Jesmyn Ward Famous Quotes & Sayings

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72 Jesmyn Ward Famous Sayings, Quotes and Quotation.

Jesmyn Ward Sayings: We seem to be in a continuing feedback loop of repeating a past that our We seem to be in a continuing feedback loop of repeating a past that our country has yet to address. Our history is one of spectacular achievement (as in black senators of the Reconstruction era or the advances that culminated in the election of Barack Obama) followed by a violent backlash that threatens to erase the gains and then a long, slow climb to the next mountain, where the cycle begins again. The
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Through the process of specifically writing this memoir, there was so much reckoning that I Through the process of specifically writing this memoir, there was so much reckoning that I had to do. It was very difficult. It doesn't erase anything that happened, but I think that it was healthy for me to do it. The teenage self-loathing that I suffered from all of a sudden found itself turned into rapids with my grief after my brother died. I turned it inwards. In the same way that my mom processes her grief and her problems. This project, as a memoir, has helped me funnel it outwards.
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Would a human egg let itself be seen? Would a human egg let itself be seen?
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: In every one of the Greeks' mythology tales, there is this: a man chasing a In every one of the Greeks' mythology tales, there is this: a man chasing a woman, or a woman chasing a man. There is never a meeting in the middle.
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Hip-hop, which is my generation's blues, is important to the characters that I write about. Hip-hop, which is my generation's blues, is important to the characters that I write about. They use hip-hop to understand the world through language.
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: We tried to outpace the thing that chased us, that said: You are nothing. We We tried to outpace the thing that chased us, that said: You are nothing. We tried to ignore it, but sometimes we caught ourselves repeating what history said, mumbling along, brainwashed: I am nothing. We drank too much, smoked too much, were abusive to ourselves, to each other. We were bewildered. There is a great darkness bearing down on our lives, and no one acknowledges it.
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Men's bodies litter my family history. The pain of the women they left behind pulls Men's bodies litter my family history. The pain of the women they left behind pulls them from the beyond, makes them appear as ghosts. In death, they transcend he circumstances of this place that I love and hate all at once and become supernatural.
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: My mom worked as a housekeeper, and I saw her relationship with her employers - My mom worked as a housekeeper, and I saw her relationship with her employers - how on the one hand she spent more time with these women than with a lot of her friends, and how in certain ways they were friends. But then they weren't.
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I burn, and I hope. I burn, and I hope.
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Junior, stop being orner." It's what Mama used to say to us when we were Junior, stop being orner." It's what Mama used to say to us when we were little, and I say it to Junior out of habit. Daddy used to say it sometimes, too, until he said it to Randall one day and Randall started giggling, and then Daddy figured out Randall was laughing because it sounded like 'horny'. About a year ago I figured out what it was supposed to be after coming across its parent on the vocabulary list for my English class with Miss Dedeaux: 'ornery'. It made me wonder if there were other words Mama mashed like that. They used to pop up in my head sometime when I was doing the stupidest things: 'tetrified' when I was sweeping the kitchen and Daddy came in dripping beer and kicking chairs. 'Belove' when Manny was curling pleasure from me with his fingers in mid-swim in the pit. 'Freegid' when I was laying in bed in November, curled to the wall like I was going to burrow into another cover or I was making room for a body to lay behind me to make me warm.
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: When I decided to write about my brother and friends, I was attempting to answer When I decided to write about my brother and friends, I was attempting to answer the question why. Why did they all die like that? Why so many of them? Why so close together? Why were they all so young? Why, especially, in the kinds of places where we are from? Why would they all die back to back to back to back? I feel like I was writing my way towards an answer in the memoir.
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Though the white liberal imagination likes to feel temporarily bad about black suffering, there really Though the white liberal imagination likes to feel temporarily bad about black suffering, there really is no mode of empathy that can replicate the daily strain of knowing that as a black person you can be killed for simply being black: no hands in your pockets, no playing music, no sudden movements, no driving your car, no walking at night, no walking in the day, no turning onto this street, no entering this building, no standing your ground, no standing here, no standing there, no talking back, no playing with toy guns, no living while black. Eleven
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: If the scrapes were on the front of our knees, she would put our dirty If the scrapes were on the front of our knees, she would put our dirty feet in the middle of her chest to clean the wounds, and we could feel her heart beating, strong as the thud of the ground when we walked, through our soles.
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: There is laughter, shrill calls. Everyone is flirting, saying in nudges and jokes and blushing There is laughter, shrill calls. Everyone is flirting, saying in nudges and jokes and blushing what they would do in private.
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: After I left New York, I found the adage about time healing all wounds to After I left New York, I found the adage about time healing all wounds to be false: grief doesn't fade. Grief scabs over like scars and pulls into new, painful configurations as it knits. It hurts in new ways. We are never free from grief. We are never free from the feeling that we have failed. We are never free from self-loathing. We are never free from the feeling that something is wrong with us, not with the world that made this mess.
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I'm still ashamed that I did not step out of that dense grass, that I I'm still ashamed that I did not step out of that dense grass, that I did not climb those steps and grab his hand and lead him down them as an elder sister should, that I did not say: Here I am, brother. I'm here.
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Seen theologically, then, walking is an act of faith. Walking is, after all, interrupted falling.We Seen theologically, then, walking is an act of faith. Walking is, after all, interrupted falling.We see, we listen, we speak, and we trust that each step we take won't be our last, but will lead us into a richer understanding of the self and the world.

In Jamaica, I felt once again as if the only identity that mattered was my own, not the constricted one that others had constructed for me. I strolled into my better self. I said, along with Kierkegaard, "I have walked myself into my best thoughts." (Garnette Cadogan in "Black and Blue")
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: When I read 'Absalom, Absalom!,' I remember being really excited about it and telling all When I read 'Absalom, Absalom!,' I remember being really excited about it and telling all my friends they had to read it, especially my writer friends.
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Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Christophe peeled the shrimp slowly and carefully: that was his way around her, and it Christophe peeled the shrimp slowly and carefully: that was his way around her, and it was the exact opposite of his usual demeanor. She knew it for what it was: love.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: It is the way that all girls who only know one boy move. Centered as It is the way that all girls who only know one boy move. Centered as if the love that boy feels for them anchors them deep as a tree's roots, holds them still as the oaks, which don't uproot in hurricane wind. Love as certainty.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Demond's family history wasn't so different from my own, did that mean we were living Demond's family history wasn't so different from my own, did that mean we were living the same story over and over again, down through the generations? That the young and Black had always been dying, until all that was left were children and the few old, as in war?
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: And I get up because it is the only thing I can do. And I get up because it is the only thing I can do.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: It felt like an indulgence. Going back was painful, but, at the same time, it It felt like an indulgence. Going back was painful, but, at the same time, it was nice to live with them again for a few pages. I got to live with my brother again for the entire book. Of course as I'm writing the book, I'm getting closer and closer to the end and I know what that means. I knew exactly where I was heading. It was really difficult, but it was nice to make them come alive for those scenes. It was good.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I knew that I lived in a place where hope and a sense of possibility I knew that I lived in a place where hope and a sense of possibility were as ephemeral as morning fog, but I did not see the despair at the heart of our drug use.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: And then she would put her hand over the bird's face like she was hiding And then she would put her hand over the bird's face like she was hiding it from seeing something, and then she would grab and twist. Break the neck. Slice the head off on the stump.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: By the numbers, by all the official records, here at the confluence of history, of By the numbers, by all the official records, here at the confluence of history, of racism, of poverty, and economic power, this is what our lives are worth: nothing.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I want each character to be as unique as possible. I want them to reflect I want each character to be as unique as possible. I want them to reflect something of who they are in the way that they move and in how their bodies work. That was foremost in my head when I was writing Salvage: I wanted every gesture, every little movement, to really carry meaning and communicate meaning to the reader. I was very conscious of that when I was writing.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I wanted to write about the experiences of the poor and the black and the I wanted to write about the experiences of the poor and the black and the rural people of the South.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: We crawled through time like roaches through the linings of walls, the neglected spaces and We crawled through time like roaches through the linings of walls, the neglected spaces and hours, foolishly happy that we were still alive even as we did everything to die.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Both of us on the cusp of adulthood, and this is how my brother and Both of us on the cusp of adulthood, and this is how my brother and I understood what it meant to be a woman: working, dour, full of worry. What it meant to be a man: resentful, angry, wanting life to be everything but what it was.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: When I look back on my reading habits when I was really young, I was When I look back on my reading habits when I was really young, I was really drawn to stories about strong girls who in some ways are outsiders.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: China. She will return, standing tall and straight, the milk burned out of her. She China. She will return, standing tall and straight, the milk burned out of her. She will look down on the circle of light we have made in the Pit and she will know that I have kept watch, that I have fought. China will bark and call me sister. In the star-suffocated sky, there is a great waiting silence.
She will know that I am a mother.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Grief doesn't fade. Grief scabs over like my scars and pulls into new, painful configurations Grief doesn't fade. Grief scabs over like my scars and pulls into new, painful configurations as it knits. It hurts in new ways. We are never free from grief.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I read the last Harry Potter, and I cried for at least the last 70 I read the last Harry Potter, and I cried for at least the last 70 pages. Awful! I was curled into a ball and I just kept sobbing. It was embarrassing. I was loud, and I just kept wiping tears away so I could see the page.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: We live in a country where Americans assimilate corpses in their daily comings and goings. We live in a country where Americans assimilate corpses in their daily comings and goings. Dead blacks are a part of normal life here. Dying in ship hulls, tossed into the Atlantic, hanging from trees, beaten, shot in churches, gunned down by the police, or warehoused in prisons: Historically, there is no quotidian without the enslaved, chained, or dead black body to gaze upon or to hear about or to position a self against.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I wrote poetry in middle school and high school and even through college. It was I wrote poetry in middle school and high school and even through college. It was bad. I just don't think I'm very good at writing poetry. I mean, the distillation, I think, is hard for me, but I love poetry.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I wrote the first draft of my first novel at Michigan, and then I wrote I wrote the first draft of my first novel at Michigan, and then I wrote the first draft of 'Salvage the Bones' at Stanford. So I workshopped the entire thing.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: But I am not that eloquent, so I shut my mouth and smile. But I am not that eloquent, so I shut my mouth and smile.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: It infuriates me that the work of white American writers can be universal and lay It infuriates me that the work of white American writers can be universal and lay claim to classic texts, while black and female authors are ghetto-ized as 'other.'
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: The truth, as I see it, is that if black men and women, black boys The truth, as I see it, is that if black men and women, black boys and girls, mattered, if we were seen as living, we would not be dying simply because whites don't like us. Our deaths inside a system of racism existed before we were born. The legacy of black bodies as property and subsequently three-fifths human continues to pollute the white imagination. To inhabit our citizenry fully, we have to not only understand this, but also grasp it.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I've also never written about home in this way before. I guess a lot of I've also never written about home in this way before. I guess a lot of it is subconscious and I am intuitively making these decisions when I'm writing. I wanted to communicate in the book that on one hand, being at home - both in our homes and in DeLisle - gives us a sense of belonging and family and safety, but at the same time, being in those places makes us less safe.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I think my love for books sprang from my need to escape the world I I think my love for books sprang from my need to escape the world I was born into, to slide into another where words were straightforward and honest, where there was clearly delineated good and evil, where I found girls who were strong and smart and creative and foolish enough to fight dragons, to run away from home to live in museums, to become child spies, to make new friends and build secret gardens.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: When I was writing the memoir, every page was a battle with myself because I When I was writing the memoir, every page was a battle with myself because I knew I had to tell the truth. That's what the memoir form demands. I also had to figure out how much of the truth do I tell, how do I make the truth as balanced as I possibly can? How do I make these people as complicated and as human and as unique and as multifaceted as I possibly can? For me, that was the way I attempted to counteract some of that criticism.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Because we trusted nothing, we endeavored to protect ourselves, boys becoming misogynistic and violent, girls Because we trusted nothing, we endeavored to protect ourselves, boys becoming misogynistic and violent, girls turning duplicitous, all of us hopeless.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: A little more than half a century after Brown, the election of Obama gave hope A little more than half a century after Brown, the election of Obama gave hope to the country and the world that a new racial climate had emerged in America, or that it would. But such audacious hopes would be short-lived. A rash of voter-suppression legislation, a series of unfathomable Supreme Court decisions, the rise of stand-your-ground laws, and continuing police brutality make clear that Obama's election and reelection have unleashed yet another wave of fear and anger. It
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Replace ropes with bullets. Hound dogs with German shepherds. A gray uniform with a bulletproof Replace ropes with bullets. Hound dogs with German shepherds. A gray uniform with a bulletproof vest. Nothing is new.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I feel like the kind of people I write about are the kind of people I feel like the kind of people I write about are the kind of people I grew up with, the families that I know in my community. Most everyone is working-class, and there are some intact families, but a lot of families aren't.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I didn't want them to look at me after saying something about Black people, didn't I didn't want them to look at me after saying something about Black people, didn't want to have to avert my eyes so they didn't see me studying them, studying the entitlement they wore like another piece of clothing.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I wanted to be my own heroine. I wanted to be my own heroine.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Speaking specifically about the memoir, I know that's a criticism that people can have about Speaking specifically about the memoir, I know that's a criticism that people can have about my work. When I look at the young men's lives, if they're reduced to the worst thing they've done, then it's easy for them to become a stereotype. I keep running into that with newspaper articles that are very short.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I will tie the glass and stone with string, hang the shards above my bed, I will tie the glass and stone with string, hang the shards above my bed, so that they will flash in the dark and tell the story of Katrina, the mother that swept into the Gulf and slaughtered. Her chariot was a storm so great and black the Greeks would say it was harnessed to dragons. She was the murderous mother who cut us to the bone but left us alive, left us naked and bewildered as wrinkled newborn babies, as blind puppies, as sun-starved newly hatched baby snakes. She left us a dark Gulf and salt burned land. She left us to learn to crawl. She left us to salvage. Katrina is the mother we will remember until the next mother with large, merciless hands, committed to blood, comes.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Love don't just go away like that, Cille," Sandman said."It do. Love don't just go away like that, Cille," Sandman said.
"It do.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I can see her, chin to chest, straining to push Junior out, and Junior snagging I can see her, chin to chest, straining to push Junior out, and Junior snagging on her insides, grabbing hold of what he caught on to try to stay inside her, but instead he pulled it out with him when he was born.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Did every step feel like the running leap a bird takes before flight? Did every step feel like the running leap a bird takes before flight?
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Life is a hurricane, and we board up to save what we can and bow Life is a hurricane, and we board up to save what we can and bow low to the earth to crouch in that small space above the dirt where the wind will not reach. We honor anniversaries of deaths by cleaning graves and sitting next to them before fires, sharing food with those who will not eat again. We raise children and tell them other things about who they can be and what they are worth: to us, everything. We love each other fiercely, while we live and after we die. We survive; we are savages.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: While I've said that there are plenty of things I dislike about the South, I While I've said that there are plenty of things I dislike about the South, I can be clear that there are things I love about the South.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: My voice sounds like I have a cold, all the mucus from my crying lodged My voice sounds like I have a cold, all the mucus from my crying lodged in my nose. A train, Mama said. Camille came, and the wind sounded like trains.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Kids will take shots of white strong liquor, they will smoke weed wrapped in thick Kids will take shots of white strong liquor, they will smoke weed wrapped in thick blunts, they will even take Ecstasy or prescription pain pills, but they will not casually pull out an eight-ball of coke and push it across the table at a house party. Why? Because the specter of the cousin or the uncle or aunt or the mother or father who couldn't stop partying, whose teeth are burned brown from the pipe, sits next to them at the table. Young people who do coke lie about it, attempt to hide it, and often fight it.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: And then I get up because it is the only thing I can do. I And then I get up because it is the only thing I can do. I step out of the ditch and brush the ants off because it is the only thing I can do. I follow Randall around the house because it is the only thing I can do; if this is strength, if this is weakness, this is what I do. I hiccup, but tears still run down my face. After Mama died, Daddy said, What are you crying for? Stop crying. Crying ain't going to change anything. We never stopped crying. We just did it quieter. We hid it. I learned how to cry so that almost no tears leaked out of my eyes, so that I swallowed the hot salty water of them and felt them running down my throat. This was the only thing that we could do. I swallow and squint through the tears, and I run.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: The air that had been still before swoops and tunnels through the clearing, raising dust, The air that had been still before swoops and tunnels through the clearing, raising dust, making the boys close their eyes. Maybe Daddy is right; maybe Katrina is coming for us.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: When people ask me about my hometown, I tell them it was called after a When people ask me about my hometown, I tell them it was called after a wolf before it was partially tamed and settled.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: And it was easier to let him keep on touching me than ask him to And it was easier to let him keep on touching me than ask him to stop, easier to let him inside than to push him away, easier than hearing him ask me, "Why not?" It was easier to keep quiet and take it than to give him an answer.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: The land that the community park is built on, I recently learned, is designated to The land that the community park is built on, I recently learned, is designated to be used as burial sites so the graveyard can expand as we die; one day our graves will swallow up our playground.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: My father owned pit bulls when I was young. He sometimes fought them. My brother My father owned pit bulls when I was young. He sometimes fought them. My brother and a lot of the men in my community owned pit bulls as well: sometimes they fought them for honor, never for money.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I'm a failed poet. Reading poetry helps me to see the world differently, and I I'm a failed poet. Reading poetry helps me to see the world differently, and I try to infuse my prose with figurative language, which goes against the trend in fiction.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: To give life...is to know what's worth fighting for. And what's love. To give life...is to know what's worth fighting for. And what's love.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: When you have a family, even though you might move a lot, you collect all When you have a family, even though you might move a lot, you collect all of these things. It's the detritus of your family and they become the symbols of your family life, and your unit out in the world. In that moment I wanted to allude to the fact that the way my parents' relationship was falling apart was impacting me and my brother, my parents, but also our symbols.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: That's why I write fiction, because I want to write these stories that people will That's why I write fiction, because I want to write these stories that people will read and find universal.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: Black Lives Matter, the movement founded by the activists Alicia Garza, Patrisse Callie's, and Opal Black Lives Matter, the movement founded by the activists Alicia Garza, Patrisse Callie's, and Opal Tometi, began with the premise that the incommensurable experience of systemic racism creates an unequal playing field. The American imagination has never been able to fully recover from its white-supremacist beginnings. Consequently, our laws and attitudes have been straining against the devaluation of the black body. Despite good intentions, the associations of blackness with inarticulate, bestial criminality persist beneath the appearance of white civility. This assumption both frames and determines our individual interactions and experiences as citizens.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: The spectacle of the shooting suggest an event out of time, as if the killing The spectacle of the shooting suggest an event out of time, as if the killing of black people with white-supremacist justification interrupts anything other than regular television programming. But Dylan Storm Roof did not create himself from nothing. He as grown up with the rhetoric and orientation of racism.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I will not let him see until none of us have any choices about what I will not let him see until none of us have any choices about what can be seen, what can be avoided, what is blind, and what will turn us to stone.
Jesmyn Ward Sayings: I realized that if I was going to assume the responsibility of writing about my I realized that if I was going to assume the responsibility of writing about my home, I needed narrative ruthlessness. I couldn't dull the edges and fall in love with my characters and spare them. Life does not spare us.