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Gloria Naylor

  • Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over.

  • That's one of the privileges of old age — you can give plenty of advice 'cause most folks think that's all you got left anyway.

  • ... black isn't beautiful and it isn't ugly — black is! It's not kinky hair and it's not straight hair — it just is.

  • One should be able to return to the first sentence of a novel and find the resonances of the entire work.

    • Gloria Naylor,
    • in The New York Times Book Review ()
  • She's got this real funny idea about a diet: you don't get fat if no one sees you eating.

  • Six months of looking for a job had made me an expert at picking out the people who, like me, were hurrying up to wait — in somebody's outer anything for a chance to make it through their inner doors to prove that you could type two words a minute, or not drool on your blouse while answering difficult questions about your middle initial and date of birth.

  • [On New York:] There's something hypocritical about a city that keeps half of its population underground half of the time; you can start believing that there's much more space than there really is — to live, to work.

  • Home. It's being new and old all rolled into one. Measuring your new against old friends, old ways, old places. Knowing that as long as the old survives, you can keep changing as much as you want without the nightmare of waking up to a total stranger.

  • Spoiled. That's all it's about — can't live without this, can't live without that. You can live without anything you weren't born with, and you can make it through on even half of that.

  • Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.

  • You're never free from such a loss. It sits permanently in your middle, but it gets less weighty as time goes on and becomes endurable.

  • The last time you're doing something — knowing you're doing it for the last — makes it even more alive than the first.

  • ... a star dies in heaven every time you snatch away someone's dream.

  • We don't put up decorations here for the holidays. There are too many different kinds of people in and out, and to make it festive for one's tradition is to give slight to the other's. Everybody in the world isn't a Christian. The truth is, most people in the world aren't Christians.

  • ... I don't believe that life is supposed to make you feel good, or to make you feel miserable either. Life is just supposed to make you feel.

  • ... what an artist must do today is what artists started out doing with the cave markings and drawings in Dordogne — reach beyond the base machinations of their respective societies, in toward the space that sits apart from the bestial and testify to that space; document the existence of a core humanity; and with the documentation give witness to the same.

  • A myth is more powerful — and more lasting — than reality.

  • A loud voice is not always angry; a soft voice not always to be dismissed; and a well-placed silence can be the indisputable last word.

    • Gloria Naylor,
    • "Finding Our Voice: 11 Black Women Writers Speak," Essence ()

Gloria Naylor, U.S. writer

(1950)