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Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  • Stars clustered about the chimney-top like silver bees in swarm.

  • Sorrow was like the wind. It came in gusts ...

  • ... to comfort any mortal against loneliness, one other is enough.

  • A dead tree, falling, made less havoc than a live one. It seemed as though a live tree went down fighting, like an animal.

  • It's very important to be just to other people. It takes years and years of living to learn that injustice against oneself is always unimportant.

  • Information can be passed from one to another, like a silver dollar. There's absolutely no wisdom except what you learn for yourself.

  • Words began fights and words ended them.

  • A woman has got to love a bad man once or twice in her life, to be thankful for a good one.

  • A mark was on him from the day's delight, so that all his life, when April was a thin green and the flavor of rain was on his tongue, an old wound would throb and a nostalgia would fill him for something he could not quite remember.

  • You kin tame a bear. You kin tame a wild-cat and you kin tame a panther. ... You kin tame arything, son, excusin' the human tongue.

  • The sound of his father's voice was a necessity. He longed for the sight of his stooped shoulders as he had never, in the sharpest of his hunger, longed for food.

  • Magic birds were dancing in the mystic marsh. The grass swayed with them, and the shallow waters, and the earth fluttered under them. The earth was dancing with the cranes, and the low sun, and the wind and sky.

  • A man'll seem like a person to a woman, year in, year out. She'll put up and she'll put up. Then one day he'll do something maybe no worse than what he's been a-doing all his life. She'll look at him. And without no warning he'll look like a varmint.

    • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,
    • "Varmints," When the Whippoorwill-- ()
  • The sun lay like a friendly arm across her square shoulders.

    • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,
    • "Gal Young Un," When the Whippoorwill-- ()
  • The test of beauty is whether it can survive close knowledge.

  • I had done battle with a great fear and the victory was mine.

  • It is impossible to be among the woods animals on their own ground without a feeling of expanding one's own world, as when any foreign country is visited.

  • She was an artist in optimism.

  • Ants in the house seem to be, not intruders, but the owners.

  • Fear is the most easily taught of all lessons, and the fight against terror, real or imagined, is perhaps the history of man's mind.

  • We do not desecrate the dish by serving any other, neither salad nor dessert. We just eat crab Newburg. My friends rise from the table, wring my hand with deep feeling, and slip quietly and reverently away. I sit alone and weep for the misery of a world that does not have blue crabs and a Jersey cow.

  • Here in Florida the seasons move in and out like nuns in soft clothing, making no rustle in their passing.

  • Lives are only one with living. How dare we, in our egos, claim catastrophe in the rise and fall of the individual entity? There is only Life, and we are beads strung on its strong and endless thread.

  • Snow's a searchin' thing. Snow be's like sorrow. It searches people out.

  • Houses are individual and can be owned, like nests, and fought for. But what of the land? It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed but not bought. It may be used, but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers its seasonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers and not masters.

  • Food imaginatively and lovingly prepared, and eaten in good company, warms the being with something more than the mere intake of calories. I cannot conceive of cooking for friends or family, under reasonable conditions, as being a chore.

  • The best fish in the world are of course those one catches oneself.

  • Garlic, like perfume, must be used with discretion and on the proper occasions.

  • Black bottom pie [is] so delicate, so luscious, that I hope to be propped up on my dying bed and fed a generous portion. Then I think that I should refuse outright to die, for life would be too good to relinquish.

  • Two elements enter into successful and happy gatherings at table. The food, whether simple or elaborate, must be carefully prepared; willingly prepared; imaginatively prepared. And the guests — friends, family or strangers — must be conscious of their welcome.

  • Their thoughts moved brightly toward each other, like fireflies in the darkness.

  • He was the delight of fine cooks, who took his absent-minded capacity for appreciation.

  • He had the Gaelic gayety and melancholy, like the streaks of fat and lean in Irish bacon.

  • Amelia's spite retreated, like a snake crawling away.

  • It seemed to him that friends were part of the indestructible tapestry of one's life, that no matter if a thread disappeared there, it would eventually reappear here, or in some other place in the design, as long as it was a thread that mattered.

  • Out of the sun, the cold bit like ivory fangs.

  • They were all too tightly bound together, men and women, creatures wild and tame, flowers, fruits and leaves, to ask that any one be spared. As long as the whole continued, the earth could go about its business.

  • Arent's cup was not only empty, it had a hole in it.

  • It was a quieter matter, he thought, for one advanced in years; not that death comes, but that life goes.

  • Her satisfaction rose to the surface like the thick golden cream on the milk pans.

  • Nothing would have satisfied Amelia but complete possession of her son, to all intents and purposes returning him to the dark slyness of her womb.

  • The family ate hugely, they were like a school of voracious fish feeding under the sea of chatter.

  • He shared their sorrow, and they became a part of his, and the sharing spread their grief a little, by thinning it.

  • ... people in general are totally unable to detach the personality of a writer from the products of his thinking.

  • It is not death that kills us, but life. We are done to death by life.

  • Life is strong stuff, some of us can bear more of it than others.

  • It is not that death comes, but that life leaves.

  • ... it is my conviction that the personality of the writer has nothing to do with the literate product of his mind. And publicity in this case embarrasses me because I am acutely conscious of how far short the book falls of the artistry I am struggling to achieve. It's like being caught half-dressed.

    • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,
    • in Rodger L. Tarr, Max and Marjorie ()
  • Hemingway, damn his soul, makes everything he writes terrifically exciting (and incidentally makes all us second-raters seem positively adolescent) by the seemingly simple expedient of the iceberg principle — three-fourths of the substance under the surface. He comes closer that way to retaining the magic of the original, unexpressed idea or emotion, which is always more stirring than any words. But just try and do it!

    • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,
    • in Rodger L. Tarr, Max and Marjorie ()
  • Personal publicity is apt to be dangerous to any writer's integrity; for the moment he begins to fancy himself as quite a person, a taint creeps into his work.

    • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,
    • in Rodger L. Tarr, Max and Marjorie ()
  • But to make the intangible tangible, to pick the emotion out of the air and make it true for others, is both the blessing and the curse of the writer, for the thing between book covers is never as beautiful as the thing he imagined.

    • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,
    • in Rodger L. Tarr, Max and Marjorie ()
  • Readers themselves, I think, contribute to a book. They add their own imaginations, and it is as though the writer only gave them something to work on, and they did the rest.

    • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,
    • in Rodger L. Tarr, Max and Marjorie ()
  • ... no case of libel by a negro against a white would even reach a southern court.

    • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,
    • in Rodger L. Tarr, Max and Marjorie ()
  • ... the inferred is always more effective than the obvious.

    • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,
    • in Rodger L. Tarr, Max and Marjorie ()
  • No, I most certainly do not think advertising people are wonderful. I think they are horrible, and the worst menace to mankind, next to war; perhaps ahead of war. They stand for the material viewpoint, for the importance of possessions, of desire, of envy, of greed. And war comes from these things.

    • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,
    • in Rodger L. Tarr, Max and Marjorie ()
  • ... the truth is artistically fallacious.

    • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,
    • in Rodger L. Tarr, Max and Marjorie ()
  • I have found that each of my books has developed out of something I have written in a previous book. Some thought evidently unfinished.

    • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,
    • in Rodger L. Tarr, Max and Marjorie ()

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, U.S. novelist, journalist

(1896 - 1953)