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Amanda Cross

  • ... one did not 'hop' a plane. One took a long slow ride to an airport, and argued for hours with ticket agents who seemed to have been hired five minutes ago for what they supposed to be another job; and if one survived that, one got to Chicago only to join a 'stack' over the airfield there, and then either died of boredom or crashed into a plane that thought it was in the stack over Newark.

  • ... life has this in common with prizefighting: if you've received a belly blow, it's likely to be followed by a right to the jaw.

  • In former days, everyone found the assumption of innocence so easy; today we find fatally easy the assumption of guilt.

  • That's the point of quotations, you know: one can use another's words to be insulting.

  • Shifting problems is the first rule for a long and pleasant life.

  • Once you are thought selfish, not only are you forgiven a life designed mainly to suit yourself, which in anyone else would appear monstrous, but if an impulse to generosity should by chance overpower you, you will get five times the credit of some poor selfless soul who has been oozing kindness for years.

  • 'Cynic' is the sentimentalist's name for the realist.

  • I suspect you of being a born schoolteacher, something apparently rarer in our day than a fine glass blower, and infinitely more desirable.

  • It's hard to be happy, and safe, and applauded in a miserable world.

  • One hires lawyers as one hires plumbers, because one wants to keep one's hands off the beastly drains.

  • Is there any vanity greater than the vanity of those who believe themselves without it?

  • ... one sank into the ancient sin of anomie when challenges failed.

  • I don't know why togetherness was ever held up as an ideal of marriage. Away from home for both, then together, that's much better.

  • Professors of literature collect books the way a ship collects barnacles, without seeming effort. A literary academic can no more pass a bookstore than an alcoholic can pass a bar.

  • Quoting, like smoking, ... is a dirty habit to which I am devoted. But then ... I am a professor of English literature; it is an occupational hazard.

  • ... we in middle age require adventure.

  • ... success always worries academics, when it moves into the popular world.

  • What marks a writer is this: until she — or he, of course — writes down whatever happened, turns it into a story, it hasn't really happened, it hasn't shape, form, reality.

  • Most full lives are filled with empty gestures.

  • People who are genuinely involved in life, not just living a routine they've contrived to protect them from disaster, always seem to have more demanded of them than they can easily take on.

  • ... they were famous: demands were made upon them. Solitude meant escape from the importuning of strangers.

  • Everyone likes to talk shop, which is the most interesting talk in the world, in the beginning.

  • ... maturity ... is letting things happen.

  • ... as the years go on a sense of deep patience comes over one; one seems to know the virtue of ripeness, and the danger of rushing events.

  • New York is not like London, a now-and-then place to many people. You can either not live in New York or not live anyplace else. One is either a lover or hater.

Amanda Cross, U.S. writer, social critic, educator

(1926 - 2003)

Real name: Carolyn Gold Heilbrun (see quotations under Heilbrun).