is all the genius a fool has ... "

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"Happiness is nothing but everyday living seen through a veil."

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"... want won't kill you half as quick as worry will."

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"I wish I could buy you for what you are really worth and sell you for what you think you're worth. I sure would make money on the deal."

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"I been through living for years. I just ain't dead yet."

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"The liquor of statecraft is distilled from the mash you got."

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"It seems like the first law of Nature is that everybody likes to receive things, but nobody likes to feel grateful."

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"... the present was an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell. "

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"To a haughty belly, kindness is hard to swallow and harder to digest."

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"Everybody has some special road of thought along which they travel when they are alone to themselves. And his road of thought is what makes every man what he is."

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"All her life, my daughter's been going around looking for a throne to sit on."

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"... every heart has its graveyard."

Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

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"Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to 'jump at de sun.' We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"'Hello, there! Call your dogs!' That is the regular way to call in the country because nearly everybody who has anything to watch has biting dogs."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"I did not know then, as I know now, that people are prone to build a statue of the kind of person that it pleases them to be. And few people want to be forced to ask themselves, 'What if there is no me like my statue?'"

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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" ... grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"It seems to me that trying to live without friends is like milking a bear to get cream for your morning coffee. It is a whole lot of trouble, and then not worth much after you get it."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"Love, I find, is like singing. Everybody can do enough to satisfy themselves, though it may not impress the neighbors as being very much."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"I have been in Sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrappen in rainbows, with a harp and a sword in my hands."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"Light came to me when I realized that I did not have to consider any racial group as a whole. God made them duck by duck and that was the only way I could see them."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"Nothing that God ever made is the same thing to more than one person. That is natural. There is no single face in nature, because every eye that looks upon it, sees it from its own angle. So every man's spice-box seasons his own food."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"There is something about poverty that smells like death. Dead dreams dropping off the heart like leaves in a dry season and rotting around the feet; impulses smothered too long in the fetid air of underground caves."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"Just then, Death finished his prowling through the house on his padded feet and entered the room. He bowed to Mama in his way, and she made her manners and left us to act out our ceremonies over unimportant things."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"When one is too old for love, one finds great comfort in good dinners."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"Everybody is two beings: one lives and flourishes in the daylight and stands guard. The other being walks and howls at night."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"Friendship is a mysterious and ocean-bottom thing. Who can know the outer ranges of it? Perhaps no human being has ever explored its limits."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"I have known the joy and pain of deep friendship. I have served and been served. I have made some good enemies for which I am not a bit sorry. I have loved unselfishly, and I have fondled hatred with the red-hot tongs of Hell. That's living. "

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"There is nothing to make you like other human beings so much as doing things for them."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"It's a funny thing, the less people have to live for, the less nerve they have to risk losing -- nothing."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"That is the way with people ... If they do you wrong, they invent a bad name for you, a good name for their acts and then destroy you in the name of virtue."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"She [Ethel Waters] is one of the strangest bundles of people that I have ever met. You can just see the different folks wrapped up in her if you associate with her long. Just like watching an open fire -- the color and shape of her personality is never the same twice."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"Grown people know that they do not always know the why of things, and even if they think they know, they do not know where and how they got the proof. Hence the irritation they show when children keep on demanding to know if a thing is so and how the grown folks got the proof of it. It is so troublesome because it is disturbing to the pigeonhole way of life."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"I want a busy life, a just mind and a timely death."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"[Proverbs] are short sayings made out of long experience."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"Her days had nothing in them now but hours. Hours that somebody else had gotten all the light and service out of and chunked them away. "

Zora Neale Hurston, Seraph on the Suwanee (1948)

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"I'll bet when you get down on them rusty knees and get to worrying God, He just goes in His privy-house and slams the door. That's what He thinks about you and your prayers."

Zora Neale Hurston, Seraph on the Suwanee (1948)

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"No, I do not weep at the world -- I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife."

Zora Neale Hurston, "How It Feels to Be Colored Me" (1928), in Alice Walker, ed., I Love Myself When I Am Laughing ... And Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive (1979)

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"Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me."

Zora Neale Hurston, "How It Feels to Be Colored Me" (1928), in Alice Walker, ed., I Love Myself When I Am Laughing ... And Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive (1979)

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"The game of keeping what one has is never so exciting as the game of getting."

Zora Neale Hurston, "How It Feels to Be Colored Me" (1928), in Alice Walker, ed., I Love Myself When I Am Laughing ... And Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive (1979)

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"I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background. For instance at Barnard. 'Beside the waters of the Hudson' I feel my race. Among the thousand white persons, I am a dark rock surged upon, and overswept, but through it all, I remain myself. When covered by the waters, I am; and the ebb but reveals me again. ... The cosmic Zora emerges. I belong to no race nor time. I am the eternal feminine with its string of beads."

Zora Neale Hurston, "How It Feels to Be Colored Me" (1928), in Alice Walker, ed., I Love Myself When I Am Laughing ... And Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive (1979)

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"Taint no law on earth dat kin make a man be decent if it aint in 'im. "

Zora Neale Hurston, "Sweat" (1928), in Alice Walker, ed., I Love Myself When I Am Laughing ... And Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive (1979)

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"He moves a great deal. So often ... that every time he comes out into his backyard the chickens lie down and cross their legs, ready to be tied up again."

Zora Neale Hurston, "The Eatonville Anthology", in Alice Walker, ed., I Love Myself When I Am Laughing ... And Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive (1979)

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"Ah seen a man so ugly till they spread a sheet over his head at night so sleep could slip up on him."

Zora Neale Hurston

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"Those that don't got it, can't show it. Those that got it, can't hide it."

Zora Neale Hurston

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"Work is the nearest thing to happiness that I can find."

Zora Neale Hurston

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"Talk is a refuge."

Zora Neale Hurston

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"The sun, the hero of every day, the impersonal old man that beams as brightly on death as on birth, came up every morning."

Zora Neale Hurston

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"Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place."

Zora Neale Hurston

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"I am colored but I offer nothing in the way of extenuating circumstances except the fact that I am the only Negro in the United States whose grandfather on the mother's side was not an Indian chief."

Zora Neale Hurston, How It Feels to Be Colored Me (1928)

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"Gods always behave like the people who make them."

Zora Neale Hurston, Tell My Horse (1938)

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"Justice, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"I know that nothing is destructible; things merely change forms."

Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)

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"If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it."

Zora Neale Hurston

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Zora Neale Hurston, U,S, writer, novelist, folklorist, cultural anthropologist
(1891 - 1960)

Anyone who hasn’t read Hurston yet … well, you know what you have to do.