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Carol Bly

  • Unlike lions and dogs, we are a dissenting animal. We need to dissent in the same way that we need to travel, to make money, to keep a record of our time on earth and in dream, and to leave a permanent mark. Dissension is a drive, like those drives.

    • Carol Bly,
    • "Extended vs. Nuclear Families," Letter From the Country ()
  • The principle of literature is devotion to the particulars of life.

    • Carol Bly,
    • "A Gentle Education for Us All," Letters From the Country ()
  • No one is shallow and vulgar forever; sooner or later the whole species likes to be profound.

    • Carol Bly,
    • "The Last of the Gold Star Mothers," Backbone ()
  • The more original a short-story writer, the odder looking the assortment of things he or she puts together for a story.

  • For a short-story writer, a story is the combination of what the writer supposed the story would likely be about — plus what actually turned up in the course of writing.

  • An essay is a work of literary art which has a minimum of one anecdote and one universal idea.

  • The six and one-fourth hours' television watching (the American average per day) which non-reading children do is what is called alpha-level learning. The mind needn't make any pictures since the pictures are provided, so the mind cuts current as low as it can.

  • ... your soul needs to be lonely so that its strangest elements can moil about, curl and growl and jump, fail and get triumphant, all inside you. Sociable people have the most trouble hearing their unconscious. They have trouble getting rid of clichés because clichés are sociable.

  • The secret of literature, which conventional people don't guess, is that writers are forever looking for the surprising revelation — not for reinforcement of collective wisdom.

  • Emily was feeling the elation of conscientious hosts when they can temporarily escape a ubiquitous houseguest.

    • Carol Bly,
    • "Talk of Heroes," Backbone ()
  • Like many people in personal turmoil, she rose late, didn't dress other than to cloak herself in her dressing gown, and she fell asleep easily throughout the day.

    • Carol Bly,
    • "Talk of Heroes," Backbone ()
  • There isn't a thought or feeling that doesn't alter or deepen when written. We are a writing animal. That is why all of us feel we have a book inside us. It isn't an illusion. We have got a book inside us.

    • Carol Bly,
    • Never Like You Plan: An Anthology of Writing by Elder Minnesotans From the COMPAS Literary Post Program ()
  • No work of literature is the product of only one or two conscious ideas. A story is mysteriously dense of meaning.

  • Apprenticeship is one of the dearest roles of childhood, not just watching Dad or Mother, but being taught a hands-on trade.

    • Carol Bly,
    • "My Dear Republican Mother," in Constance Warloe, ed., I've Always Meant to Tell You ()
  • I don't engage in self-censorship. But I do change everybody to have red hair in the last draft. ... If you give people red hair when in real life they haven't got red hair, I've noticed they don't recognize themselves, anyway.

    • Carol Bly,
    • in Authors Guild Bulletin ()

Carol Bly, U.S. writer

(1930 - 2007)

Full name: Carol McLean Bly.