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Carson McCullers

  • Jesus would be framed and in jail if he was living today.

  • We live in the richest country in the world. There's plenty and to spare for no man, woman, or child to be in want. And in addition to this our country was founded on what should have been a great, true principle — the freedom, equality, and rights of each individual. Huh! And what has come of that start? There are corporations worth billions of dollars — and hundreds of thousands of people who don't get to eat.

  • Comparing the Brooklyn that I know with Manhattan is like comparing a comfortable and complacent duenna to her more brilliant and neurotic sister.

    • Carson McCullers,
    • "Brooklyn Is My Neighborhood," in Vogue ()
  • Three words were in the captain's heart. He shaped them soundlessly with his trembling lips, as he had not breath to spare for a whisper, 'I am lost.' And having given up life, the captain suddenly began to live.

  • The mind is like a richly woven tapestry in which the colors are distilled from the experiences of the senses, and the design drawn from the convolutions of the intellect.

  • ... remembering that Alison was not well, Leonora tried to look sickly also, as that was her notion of the proper behavior in a sickroom.

  • Now hopping-john was F. Jasmine's very favorite food. She had always warned them to wave a plate of rice and peas before her nose when she was in her coffin, to make certain there was no mistake; for if a breath of life was left in her, she would sit up and eat, but if she smelled the hopping-john, and did not stir, then they could just nail down the coffin and be certain she was truly dead.

  • It was better to be in a jail where you could bang the walls than in a jail you could not see.

  • Family. They are the we of me.

  • There's nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book.

  • But the hearts of small children are delicate organs. A cruel beginning in this world can twist them into curious shapes.

  • Once you have lived with another it is a great torture to have to live alone.

  • Southerners are the more lonely and spiritually estranged, I think, because we have lived so long in an artificial social system that we insisted was natural and right and just — when all along we knew it wasn't.

  • A writer soon discovers he has no single identity but lives the lives of all the people he creates and his weathers are independent of the actual day around him. I live with the people I create and it has always made my essential loneliness less keen.

  • Nothing is so musical as the sound of pouring bourbon for the first drink on a Sunday morning. Not Bach or Schubert or any of those masters.

  • And his heart balanced between pity and the natural instinct for separation that divides the sound from the infirm.

  • I was like a cat always climbing the wrong tree.

  • ... justice itself is a chimera, a delusion. Justice is not a flat yardstick, applied in equal measure to an equal situation.

  • Passion is more important than justice.

  • ... Sunday afternoons are the longest afternoons of all ...

  • I had never gone to a doctor in my adult life, feeling instinctively that doctors meant either cutting or, just as bad, diet.

  • Don't you loathe it when doctors use the word 'we' when it applies only and solely to yourself?

  • Doctors, by God; washing their hands, looking out windows, fiddling with dreadful things while you are stretched out on a table or half undressed on a chair.

  • Death is the great gamer with a sleeve of tricks.

  • The memories of childhood have a strange shuttling quality, and areas of darkness ring the spaces of light. The memories of childhood are like clear candles in an acre of night, illuminating fixed scenes from surrounding darkness.

    • Carson McCullers,
    • "The Orphanage," Collected Stories of Carson McCullers ()
  • The seed of the idea is developed by both labor and the unconscious, and the struggle that goes on between them.

    • Carson McCullers,
    • in Eric Maisel, Fearless Creating ()

Carson McCullers, U.S. writer, playwright

(1917 - 1967)

Full name: Lulu Carson Smith McCullers.