Famous Quotes & Sayings

Alice Munro Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Alice Munro.

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Famous Quotes By Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1218609

Certain suggestions, or notions, would make the muscles of her lean spotty face quiver, her eyes go sharp and black, and her mouth work as if there was a despicable taste in it. She could stop you in your tracks then, like a savage thornbush. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1429326

Juliet knew that, to many people, she might seem to be odd and solitary - and so, in a way, she was. But she had also had the experience, for much of her life, of feeling surrounded by people who wanted to drain away her attention and her time and her soul. And usually, she let them. Be available, be friendly (especially if you are not popular) - that was what you learned in a small town and also in a girls' dormitory. Be accommodating to anybody who wants to suck you dry, even if they know nothing about who you are. She looked straight at this man and did not smile. He saw her resolve, there was a twitch of alarm in his face. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 404161

Roly Grain, his name was, and he does not have any further part in what I'm writing now, in spite of his troll's name, because this is not a story, only life. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1599734

None of us mattered to her, not me, or her critics or defenders. No more than bugs on a lampshade. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 577064

I think that this is minor. Things will happen in your life - things will probably happen in your life - that will make this seem minor. Other things you'll be able to feel guilty about. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1764886

This is the way you look at the poorest details of the world resurfaced, after you've been driving for a long time
you feel their singleness and precise location and the forlorn coincidence of you being there to see them. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1838650

It was comparable to getting sick from bad ventilation — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 482705

For years and years I thought that stories were just practice, till I got time to write a novel, — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1476562

One stroke of lightning does not have to lead anywhere, but to the next stroke of lightning. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 74837

Hatred is always a sin, my mother told me. Remember that. One drop of hatred in your soul will spread and discolor everything like a drop of black ink in white milk. I was struck by that and meant to try it, but knew I shouldn't waste the milk. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 656592

I just believed it easily, the way you might believe and in fact remember that you once had another set of teeth, now vanished but real in spite of that. Until one day, one day when I may even have been in my teens, I knew with a dim sort of hole in my insides that now I didn't believe it anymore. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2088594

Corrie said she was glad that what they were doing - what they had just done - appeared not to bother him, in spite of his belief. She said that she herself had never had any time for God, because her father was enough to cope with. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2191412

She would lean her head against the back pillow of the sofa, thinking that she lay in his arms. You would not think that she'd remember his face but it would spring up in detail, the face of a creased and rather tired-looking, satirical, indoor sort of man. Nor was his body lacking, it was presented as reasonably worn but competent, and uniquely desirable. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 285473

Greta moved on. She kept smiling. Nobody looked at her with any recognition or pleasure and why should they? People's eyes slid round her and then they went on with their conversations. They laughed. Everybody but Greta was equipped with friends, jokes, half-secrets, everybody appeared to have found somebody to welcome them. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 550514

How can you get your finger on it, feel that life beating? It was more a torment than a comfort to think about this, because I couldn't get hold of it at all. I — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 450555

But I never cleaned thoroughly enough, my reorganization proved to be haphazard, the disgraces came unfailingly to light, and it was clear how we failed, how disastrously we fell short of that ideal of order and cleanliness, household decency which I as much as anybody else believed in. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2073156

It seemed to me that everybody ended up in Toronto at least for a little while. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2191621

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Dig down so far that what finally comes out is not even what you thought it was about. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 354341

I was happy in the library. Walls of printed pages, evidence of so many created worlds
this was a comfort to me. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1663684

She would live now, not read. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1375138

If you live long enough as a parent, you discover that you have made mistakes you didn't bother to know about as well as the ones you do know about, all too well. You are somewhat humbled at heart, sometimes disgusted with yourself. I don't think my father felt anything like this. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 726178

Who can ever say the perfect thing to the poet about his poetry? — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1662124

Captain Tervitt had been a real captain, for many years, on the lake boats. Now he had a job as a special constable. He stopped the cars to let the children cross the street in front of the school and kept them from sledding down the side street in winter. He blew his whistle and held up one big hand, which looked like a clown's hand, in a white glove. He was still tall and straight and broad-shouldered, though old and white-haired. Cars would do what he said, and the children, too. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1753538

I would have a flick of fear, as in a dream when you find yourself in the wrong building or have forgotten the time for the exam and understand that this is only the tip of some shadowy cataclysm or lifelong mistake. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 857302

Life is always so full. Getting and spending we lay waste to our powers. Why do we let ourselves be so busy and miss doing things we should have, or would have, liked to do? — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1362510

Now that I think of it, she looked splendid. I wish I had met her somewhere else. I wish I had appreciated her as she deserved. I wish that everything had gone differently. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1951046

You cannot let your parents anywhere near your real humiliations. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 536677

And there was still a lot of soft snow in the bush. We — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 630065

She thought back to what he had said. /I could make you very happy./ It was something men said then, when they were trying to persuade you, and that was what they meant. It seemed rash and sweeping to her, dazzling but *presumptuous*. She had to try to see herself, then, as somebody who could be /made happy/. The whole worrying, striving, complicated bundle of her
was that something that could just be picked up and /made happy/? — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 797898

If you were writing poetry it was somewhat safer to be a woman than a man. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 306443

My head was a magpie's nest lined with such bright scraps of information. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1989961

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.
I lie in bed beside my little sister, listening to the singing in the yard. Life is transformed, by these voices, by these presences, by their high spirits and grand esteem, for themselves and each other. My parents, all of us, are on holiday. The mixture of voices and words is so complicated and varied it seems that such confusion, such jolly rivalry, will go on forever, and then to my surprise - for I am surprised, even though I know the pattern of rounds - the song is thinning out, you can hear the two voices striving.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.
Then the one voice alone, one of them singing on, gamely, to the finish. One voice in which there is an unexpected note of entreaty, of warning, as it hangs the five separate words on the air. Life is. Wait. But a. Now, wait. Dream. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1466294

It was all he could do. To make her see what she was doing, what she was ending, and to punish her if she did so. Nobody would blame him. There might be finagling, there might be bargaining, there would certainly be humbling of herself, but there it was, like a round cold stone in her gullet, like a cannonball. And it would remain there unless she changed her mind entirely. The children stay, — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2194162

We say of some things that they can't be forgiven, or that we will never forgive ourselves. But we do
we do it all the time. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1459388

I would often invent this dream for myself at the edge of sleep, and then it was strange how content it would make me, how it would make peace and consolation flow, and I would close my eyes and float on it into my real dreams which were never so kind [ ... ]. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1486837

I saw how the forms of love might be maintained with a condemned person but with the love in fact measured and disciplined, because you have to survive. It could be done so discreetly that the object of such care would not suspect, any more than she would suspect the sentence of death itself. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1511848

Odd choices were simply easier for men, most of whom would find women glad to marry them. Not so the other way around. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1525196

They had something close in front of them, a picture in front of their eyes that came between them and the world, which was the thing most adults seemed to have. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1446619

I gave him a gentle uncomprehending look in return. I am a grown-up woman now; let him unbury his own catastrophes. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2189411

Her father was outraged. Now you sell your stories, how soon before you will sell yourself? — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1440819

A fluid choice, the choice of fantasy, is poured out on the ground and instantly hardens; it has taken its undeniable shape. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1608521

Always remember that when a man goes out of the room, he leaves everything in it behind ... When a woman goes out she carries everything that happened in the room along with her. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1434555

You would think that Rosemary would understand that. She should have understood what such a choice said - that Karin was not to be made happy, amends were not possible, forgiveness was out of the question. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1675359

Everybody said to me back home, what do you want to go to Alaska for, and I said, because I've never been there, isn't that a good enough reason? — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1688820

They spoke like caricatures, it was unbearable. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1733481

I want the reader to feel something is astonishing. Not the 'what happens,' but the way everything happens. These long short story fictions do that best, for me. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2182794

I would really hope this would make people see the short story as an important art, not just something you played around with until you got a novel. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1831368

Men. What they do. It's so sick and stupid. You can't believe it. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2165129

Her attitude towards sex is very comforting to those of her friends who get into terrible states of passion and jealousy, and feel cut loose from their moorings. She seems to regard sex as a wholesome, slightly silly indulgence, like dancing and nice dinners
something that shouldn't interfere with people's being kind and cheerful to each other. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1887696

I was not really surprised by what he was saying. A lot of people felt that way. Especially men. There was a quantity of things that men hated. Or had no use for, as they said. And that was exactly right. They had no use for it, so they hated it. Maybe it was the same way I felt about algebra- I doubted very much that I would ever find any use for it. But I didn't go so far as to want it wiped off the face of the earth for that reason. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1905179

For what was living with a man if it wasn't living inside his insanity? — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1920851

The final four works are not quite stories. They form a separate unit, one that is autobiographical in feeling, though not, sometimes, entirely so in fact. I believe they are the first and last - and the closest - things I have to say about my own life. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2145152

So what about me? Would I always have to find a high horse? The moral relish, the rising above, the being in the right, which can make me flaunt my losses. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2037731

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2065511

It seems so ridiculous to me,' he said, 'that a person should be expected to lock themselves into a suit of clothes. I mean like the suit of clothes of an engineer or a doctor or a geologist and then the skin grows over it, over the clothes, I mean, and that person can't ever get them off. When we are given a chance to explore the whole world of inner and outer reality and to live in a way that takes in the spiritual and the physical and the whole range of the beautiful and the terrible available to mankind, that is pain as well as joy and turmoil. This way of expressing myself may seem overblown to you, but one thing I have learned to give up is intellectual pridefulness ... — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2126080

You would think as you get older your mind would fill up with what they call the spiritual side of things, but mine just seems to get more and more practical, trying to get something settled. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2088775

The tiny share we have of time appalls me, though my father seems to regard it with tranquillity. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2089143

The deep, personal material of the latter half of your life is your children. You can write about your parents when they're gone, but your children are still going to be here, and you're going to want them to come and visit you in the nursing home. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 2104919

I read a book called The Art of Loving. A lot of things seemed clear while I was reading it but afterwards I went back to being more or less the same. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 334422

this is not a story, only life. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 641704

Sick people grew to resent well people, and sometimes that was true of husbands and wives, or even of mothers and their children. Both — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 618746

...they lived in a curious but not unhappy isolation, though her father was a popular schoolteacher. Partly they were cut off by Sara's heart trouble, but also by their subscribing to magazines nobody around them read, listening to programs on the national radio network, which nobody around them listened to. By Sara's making her own clothes - sometimes ineptly - from Vogue patterns, instead of Butterick. Even by the way they preserved some impression of youth instead of thickening and slouching like the parents of Juliet's schoolfellows. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 602217

This is the day of wonders. The land is covered with trees like a head with hair and behind the ship the sun rises tipping the top trees with light. The sky is clear and shining as a china plate and the water playfully ruffled with wind. Every wisp of fog is gone and the air is full of the resinous smell of the trees. Seabirds are flashing above the sails golden like creatures from Heaven, but the sailors raise a few shots to keep them from the rigging. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 587952

I would ... go up to the mailbox and sit in the grass, waiting ... Till it came to me one day there were women doing this with their lives, all over. There were women just waiting and waiting by mailboxes for one letter or another. I imagined me making this journey day after day and year after year, and my hair starting to go gray, and I thought, I was never made to go on like that ... If there were woman all through life waiting, and women busy and not waiting, I knew which I had to be. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 566627

Never in her life had this silly feeling of being enhanced by what she had put on herself. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 511399

She barely notices when I say that I am going on to Toronto to visit my grandparents. Except to remark that they must be really old. Not a word about Alister. Not even a bad word. She would not have forgotten. Just tidied up the scene and put it away in a closet with her former selves. Or maybe she really is a person who can deal recklessly with humiliation. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 464432

I loved taking off. In my own house, I seemed to be often looking for a place to hide - sometimes from the children but more often from the jobs to be done and the phone ringing and the sociability of the neighborhood. I wanted to hide so that I could get busy at my real work, which was a sort of wooing of distant parts of myself. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 400029

I felt in him what women feel in men, something so tender, swollen, tyrannical, absurd; I would never take the consequences of interfering with it. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 347443

Naturally my stories are about women - I'm a woman. I don't know what the term is for men who write mostly about men. I'm not always sure what is meant by "feminist." In the beginning I used to say, well, of course I'm a feminist. But if it means that I follow a kind of feminist theory, or know anything about it, then I'm not. I think I'm a feminist as far as thinking that the experience of women is important. That is really the basis of feminism. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 339558

She smiled at me with such merriment of recognition, and such a yearning to be recognised in return, that you would think this was a moment granted to her when she was let out of the shadows for one day in a thousand. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 750670

I know how you love this place, he says to me, apologetically yet with satisfaction. And I don't tell him that I am not sure now whether I love any place, and that it seems to me it was myself I loved here - some self that I have finished with, and none too soon. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 311682

Unconnected to the life of love, uncolored by love, the world resumes its own, its natural and callous importance. This is first a blow, then an odd consolation. And already I felt my old self - my old, devious, ironic, isolated self - beginning to breathe again and stretch and settle, though all around it my body clung cracked and bewildered, in the stupid pain of loss. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 295166

He said Catholics probably had an advantage, you could hedge your bets right until you were dying. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 244333

Georgia took once a creative-writing course, and what the instructor told her was: Too many things. Too many things going on at the same time; also too many people. Think, he told her. What is the important thing? What do you want us to pay attention to? Think.
Eventually she wrote a story that was about her grandfather killing chickens, and the instructor seemed to be pleased with it. Georgia herself thought that it was a fake. She made a long list of all the things that had been left out and handed it in as an appendix to the story. The instructor said that she expected too much, of herself and of the process, and that she was wearing him out.
The course was not a total loss, because Georgia and the instructor ended up living together. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 156490

I had been in love all year, or at least since the first week in September, when a boy named Martin Collingwood had given me a surprised, appreciative, and rather ominously complacent smile in the school assembly. I never knew what surprised him; I was not looking like anybody but me; I had an old blouse on and my home-permanent had turned out badly. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 138729

You remember your history?" He had finished five years of high school with respectable marks and a very good showing in trigonometry and geography but did not remember much history. In his final year, anyway, all you could think about was that you were going to the war. He said, "Not altogether. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 133531

Here they found themselves year after year- a group of busy, youngish women who had eased their cars impatiently through the archaic streets of Rosedale, who had complained for a week previously about the time lost, the fuss over the children's dresses, and, above all, the boredom, but who were drawn together by a rather implausible allegiance- not so much to Miss Marsalles as to the ceremonies of their childhood, to a more exacting pattern of life which had been breaking apart even then but which survived, and unaccountably still survived, in Miss Marsalles's living room. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 92146

Maybe it's an addiction, she says, but she looks around her at meetings and she can't help thinking that meetings are good for people. They make people feel everything isn't such a muddle. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 86640

I slipped the envelope into it, there in the wide lower corridor of the Arts Building with people passing me on the way to classes, on the way to have a smoke and maybe a game of bridge in the Common Room. On their way to deeds they didn't know they had in them. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 84045

...the world is tumbling with innocent-seeming objects ready to declare themselves, slippery and obliging. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1087818

People doing something that seems to them natural and necessary. At least, one of them is doing what seems natural and necessary, and the other believes that the important thing is for that person to be free, to go ahead. They understand that other people — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1361917

I knew I would be famous one day. That's because I lived in a very small town and nobody liked doing the same things I did, like writing. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1361449

Aunt Elspeth and Auntie Grace stood in their doorway, ceremoniously, to watch me go, and I felt as if I were a ship with their hope on it, dropping down over the horizon. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1295520

There would never be any room in her for anything else. No room for anything but the realization of what she had done. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1274110

His face contained for me all possibilities of fierceness and sweetness, pride and submissiveness, violence, self-containment. I never saw more in it than I had when I saw it first, because I saw everything then. The whole thing in him that I was going to love, and never catch or explain. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1240337

Like the children in fairy stories who have seen their parents make pacts with terrifying strangers, who have discovered that our fears are based on nothing but the truth, but who come back fresh from marvellous escapes and take up their knives and forks, with humility and good manners, prepared to live happily ever after
like them, dazed and powerful with secrets, I never said a word — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1193873

It's not possible to advise a young writer because every young writer is so different. You might say, 'Read,' but a writer can read too much and be paralyzed. Or, 'Don't read, don't think, just write,' and the result could be a mountain of drivel. If you're going to be a writer you'll probably take a lot of wrong turns and then one day just end up writing something you have to write, then getting it better and better just because you want it to be better, and even when you get old and think 'There must be something else people do,' you won't quite be able to quit. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1147996

What she wants to do if she can get the time to do it, is not so much to live in the past as to open it up and get one good look at it. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1118620

The outside air had altered her mood, from an unsettled elation to something within reach of embarrassment, even shame. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1100909

She could not explain or quite understand that it wasn't altogether jealousy she felt, it was rage. And not because she couldn't shop like that or dress like that. It was because that was what girls were supposed to be like. That was what men - people, everybody - thought they should be like. Beautiful, treasured, spoiled, selfish, pea-brained. That was what a girl should be, to be fallen in love with. Then she would become a mother and she'd be all mushily devoted to her babies. Not selfish anymore, but just as pea-brained. Forever. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1419391

Shakespeare should have prepared her. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1036783

Then there was silence, the air like ice. Brittle-looking birch trees with black marks on their white bark, and some kind of small untidy evergreens rolled up like sleepy bears. The frozen lake not level but mounded along the shore, as if the waves had turned to ice in the act of falling. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 1007577

She felt herself connected at present with the way people felt when they had to write certain things down - she was connected by here feelings of anger, of petty outrage, and her excitement at what she was doing to Neal, to pay him back. But the life she was carrying herself into might not give her anybody to be angry at, or anybody who owned her anything, anybody who could possibly be rewarded or punished or truly affected by what she might do. Her feelings might become of no importance to anybody but herself, and yet they would be bulging up inside her, squeezing her heart and breath.
She was not, after all, somebody people flocked to in the world. And yet she was choosy, in her own way.
The bus was still not in the sight when she got up and walked home. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 988008

I sit watching the brown oceanic waves of dry country rising into the foothills and I weep monotonously, seasickly. Life is not like the dim ironic stories I like to read, it is like a daytime serial on television. The banality will make you weep as much as anything else. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 919896

People open shops in order to sell things, they hope to become busy so that they will have to enlarge the shop, then to sell more things, and grow rich, and eventually not have to come into the shop at all. Isn't that true? But are there other people who open a shop with the hope of being sheltered there, among such things as they most value - the yarn or the teacups or the books - and with the idea only of making a comfortable assertion? They will become a part of the block, a part of the street, part of everybody's map of the town, and eventually of everybody's memories. They will sit and drink coffee in the middle of the morning, they will get out the familiar bits of tinsel at Christmas, they will wash the windows in spring before spreading out the new stock. Shops, to these people, are what a cabin in the woods might be to somebody else - a refuge and a justification. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 869481

The story fails but your faith in the importance of doing the story doesn't fail. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 845616

Her hair had been long and wavy and brown then, natural in curl and color, as he liked it, and her face bashful and soft
a reflection less of the way she was than of the way he wanted to see her. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 837896

He takes up too much room, on the divan and in one's mind. It is simply impossible for me, in his presence, think of anything but him. — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 828575

People who believe in miracles do not make much fuss when they actually encounter one — Alice Munro

Alice Munro Quotes 821908

Then he said the funny thing was the old man himself had left home when he was a kid, after a fight with his own father. The father lit into him for using the wheelbarrow.

"It was this way. They always carried the feed to the horses, pail by pail. In the winter, when the horses were in the stalls. So my father took the notion to carry it to them in the wheelbarrow. Naturally it was a lot quicker. But he got beat. For laziness. That was the way they were, you know. Any change of any kind was a bad thing. Efficiency was just laziness, to them. That's the peasant thinking for you. — Alice Munro