Barbara Kingsolver Quotes

 

Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin.

— Barbara Kingsolver

The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.

— Barbara Kingsolver

To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another that is surely the basic instinct – crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is!

— Barbara Kingsolver

I think the most interesting parts of human experience might be the sparks that come from that sort of chipping flint of cultures rubbing against each other.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I’m of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Small change, small wonders – these are the currency of my endurance and ultimately of my life.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It’s the capacity to understand that every war is both won and lost. And that someone else’s pain is as meaningful as your own.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Good fiction creates empathy. A novel takes you somewhere and asks you to look through the eyes of another person, to live another life.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I can count all the ways in which being a mother has enriched my understanding of the world, of character, my sense of the future and my attachment to it. I can’t imagine what kind of writer I’d be if I didn’t have my kids.

— Barbara Kingsolver

What keeps you going isn’t some fine destination but just the road you’re on, and the fact that you know how to drive.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Motherhood is so sentimentalised and romanticised in our culture. It’s practically against the law to say there are moments in the day when you hate your children. Everyone actually has those moments.

— Barbara Kingsolver

The older I get, the more I appreciate my rural childhood. I spent a lot of time outdoors, unsupervised, which is a blessing.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Pain reaches the heart with electrical speed, but truth moves to the heart as slowly as a glacier.

— Barbara Kingsolver

For me, writing time has always been precious, something I wait for and am eager for and make the best use of. That’s probably why I get up so early and have writing time in the quiet dawn hours, when no one needs me.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Terms like that, ‘Humane Society,’ are devised with people like me in mind, who don’t care to dwell on what happens to the innocent.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Libraries are the one American institution you shouldn’t rip off.

— Barbara Kingsolver

The truth needs so little rehearsal.

— Barbara Kingsolver

We’re animals. We’re born like every other mammal and we live our whole lives around disguised animal thoughts.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run. The daily work – that goes on, it adds up.

— Barbara Kingsolver

It’s surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.

— Barbara Kingsolver

It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn’t.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Few people know so clearly what they want. Most people can’t even think what to hope for when they throw a penny in a fountain.

— Barbara Kingsolver

People’s dreams are made out of what they do all day. The same way a dog that runs after rabbits will dream of rabbits. It’s what you do that makes your soul, not the other way around.

— Barbara Kingsolver

What you lose in blindness is the space around you, the place where you are, and without that you might not exist. You could be nowhere at all.

— Barbara Kingsolver

The important thing isn’t the house. It’s the ability to make it. You carry that in your brains and in your hands, wherever you go… It’s one thing to carry your life wherever you go. Another thing to always go looking for it somewhere else.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I do my best work if I think about what it is I have to offer.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I never think that anything I’m writing is bluntly political in any way. I’m not going for commentary.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Fiction and essays can create empathy for the theoretical stranger.

— Barbara Kingsolver

What a writer can do, what a fiction writer or a poet or an essay writer can do is re-engage people with their own humanity.

— Barbara Kingsolver

When you pick up a novel from the bed side table, you put down your own life at the same time and you become another person for the duration.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I think the most interesting parts of human experience might be the sparks that come from that sort of chipping flint of cultures rubbing against each other. And living on the border between Mexico and the U.S. for so many years gave me a lot of insight into that.

— Barbara Kingsolver

It seems very safe to me to be surrounded by green growing things and water.

— Barbara Kingsolver

There’s always a part of your nation’s history that you haven’t been told that… has a powerful impact on how you yourself may behave and may believe.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I’m not pretending to be ingenuous; I know what I’m doing.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I don’t understand how any good art could fail to be political.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Literature sucks you into another psyche. So the creation of empathy necessarily influences how you’ll behave to other people.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Being a novelist and being a mother have exactly coincided in my life: the call from my agent saying that I had a contract for my first novel – that was on my answering phone message when I got back from the hospital with my first child.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Every time I write a new novel about something sombre and sobering and terrible I think, ‘oh Lord, they’re not going to want to go here’. But they do. Readers of fiction read, I think, for a deeper embrace of the world, of reality. And that’s brave.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I’ve always seen the world through the eyes of a scientist. I love the predictable outcomes that science gives us, the control over the world that that can render.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I grew up aware of all the people I depended on and who depended on me.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I suppose that is my central obsession. What we owe to society, what we owe to ourselves.

— Barbara Kingsolver

At home, growing up, we weren’t really poor. We had everything we needed, we just didn’t have what we wanted.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I used to think religion was just more of the same thing. Dump responsibility on the big guy. Now I see an importance in that. It’s a relief to accept that not everything is under your control.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Readers of fiction read, I think, for a deeper embrace of the world, of reality. And that’s brave. I never get over being thankful for that – for the courage of my readers.

— Barbara Kingsolver

My morning begins with trying not to get up before the sun rises. But when I do, it’s because my head is too full of words, and I just need to get to my desk and start dumping them into a file. I always wake with sentences pouring into my head.

— Barbara Kingsolver

It’s a funny thing: people often ask how I discipline myself to write. I can’t begin to understand the question. For me, the discipline is turning off the computer and leaving my desk to do something else.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Every time I step onto an airplane, I turn to the right and take a good, hard stare into the maw of the engine. I don’t know what I’m looking for. I just do it.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I love developing children as characters. Children rarely have important roles in literary fiction – they are usually defined as cute or precious, or they create a plot by being kidnapped or dying.

— Barbara Kingsolver

After ‘The Poisonwood Bible’ was published, several people believed that my parents were missionaries, which could not be further from the truth.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Most every book I bring into the world is like birthing a baby; it’s a lot of effort!

— Barbara Kingsolver

The first sentence of a book is a promise.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I live in a rural part of Virginia surrounded by farms and farmers.

— Barbara Kingsolver

When people are frightened about going hungry and paying their mortgages, a scarcity model begins to prevail; they fear someone else will get their piece of the pie.

— Barbara Kingsolver

As a biologist, I can’t think of myself as anything but an animal among animals and plant.

— Barbara Kingsolver

People in my novels always have terrible problems. If they are not terrible, I make them more terrible.

— Barbara Kingsolver

You always need that spark of imagination. Sometimes I’m midway through a book before it happens. However, I don’t wait for the muse to descend, I sit down every day and I work when I’m not delivering lambs on the farm.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I know I’m a rare person, a trained scientist who writes fiction, because so few contemporary novelists engage with science.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Most of my books have been about the complex ways an individual depends on community.

— Barbara Kingsolver

In the day-to-day, farm work is stress relief for me. At the end of the day, I love having this other career – my anti-job – that keeps me in shape and gives me control over a vegetal domain.

— Barbara Kingsolver

When I sit down to write, I consider myself an artist.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Nonfiction requires enormous discipline. You construct the terms of your story, and then you stick to them.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I was trained in classical piano, but it kind of dawned on me that classical pianists compete for six job openings a year, and the rest of us get to play ‘Blue Moon’ in a hotel lobby.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I don’t bring expectations to any of my books. I don’t tell people what to do. I want to invite them in.

— Barbara Kingsolver

It takes some courage to write fiction about politically controversial topics. The dread is you’ll be labeled a political writer.

— Barbara Kingsolver

I live in southern Appalachia, so I’m surrounded by people who work very hard for barely a living wage. It’s particularly painful that people are working the farms their parents and grandparents worked but aren’t living nearly as well.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Southern Appalachians have been ridiculed since the country began. In fiction, they’re usually depicted in a cartoonish manner. The region is poor, and very suspicious of outsiders, so there’s a sort of ‘us versus them’ situation. They’re easy to poke fun at.

— Barbara Kingsolver

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