All my life I had to fight... But I never thought I'd have to fight in my own house... I loves Harpo, she say. God knows I do. But I'll kill him dead before I let him beat me.
Subservience of any kind is death to the spirit.
Repelled by cruelty
let us ban it
from our hearts.
You must run around like a crazy person or walk sedately honoring the dead.
I imagine good teaching as a circle of earnest people sitting down to ask each other meaningful questions. I don't see it as a handing down of answers.
It's almost unbelievable where we are as a planet because people have been so afraid of rocking the boat, of putting forth what they really believe, and standing with people who need to be stood with.
Some colored people so scared of whitefolks they claim to love the cotton gin.
You'd be surprised how good writing matters when you're going after money.
Our mothers and grandmothers ... moving to music not yet written.
The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.
Humans -- whatever billions we are -- we don't have the control. We are considered expendable, basically.
Activism pays the rent on being alive and being here on the planet.
As long as the people don't fear the truth, there is hope. For once they fear it, the one who tells it doesn't stand a chance. And today, truth is still beautiful... but so frightening.
First time I got the full sight of Shug Avery long black body with it black plum nipples, look like her mouth, I thought I had turned into a man.
The good news may be that Nature is phasing out the white man, but the bad news is that's who She thinks we all are.
Women have to be extremely careful about choosing something that they consider an act of defiance that can really be used to further their enslavement.
The animals of the planet are in desperate peril. Without free animal life I believe we will lose the spiritual equivalent of oxygen.
Since the time of the witch burnings, the grandmothers and the healers and the midwives have been systematically targeted. And burned at the stake for hundreds of years, decimating whole communities.
A good model of how to 'work with the enemy' internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet.
Listen, God loves everything you love, and a mess of stuff you don't.
I think America has always been polarized.
If you deny people their own voice, you'll have no idea of who they were.
As you know from school, it's when you have not prepared for the test that you have the fear of failing. And if you have prepared, even if you fail, you've done your best.
The grace with which we embrace life, in spite of the pain, the sorrows, is always a measure of what has gone before.
I understood at a very early age that in nature, I felt everything I should feel in church but never did. Walking in the woods, I felt in touch with the universe and with the spirit of the universe.
Well how you spect to make her mind? Wives is like children. You have to let 'em know who got the upper hand. Nothing can do better than a good sound beating. (Walker 2000: 34).
Helped are those who create anything at all, for they shall relive the thrill of their own conception and realize a partnership in the creation of the Universe that keeps them responsible and cheerful.
What did it mean for a black woman to be an artist in our grandmothers' time? In our great-grandmothers' day? It is an answer cruel enough to stop the blood.
The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.
We writers -- we're the snowflakes of the literary world. We each have our own shape.
I have such respect for 'Democracy Now!'
Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.
Most damage that others do us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion.
This is the true wine of astonishment: "We are not over when we think we are.
Surely the earth can be saved
by all the people
The more I wonder, the more I love.
All her young life she has tried to please her father, never quite realizing that, as a girl, she never could.
I think the foundation of everything in my life is wonder.
America is America. It's a capitalist system. They leaders have enshrined that belief that profit matters more than anything else. The polarization of the society is just the resurfacing of that.
What make him pull through? I ast
Oh, she say, Harpo made him send you the rest of your sister's letters. Right after that he start to improve. You know meanness kill, she say.
From infancy, I have relied on the fiercely sweet spirits of black men; and this is abundantly clear in my work.
I don't call myself a Buddhist. I'm a free spirit. I believe I'm here on earth to admire and enjoy it; that's my religion.
Hope is a woman who has lost her fear.
If you want to have a life that is worth living, a life that expresses your deepest feelings and emotions and cares and dreams, you have to fight for it.
If you're silent for a long time, people just arrive in your mind.
My parents were both storytellers. They always spoke with metaphorical richness.
I don't need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends I can be certain of.
I see children, all children, as humanity's most precious resource, because it will be to them that the care of the planet will always be left.
There is so much we don't understand. And so much unhappiness comes because of that.
I'm for women choosing whatever they want to do but they have to really know what they are doing.
I feel I am a child that's lost its mother. I feel like a calf whose mother has gone off to slaughter.
Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk?
I gave my archive to Emory University because there's a really dear friend who teaches there, Rudolph Byrd, and he's the editor.
Some writers sit down without a thought of what they are going to say, and they go through draft after draft.
It is the sense
that something that was alive
for a very long time
is still alive. Not yet beaten into
by those who kill everything
It all I can do not to cry. I make myself wood I say to myself, Celie, you a tree. That's how I come to know trees fear man.
Even on those days
the news is fully bad.
And all you can do is get out of bed
and failing that
give thanks you have a bed not to get out of.
So many killings of black men in my lifetime. The physical shock is astounding.
I know, in my soul, that to eat a creature who is raised to be eaten, and who never has a chance to be a real being, is unhealthy. It's like...you're just eating misery. You're eating a bitter life.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
I believe you mother everybody, not in a cloying, hovering way, but taking care of what is around you.
My mother was very strong. Once, she picked up a coconut and smashed it against my father's head. It taught me about women defending themselves and not collapsing in a heap.
You really can't be a good artist if you can't say what you really feel. And people may be offended, but, you know, that's how you feel, and that is your right, and that is your gift as well.
She say, Celie, tell the truth, have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show.
To me war is something to be outgrown, recognized as immature, wasteful, and so destructive to life that human beings should shun it ... as they once shunned bubonic plague.
I have a collective sense of suffering.
It's very hard for our parents who see us enter a world that they can't imagine.
One child must never be set above another, even in casual conversation, not to mention in speeches that circle the globe.
The gift of loneliness is sometimes a radical vision of society or one's people that has not previously been taken into account.
Meditation has been a loyal friend to me. It has helped me write my books.
You cannot see the changes that you're dreaming about, because they're internal.
She thought of how diligently she'd worked to free herself. Difficult because of the shock she was in, discovering she was trapped, captured most of all by possessions.
Peace will come wherever it is sincerely invited.
Every soul is to be cherished, every flower is to bloom.
The long-term accommodation that protects marriage and other such relationships is ... forgetfulness.
People do not wish to appear foolish; to avoid the appearance of foolishness, they are willing to remain actually fools.
I think we have to own the fears that we have of each other, and then, in some practical way, some daily way, figure out how to see people differently than the way we were brought up to.
We should not look down on our first ancestors.
Love is big; love can hold anger, love can even hold hatred. It's about the intention of what you want it to do.
Life is abundant, and life is beautiful. And it's a good place that we're all in, you know, on this earth, if we take care of it.
As an elder of the Americas and of the rest of the planet, it is my responsibility to care for and protect, to the best of my ability, the young.
I've found, in my own writing, that a little hatred, keenly directed, is a useful thing.
It is important to remember yourself.
We will never regret
having been born in this
for we recognize it
for what it is: the time of fullness
It is healthier, in any case, to write for the adults one's children will become than for the children one's 'mature' critics often are.
America is not nearly done. We're only in the beginning. Who knows who we will be? Who knows... what color we will be? It is all something that, maybe, our descendants -- if they survive that long -- will see.
I think Americans generally are not used to working very hard, in terms of working for the collective. I think in our country we have taken individualism to its farthest reaches, possibly.
The protection of evil must be the most self-destructive job.
Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn't matter. I'm not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for.
The experience of God, or in any case the possibility of experiencing God, is innate.
I can imagine in years to come that my papers and memorabilia, my journals and letters, will find themselves always in the company of people who care about many of the things I do.
Well, capitalism is a big problem, because with capitalism you're just going to keep buying and selling things until there's nothing else to buy and sell, which means gobbling up the planet.
My daughter's birth was the incomparable gift of seeing the world at quite a different angle than before, and judging it by a standard that would apply far beyond my natural life.
I think 'The Color Purple' is so bursting with love, the need for connection, the showing of the need for connection around the globe.
I could never live happily in Africa-or anywhere else-until I could live freely in Mississippi.
For a long time, I thought I was ugly and disfigured. This made me shy and timid, and I often reacted to insults that were not intended.
I feel very happy to be living in Berkeley because there are a lot of people who are politically active here.
who smiled at us and kissed our babies
blue eyes shining with triumph
well knew we were falling
into our graves
kicked by them
as they counted
The artist...is the voice of the people.
Propaganda is amazing. People can be led to believe anything.
Folks crying and fanning and trying to keep a stray eye on the children, but they don't stare at Sofia and her sisters. They act like this the way it always done. I love folks.
This could be our revolution: to love what is plentiful as much as what's scarce.
Those in power must spend a lot of their time laughing at us.
I have fought and kicked and fasted and prayed and cursed and cried myself to the point of existing.
The life of my people is to remember forever; each head granary is full. The life of your people is to forget: your thing granaries ("museums"), and not yourselves, are full.
Yes, Mother. I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me.
Helped are those who lose their fear of death; theirs is the power to envision the future in a blade of grass.
The fact is that when you do something from your heart, you leave a heart print.
Once you feel loved by the universe, you're already accepted, and you're not really concerned about offending people.
Resistance is the secret of joy!
I'm always amazed that people will actually choose to sit in front of the television and just be savaged by stuff that belittles their intelligence.
Whoever you are, whatever you are, start with that, whether salt of the earth or only white sugar.
I advocate that every woman be a part of a circle, and a circle that meets at least once a month, or if you can't do that, once every two months or every four months.
The quietly pacifist peaceful always die to make room for men who shout.
Horses make a landscape look beautiful.
Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.
You a low down dog is what's wrong. It's time to leave you and enter into the creation. And your dead body just the welcome mat I need.
People who work hard often work too hard. ... May we learn to honor the hammock, the siesta, the nap and the pause in all its forms.
Sucking up to the biggies won't get us anywhere.
Part of my ancestry is Cherokee. And in that tradition, you become an adult when you're 52.
Dear God...I have always been a good girl. Maybe you can give me a sign letting me know what is happening to me.
I'm thinking of the moment something dies and how we instinctively know it. And of how we try not to know what we know because we do not yet understand how we are to negotiate change.
I live a very secluded life, a very contemplative life and a very meditative one. That is my ideal life.
Don't wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you've got to make yourself.
My life is not to be somebody else's impact -- you know what I mean?
You don't always have to be doing something. You can just be, and that's plenty.
I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you've found It.
Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.
Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence.
Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence -- as it saves most writers who live in 'interesting' oppressive times and are not afflicted by personal immunity.
I'm the most stubborn person I know.
Freedom, after all, is like love: the more you give to others, the more you have.
We must, I believe, start teaching our children the sanity of nonviolence much earlier.
The world has changed: it did not change without your prayers without your faith without your determination to believe in liberation and kindness; without your dancing through the years that had no beat.
The dropping of bombs on people -- isn't that terrorism?
Sofia the kind of woman no matter what she have in her hand she make it look like a weapon.
It is this broken road with pitfalls and sharp turns and unexpected traverses that has brought me joy and adventure.
Hard times' is a phrase the English love to use, when speaking of Africa. And it is easy to forget that Africa's 'hard times' were made harder by them.
Every small positive change we make in ourselves repays us in confidence in the future.
My interest in creating anything is that it be useful.
On a spiritual level, it's as though with my sighted eye I see what's before me, and with my unsighted eye I see what's hidden. It's illuminated life more than darkened it.
The original crime of niggers and lesbians is that they prefer themselves.
I wanted in my lifetime to vote for a radical Native American woman, since my vision of any future that we might have is that it will be led by women and older women.
It's an awful feeling to write something that you feel is really important... and to feel that you're being published by people who really don't get it and or don't really care.
As long as the Earth can make a spring every year, I can.
As long as the Earth can flower and produce nurturing fruit, I can, because I'm the Earth. I won't give up until the Earth gives up.
Be nobody's darling; Be an outcast. Take the contradictions of your life and wrap around you like a shawl, to parry stones, to keep you warm.
Be nobody's darling; Be an outcast. Take the contradictions Of your life And wrap around You like a shawl, To parry stones To keep you warm. Watch the people succumb To madness With ample cheer; Let them look askance at you And you askance reply. Be an outcast; Be pleased to walk alone (Uncool) Or line the crowded River beds With other impetuous Fools. Make a merry gathering On the bank Where thousands perished For brave hurt words They said. Be nobody's darling; Be an outcast. Qualified to live Among your dead.
Nobody is as powerful as we make them out to be.
For instance: scorpions, vipers, and yellow jackets in paradise? How to accept gracefully the part of GOD that stings!
We alone can devalue gold by not caring if it falls or rises in the marketplace. Wherever there is gold there is a chain, you know, and if your chain is gold so much the worse for you.
For in the end, freedom is a personal and lonely battle; and one faces down fears of today so that those of tomorrow might be engaged.
I think war is so incredibly backward, and I don't think it's intelligent, and it's not sane. So why would you want to support it?
The earth is wise. It has given itself into the keeping of all, and all are therefore accountable.
I am not lesbian, I am not bisexual, I am not straight. I am just curious.
I don't generally read reviews.
I deeply regret any harm, or any perceived harm, that I may have done to anyone by any behaviour of mine.
I know from having had a child, and from having been a child myself, that children will copy you.
I know from having had a child, and from having been a child myself, that children will copy you. So, the best way to get them to read, is to read. The best way to get them to do anything is to do it yourself, and they will absolutely copy you. That way, you don't have to worry about what's supposedly age appropriate, a child will pick something up when the child is ready.
I cannot claim to have had a hard time publishing.
It's so important to unclutter the mind. For me, creativity is greatly impeded just by the chatter and visual clutter of life. It's really important to have a space that is really clear for whatever is emerging to come.
War will stop when we no longer praise it, or give it any attention at all. Peace will come wherever it is sincerely invited.
I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.
I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.
This is a wonderful planet, and it is being completely destroyed by people who have too much money and power and no empathy.
If we want to fight people in the world, we should fight them with pillows -- pillows stuffed with food, medicine, music… That would be so much cheaper than bombs.
It's so clear that you have to cherish everyone.
I see myself in all the people in the world who are suffering and who are very badly treated and who are often made to feel that they have no place on this Earth.
Never be the only one, except, possibly, in your own home.
Artists have a responsibility to speak and to act when governments fail, and if we don't do that, we really deserve the world we get.
Hard times require furious dancing. Each of us is proof.
For me, writing has always come out of living a fairly to-the-bone kind of life, just really being present to a lot of life. The writing has been really a byproduct of that.
'Fame' exhausts me.
It's essential that we understand that taking care of the planet will be done as we take care of ourselves. You know that you can't really make much of a difference in things until you change yourself.
Everything wanna be loved. Us sing and dance, and holla just wanting to be loved.
What's really hard is that you could care a lot for someone and not want to live with him anymore.
And when they spy on us let them discover us loving.
We must, all of us, learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise.
It's a tragedy, in a way, that Americans are brought up to think that they cannot feel for other people and other beings just because they are different. They think they're different. It's very limiting.
Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.
The most important question in the world is, 'Why is the child crying?'
I never have an intended audience. I just write, you know.
Women have to summon up courage to fulfill dormant dreams.
A people do not throw their geniuses away. And if they are thrown away, it is our duty as artists and as witnesses for the future to collect them again for the sake of our children and, if necessary, bone by bone.
I'm tri-racial: African-American, Native American and Euro -- that's the Scotch-Irish part.
In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they're still beautiful.
As we talked of freedom and justice one day for all, we sat down to steaks. I am eating misery, I thought, as I took the first bite. And spit it out.
In each of us, there is a little voice that knows exactly which way to go. And I learned very early to listen to it, even though it has caused so much grief and havoc, and I think that is the only answer.
To acknowledge our ancestors means we are aware that we did not make ourselves...We remember them because it is an easy thing to forget: that we are not the first to suffer, rebel, fight, love, and die.
In my opinion and experience, imperialists of all nations and races will tell us anything to keep us fighting. For them.
Even as I hold you, I am letting you go.
Long as I can spell G-o-d I got somebody along.
I try to teach my heart not to want things it can't have.
Helped are those who forgive; their reward shall be forgetfulness of every evil done to them. It will be in their power, therefore, to envision the new Earth. -- -- -"The Gospel According to Shug.
I just feel that 'The Color Purple,' which was my 10th book, was a true gift from my ancestors.
Fiction is such a world of freedom, it's wonderful. If you want someone to fly, they can fly.
I don't know if you actually get something out of writing poetry. I think poetry is an autonomous muse that decides to come and sit on your couch.
You don't need organized religion to connect with the universe. Often a church is the only place you can go to find peace and quiet... But it shouldn't be confused with connecting with one's spirit.
It is crucial that young people are taught sustainable child production and rearing.
You have to give others the opportunity to love who you love. If they don't accept it, it's their loss.
People will say to you, "Oh, you are fearless." That is so not true. We should stop saying that about people. It's a slander, really.
We must do everything in our power to cease the behaviour that makes children everywhere feel afraid.
Writing poems is my way of celebrating with the world that I have not committed suicide the evening before.
In search of my mother's garden, I found my own.
Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories.
I have fallen in love with the imagination. And if you fall in love with the imagination, you understand that it is a free spirit. It will go anywhere, and it can do anything.
To me, the black black woman is our essential mother, the blacker she is the more us she is and to see the hatred that is turned on her is enough to make me despair, almost entirely, of our future as a people.
It no longer bothers me that I may be constantly searching for father figures; by this time, I have found several and dearly enjoyed knowing them all.
What hurts the most is being misunderstood. They tell me that's an Aquarian trait -- that that's the thing we don't like.
We were not meant to suffer so much and learn nothing.
I'm getting tired of Harpo, she say. All he think about since us married is how to make me mind. He don't want a wife, he want a dog.
How simple a thing it seems to me that to know ourselves as we are, we must know our mothers names.
How sad now never to see men holding hands, while everywhere one looks they are holding guns.
Clearly older women and especially older women who have led an active life or elder women who successfully maneuver through their own family life have so much to teach us about sharing, patience, and wisdom.
You know how big love is? Love is big. love can hold anger; love can even hold hatred.
Nobody has ever convinced me that race is real.
Love likes to extend itself. If you receive it in a book -- or however you get it -- then your duty is to extend it beyond.
You can't truly have an open heart until it's been broken.
'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say.
'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.
The only way to solace anyone who loved you in life is to be a good memory.
Honestly, that is the most important thing to me: Can I continue to live up to my own expectations of myself -- and not fall back into slacking?
I think the War on Terror is really absurd, especially coming from a country that is founded on terrorism.
A writer's heart, a poet's heart, an artist's heart, a musician's heart is always breaking. It is through that broken window that we see the world.
Be an outcast; be pleased to walk alone.
Helped are those who love the entire cosmos rather than their own tiny country, city, or farm, for to them will be shown the unbroken web of life and the meaning of infinity.
Helped are those who are shown the existence of the Creator's magic in the Universe; they shall experience delight and astonishment without ceasing.
What I love best about Shug is what she been through, I say. When you look in Shug's eyes you know she been where she been, seen what she seen, did what she did. And now she know.
I love the women's movement, and I never thought of it as belonging to any particular segment of the population.
There is always a moment in any kind of struggle when one feels in full bloom. Vivid. Alive. One might be blown to bits in such a moment and still be at peace.
At Sarah Lawrence, I realized that everybody was already what they were going to be. The painters were painting, the writers writing, the dancers dancing. And nobody wore any makeup. The art was uppermost.
The three wealthiest people in the world own more than the GDP of forty-eight countries!
I'm mad about the waste that happens when people who love each other can't even bring themselves to talk.
I prefer to praise people and the world rather than criticize them and it.
Men make war to get attention. All killing is an expression of self-hate.
It is natural to want to have a future.
When the ax came into the forest the trees said the handle is one of us.
I love us so incredibly, insanely deeply; it's almost unbearable to see what we do to ourselves.
I cry so much less than I used to. I used to be one of the most teary people.
How we come into this world, how we are ushered in, met, and hopefully embraced upon arrival, impacts the whole of our time on earth.
Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me.
Helped are those who live in quietness, knowing neither brand name nor fad; they shall live every day as if in eternity, and each moment shall be as full as it is long.
But it ain't easy, trying to do without God even if you know he ain't there, trying to do without him is a strain.
What the mind doesn't understand, it worships or fears.
Many readers fail to realize this, but 'The Color Purple' is a theological text. It is about the reclamation of one's original God: the earth and nature.
If she come, I be happy. If she don't, I be content. And then I figure this the lesson I was suppose tolearn.
Well, I think indigenous peoples have ways of living on the Earth that they've had forever. And they've been overrun by organized religion, which has had a lot of money and power.
It just seems clear to me that as long as we are all here, it's pretty clear that the struggle is to share the planet, rather than divide it.
You must learn to love only that which cannot be stolen.
There is a way forward
it is with a broken
but it is our own way
When life descends into the pit I must become my own candle Willingly burning my self To light up the darkness around me.
Helped are those too busy living to respond when they are wrongfully attacked: on their walks they shall find mysteries so intriguing as to distract them from every blow.
Time moves slowly, but passes quickly.
All partisan movements add to the fullness of our understanding of society as a whole. They never detract; or, in any case, one must not allow them to do so. Experience adds to experience.
We have to wake up. We have to refuse to be a clone.
Be what they do not want:
Be skilled at loving.
Be of good heart.
Be of the world tribe.
Wish for nothing larger Than your own small heart.
In my work and in myself I reflect black people, women and men, as I reflect others. One day even the most self-protective ones will look into the mirror I provide and not be afraid.
I've learned not to worry about love; but to honor its coming with all my heart.
I'm sure we, the American people, are the butt of jokes by those in power.
Abortion is an act of self-defense.
Howard Zinn was magical as a teacher. Witty, irreverent, and wise, he loved what he was teaching and clearly wanted his students to love it, also.
I have learned not to worry about love; But to honor its coming with all my heart.
Whenever I have knocked, a door has opened. Wherever I have wandered, a path has appeared. I have been helped, supported, encouraged and nurtured by people of all races, creeds, colors and dreams.