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Dorothy Gilman

  • Perhaps we clutch at life only when we have never lived or trusted it. Then death seems the last and greatest defeat, the end of something never felt.

  • ... both therapy and friendship possessed the common denominator of discovering a self ...

  • ... the richness of living caught at her throat, and all the well-meant security with which people surrounded themselves was exposed for what it truly was: a wall to keep out life, a conceit, a mad delusion.

  • Everything matters terribly to children, you know, they're fresh and unformed ...

  • ... she felt that most of the obstacles in her life had been placed there by logical people.

  • When we live with a memory we live with a corpse; the impact of the experience has changed us once but can never change us again.

  • I believe that everything has its own season, and each hour its law. If something anticipated arrives too late it finds us numb, wrung out from waiting, and we feel — nothing at all. The best things arrive on time.

  • In what other job can a person be inventor, scientist, landscape gardener, ditch digger, researcher, problem solver, artist, exorcist, and on top of all that eat one's successes at dinner?

  • ... my rebelliousness went so deep that, faced with a can of asparagus that instructed me to open at this end, I always, stubbornly, opened it at the other.

  • Sometimes I think we're all tightrope walkers suspended on a wire two thousand feet in the air, and so long as we never look down we're okay, but some of us lose momentum and look down for a second and are never quite the same again: we know.

  • ... it's compassion that makes gods of us.

  • ... the fruit cakes she sent at Christmas ... usually incapacitated the entire department, their brandy fumes lingering almost as long as the hangovers.

  • ... there are no happy endings ... there are only happy people.

  • He was really quite a selfish person — I think most unhappy people are, don't you?

  • ... when a gourd is hollowed out it becomes empty and is of great use to the world because of its emptiness.

  • ... she had reminded herself that a man from hell is not afraid of hot ashes.

  • ... will anything but fanaticism make for change? Wisdom and compromise come later.

  • ... people misunderstood death, they died not of too little life but of too much life, that as the skin withered and the future grew short it was the past that took on flesh, until ultimately the sheer accumulation of experience and memory became too heavy to carry.

  • ... she had encountered one of the more devastating kinds of loneliness in existence: that of being in close contact with someone to whom she was a nonperson, and who thereby rendered her invisible and of no consequence.

  • ... she felt again that small shiver that occurred to her when events hinted at a destiny being played out, of unseen forces intervening.

  • People need dreams, there's as much nourishment in 'em as food.

  • It's when we're given choice that we sit with the gods and design ourselves ...

  • ... old clothes, old friends, old books. One needs constants in a traveling life.

  • We overlook how much in our lives is invisible; love, for instance; thought, God, the future, time, faith, hope and even the electricity that brings us light.

Dorothy Gilman, U.S. writer

(1923 - 2012)

Full name: Dorothy Gilman Butters