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Marni Jackson

  • There seems to be a hole in the culture where mothers went. Then, when their kids went off to school or stopped having ear infections every three weeks, they emerged from the mother zone, and like everyone else, they forgot where they'd been. Amnesia surrounding motherhood is the rule, not the exception.

  • It wasn't just that my breasts were sore and my legs seethed with restlessness at night. A knitted cap seemed to have settled on my brain as well. Never think that pregnancy is just a spare room in a woman's house; it changes everything — the heat, the light, the furniture.

  • Now I was someone who ate like a wolf, napped like a cat, and dreamed like a madwoman.

  • ... the loss of control that characterizes the Flume Ride of family life begins with the experience of birth — indeed, it is epitomized by birth. Labor turned out to be long, surprisingly painful, and most illuminating.

  • At a certain point, the soul exits from a cherished photograph, because we have come to the end of our loving projection into that moment.

  • When a mother comes home with her new baby, she will find her abstractions are all concrete now. 'Freedom' now means being able to take a shower. 'Mobility' means being able to reach the glass of water on the dresser while not breaking the baby's suction on the breast. 'Flexibility' means being able to push the Record function on the VCR without dropping the baby.

  • Motherhood is like Albania — you can't trust the descriptions in the books, you have to go there.

  • First, women couldn't vote. Then they couldn't work. Now they can't sit down and read the paper.

  • This is a truism of child-raising, of course — whatever you give special time and attention to cooking, your children will despise and reject, with annoying gagging sounds.

  • Home alone with a wakeful newborn, I could shower so quickly that the mirror didn't fog and the backs of my knees stayed dry. The one-minute hair conditioner was too slow for me.

  • ... sex creates optimism. It seems to insinuate life in the future, even when procreation is not the point.

  • Well, delusions are a wonderful thing, and they keep you company, too.

  • ... the family on vacation doesn't truly travel — it explores itself.

  • ... the family goes on vacation to become a family again.

  • The first axiom of the family vacation is that someone, possibly everyone, will get sick.

  • Household hollowness comes around in irregular cycles, like meteor showers. But the true sign of a bad patch is that it never feels temporary or fixable. It has a shudder of the inevitable to it. The thought crosses your mind that when love goes it goes all at once, and forever.

  • When a couple turns domestic, for the first while having to talk about the need for aluminum eaves troughing and other matters only gets in the way of the relationship. Then, magically, these negotiations take the place of the relationship.

  • Housework hassles go on, are never resolved, and will probably extend into the afterlife ('Why am I the one who takes the clouds to the dry cleaners?').

  • Every time I caught a fish, I wondered how something so small could have such clear, pure strength. It kept reminding me of another sensation, from another realm. The fish on the line, I eventually realized, felt like the baby, kicking inside you. Or the shocking, life-hungry pull of the baby on the breast. Perhaps fishing is like quickening for men, a long and patient wait for a few electric moments when they feel connected to another life.

  • Hubris loves families. Complacency will be punished. The Old Testament lives on in viruses that take root the day you book a non-refundable flight.

  • ... the juggernaut of Christmas will not be stopped.

  • Like an animal, cancer sleeps, prowls, hibernates, turns surly or placid.

    • Marni Jackson,
    • "Carole," in Brick, A Literary Journal ()

Marni Jackson, Canadian writer

(1946)