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Judith Viorst

  • When he is late for dinner and I know he must be / either having an affair or lying dead in the / middle of the street, / I always hope he's dead.

    • Judith Viorst,
    • "True Love," It's Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty and Other Tragedies of Married Life ()
  • Brevity may be the soul of wit, but not when someone's saying, 'I love you.'

    • Judith Viorst,
    • The Suburbs Are Good for the Children
    • ()
  • I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

  • Not listening is probably the commonest unkindness of married life, and one that creates — more devastatingly than an eternity of forgotten birthdays and misguided Christmas gifts — an atmosphere of not loving and not caring.

  • Infatuation is when you think that he's as sexy as Robert Redford, as smart as Henry Kissinger, as noble as Ralph Nader, as funny as Woody Allen and as athletic as Jimmy Connors. Love is when you realize that he's as sexy as Woody Allen, as smart as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Ralph Nader, as athletic as Henry Kissinger and nothing like Robert Redford — but you'll take him anyway.

    • Judith Viorst,
    • in Redbook ()
  • Lust is what makes you keep wanting it, even when you have no desire to be with each other. Love is what makes you keep wanting to be with each other, even when you have no desire to do it.

  • Superstition is foolish, childish, primitive and irrational — but how much does it cost you to knock on wood?

  • Being in love is better than being in jail, a dentist's chair, or a holding pattern over Philadelphia, but not if he doesn't love you back.

  • One advantage of marriage, it seems to me, is that when you fall out of love with him, or he falls out of love with you, it keeps you together until you maybe fall in again.

  • Love is the same as like except you feel sexier.

  • No-fault guilt: This is when, instead of trying to figure out who's to blame, everyone pays.

  • Suffering makes you deep. Travel makes you broad. In case I get my pick, I'd rather travel.

  • Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands — and then eat just one of the pieces.

    • Judith Viorst,
    • in Dorothy Uris, Say It Again ()
  • ... as we acquire new aches and new pains, our health care is, of necessity, being supplied by internists, cardiologists, dermatologists, podiatrists, urologists, periodontists, gynecologists and psychiatrists, from all of whom we want a second opinion. We want a second opinion that says, don't worry, you are going to live forever.

  • Our daily existence requires both closeness and distance, the wholeness of self, the wholeness of intimacy.

  • When we think of loss we think of the loss, through death, of people we love. But loss is a far more encompassing theme in our life. For we lose not only through death, but also by leaving and being left, by changing and letting go and moving on. And our losses include not only our separations and departures from those we love, but our conscious and unconscious losses of romantic dreams, impossible expectations, illusions of freedom and power, illusions of safety — and the loss of our own younger self, the self that thought it would always be unwrinkled and invulnerable and immortal.

  • ... the people we are and the lives we lead are determined, for better and worse, by our loss experiences.

  • We begin life with loss. We are cast from the womb without an apartment, a charge plate, a job or a car.

  • ... we love as soon as we learn to distinguish a separate 'you' and 'me.' Love is our attempt to assuage the terror and isolation of that separateness.

  • A normal adolescent isn't a normal adolescent if he acts normal.

  • There comes a time when we aren't allowed not to know.

  • ... many of us are done with adolescence before we are done with adolescent love.

  • Losing is the price we pay for living. It is also the source of much of our growth and gain.

  • [On writing her first poem at age eight:] An ode to my dead mother and father, who were both alive and pretty pissed off.

    • Judith Viorst,
    • in Leta W. Clark, ed., Women Women Women ()
  • Still married after all these years? / No mystery. / We are each other's habit, / And each other's history.

    • Judith Viorst,
    • "The Secret of Staying Married," I'm Too Young to Be Seventy ()
  • ... most of the wise, mature, sensible women I know / Have nothing but disdain for Mother's Day, / Which they rightfully declare to be a crass, commercial way / Of getting guilty children to spend money. / Furthermore, I am hoping that I / Will turn into one of those wise, mature, sensible women / Long before this current decade is through. / But meanwhile, if you know what's good for you, / Send flowers.

    • Judith Viorst,
    • "A Letter to My Sons About Mother's Day," I'm Too Young to Be Seventy ()
  • [On a woman who said in her job she was paid to be nervous:] Nobody has to pay me to be nervous. / I've always done it as a volunteer. / I do it as a kind of public service / That draws upon my expertise in fear.

    • Judith Viorst,
    • "Nervous," I'm Too Young to Be Seventy ()
  • I think I could do the middle fifties just fine, / Like that actress who, when asked how she could be fifty-four when her son was forty-eight, / Replied, 'My son lives his life, and I live mine.'

    • Judith Viorst,
    • "Too Young to Be Seventy," I'm Too Young to Be Seventy ()
  • Though we march in demonstrations, / Write checks to fight injustice and disease, / Defend the wetlands, ozone layer, and whales, / The whole world's in a terrible mess. / Yet we persevere nevertheless because / We can't let it get any worse, / And the world would become even worse, / The world would be a lot worse / If we stopped trying.

    • Judith Viorst,
    • "If We Stopped Trying," I'm Too Young to Be Seventy ()
  • It is true that the present is powerfully shaped by the past. But it is also true that ... insight at any age keeps us from singing the same sad songs again.

  • When you're writing stories, you take pieces of reality and pieces of imagination and you put them all in a container like a kaleidoscope and you shake them up, and then you turn the bottom the way you do in a kaleidoscope until it's the pattern that you want.

    • Judith Viorst,
    • in Rutgers University YouTube interview ()

Judith Viorst, U.S. writer, poet, journalist