Famous Margaret Atwood Quotes

Love’s never a fair trade.


She wasn’t ready to settle down, she told her friends. That was one way of putting it. Another was would have been that she had not found anyone to settle down with. There had been several men in her life, but they hadn’t been convincing. They’d been somewhat like her table – quickly acquired, brightened up a little, but temporary. The time for that kind of thing was running out, however. She was tired of renting.


And sometimes it happened, for a time. That kind of love comes and goes and is hard to remember afterwards, like pain. You would look at the man one day and you would think, I loved you, and the tense would be past, and you would be filled with a sense of wonder, because it was such an amazing and precarious and dumb thing to have done; and you would know too why your friends have been evasive about it, at the time.


If I love you, is that a fact or a weapon?


I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed and that necessary.


Nobody dies from lack of sex. It’s lack of love we die from.


“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”


“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”


“Falling in love, we said; I fell for him. We were falling women. We believed in it, this downward motion: so lovely, like flying, and yet at the same time so dire, so extreme, so unlikely. God is love, they once said, but we reversed that, and love, like heaven, was always just around the corner. The more difficult it was to love the particular man beside us, the more we believed in Love, abstract and total. We were waiting, always, for the incarnation. That word, made flesh. And sometimes it happened, for a time. That kind of love comes and goes and is hard to remember afterwards, like pain. You would look at the man one day and you would think, I loved you, and the tense would be past, and you would be filled with a sense of wonder, because it was such an amazing and precarious and dumb thing to have done; and you would know too why your friends had been evasive about it, at the time. There is a good deal of comfort, now, in remembering this.”


“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”


“But who can remember pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind.”


The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.


Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.


Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow.


A word after a word after a word is power.