I know that one of the great arts that the writer develops is the art of saying, ‘No. No, I’m finished. Bye.’ And leaving it alone. I will not write it into the ground. I will not write the life out of it. I won’t do that.
If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.
The truth is, no one of us can be free until everybody is free.
I would be stupid not to be on my own side. But I’m a human being, too. And I’m on the side of human beings, rather than on the side of crocodiles.
What is a fear of living? It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself – for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good.
I don’t think there’s such a thing as autobiographical fiction. If I say it happened, it happened, even if only in my mind.
I’ve still not written as well as I want to. I want to write so that the reader in Des Moines, Iowa, in Kowloon, China, in Cape Town, South Africa, can say, ‘You know, that’s the truth. I wasn’t there, and I wasn’t a six-foot black girl, but that’s the truth.’
I liked to write from the time I was about 12 or 13. I loved to read. And since I only spoke to my brother, I would write down my thoughts. And I think I wrote some of the worst poetry west of the Rockies. But by the time I was in my 20s, I found myself writing little essays and more poetry – writing at writing.
I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it – I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it.
You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lines. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise.