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Grace Paley

  • All that is really necessary for survival of the fittest, it seems, is an interest in life, good, bad, or peculiar.

    • Grace Paley,
    • "An Interest in Life," The Little Disturbances of Man ()
  • What we owe men is some freedom from their part in a murderous game in which they kick each other to death with one foot, bracing themselves on our various comfortable places with the other.

    • Grace Paley,
    • in Aphra ()
  • He had a habit ... of making a narrow remark which, like a plumber's snake, could work its way through the ear down the throat, halfway to my heart.

  • Rosiness is not a worse windowpane than gloomy gray when viewing the world.

  • I often see through things right to the apparition itself.

  • Despite my geographical love of mankind, I would be attacked by local fears.

  • You know the mind is an astonishing, long-living, erotic thing.

  • I'm not against friendliness, she said, I'm not even against Americans.

  • I was a fantastic student until ten, and then my mind began to wander.

    • Grace Paley,
    • in Harriet Shapiro, "Grace Paley: 'Art Is on the Side of the Underdog'," Ms. ()
  • There isn't a story written that isn't about blood and money. People and their relationship to each other is the blood, the family. And how they live, the money of it.

    • Grace Paley,
    • in Harriet Shapiro, "Grace Paley: 'Art Is on the Side of the Underdog'," Ms. ()
  • Literature, fiction, poetry, whatever, makes justice in the world. That's why it almost always has to be on the side of the underdog.

    • Grace Paley,
    • in Harriet Shapiro, "Grace Paley: 'Art Is on the Side of the Underdog'," Ms. ()
  • Well, you have children so you know: little children little troubles, big children, big troubles — it's a saying in Yiddish. Maybe the Chinese said it too.

    • Grace Paley,
    • "Zagrowsky Tells," Later the Same Day ()
  • Waves, once they land on the beach, are not reversible.

    • Grace Paley,
    • in Ms. ()
  • I'm really sorry for people growing up right now, because they have some cockeyed idea that they can get by with their eyes closed; the cane they're tapping is money, and that won't take them in the right direction.

    • Grace Paley,
    • in Sybil Steinberg, Writing for Your Life ()
  • For me, the meaning of life is the next generation.

    • Grace Paley,
    • in Beth Benatovich, ed., What We Know So Far ()
  • Old age is another country, a place of strangeness, sometimes, and dislocation. There's a lot to be done in this country, and a great deal of pleasure there. There are friends, some of whom are sick and needful of you, as you will be of them someday. The world itself is very beautiful. It's a place where you have a lot to do. But you have to do it knowing that sometimes you will be afraid of this new country.

    • Grace Paley,
    • in Beth Benatovich, ed., What We Know So Far ()
  • Art's too long and life's too short.

    • Grace Paley,
    • 1986, in Gerhard Bach and Blaine H. Hall, eds., Conversations With Grace Paley ()
  • I have a basic indolence about me which is essential to writing. ... It's thinking time, it's hanging-out time, it's daydreaming time. You know, it's lie-around-the-bed time, it's sitting-like-a-dope-in-your-chair time. And that seems to me essential to any work.

    • Grace Paley,
    • 1981, in Gerhard Bach and Blaine H. Hall, eds., Conversations With Grace Paley ()
  • If you're feminist, it means that you've noticed that male ownership of the direction of female lives has been the order of the day for a few thousand years, and it isn't natural.

  • Hindsight, usually looked down upon, is probably as valuable as foresight, since it does include a few facts.

  • I write for the still, small possibility of justice.

  • It's a terrible thing to die young. Still, it saves a lot of time.

  • Every time you finish something ... you figure you've finally learned to write, right? Then you start something else and it turns out you haven't. You have learned how to write that story, or that book, but you haven't learned how to write the next one.

    • Grace Paley,
    • in The Writer ()
  • No metaphor reinvents the job of the nurture of children except to muddy or mock.

    • Grace Paley,
    • "Begin Again," Collected Poems ()
  • Today's wars are about oil. But alternate energies exist now — solar, wind — for every important energy-using activity in our lives. The only human work that cannot be done without oil is war.

    • Grace Paley,
    • "Why Peace Is (More Than Ever) a Feminist Issue," in Robin Morgan, ed., Sisterhood Is Forever ()
  • You come to doing what you do by not being able to do something.

    • Grace Paley

Grace Paley, U.S. writer

(1922 - 2007)

Full name: Grace Goodside Paley.