Famous Quotes & Sayings

Elizabeth McCracken Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Elizabeth McCracken.

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Elizabeth McCracken Quotes 201045

For about half an hour in mid-1992, I knew as much as any layperson about the pleasures of remote access of other people's computers. — Elizabeth McCracken

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When I was a teenager in Boston, a man on the subway handed me a card printed with tiny pictures of hands spelling out the alphabet in sign language. I AM DEAF, said the card. You were supposed to give the man some money in exchange.
I have thought of that card ever since, during difficult times, mine or someone else's; surely when tragedy has struck you dumb, you should be given a stack of cards that explain it for you. When Pudding died, I wanted my stack. I still want it. My first child was stillborn, it would say on the front. It remains the hardest thing for me to explain, even now, or maybe I mean especially now - now that his death feels like a non sequitur. My first child was stillborn. I want people to know but I don't want to say it aloud. People don't like to hear it but I think they might not mind reading it on a card. — Elizabeth McCracken

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For some people, history is simply what your wife looks good standing in front of. It's what's cast in bronze, or framed in sepia tones, or acted out with wax dummies and period furniture. It takes place in glass bubbles filled with water and chunks of plastic snow; it's stamped on souvenir pencils and summarized in reprint newspapers. History nowadays is recorded in memorabilia. If you can't purchase a shopping bag that alludes to something, people won't believe it ever happened. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I believe marriage is a spectator sport. — Elizabeth McCracken

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In general, I think people are worried about saying the wrong thing to any grieving person. On a very basic level, I think they're frightened of touching off tears or sorrow, as though someone tearing up at the mention of unhappy news would be the mentioner's fault. — Elizabeth McCracken

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A Lucky Child is an extraordinary story, simply and beautifully told. Heartbreaking and thrilling, it examines what it means to be human, in every good and awful sense. Perhaps most amazingly of all, Thomas Buergenthal remembers and renders the small mysteries and grand passions of childhood, even a childhood lived under the most horrific circumstances. — Elizabeth McCracken

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A comic strip that your parents read when they were young is a curious thing: it's an heirloom, and it's also intimate. You peer through windows and look at the things that made your elders laugh, and then you wonder whether the laugh really belongs to you. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I'm a higgledy-piggledy person in every way. On days that I work, I work for eight hours in a row, with my internet access entirely turned off, locked in my office. — Elizabeth McCracken

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At my first library job, I worked with a woman named Sheila Brownstein, who was The Reader's Advisor. She was a short, bosomy Englishwoman who accosted people at the shelves and asked if they wanted advice on what to read, and if the answer was yes, she asked what writers they already loved and then suggested somebody new. — Elizabeth McCracken

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My mother's family didn't speak much about Europe: My mother was born in 1935, and her new-world parents were the sort who didn't want to worry their children about the war. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I used to be a writer with superstitions worthy of a professional baseball player: I needed a certain desk chair and a certain armchair and a certain desk arrangement, and I could only get really useful work done between 8 P.M. and 3 A.M. Then I started to move, and I couldn't bring my chairs with me. — Elizabeth McCracken

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You cannot fly into your own arms. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Do not trust an architect: he will always try to talk you into an atrium. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Tweeting about objects means I don't need to bid on them, which is a blessing. Buying something is a way of saying, 'Look at this!' So is tweeting. So, I guess, is writing fiction. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I didn't know what it was I was feeling. Then I realized it was seeing someone and knowing immediately that you love him. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I work in my office on the campus of the University of Texas. It's the sort of place described as 'book-lined', but it's recently tipped over into 'fire-hazard' territory. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I've always been absolutely appalling about the future, but I sort of think that was my childhood religion. We were future deniers. You did your best in the present, which was all around you. — Elizabeth McCracken

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It's an amazing thing to watch a lizard fold a moth into its mouth, like a sword swallower who specialises in umbrellas. — Elizabeth McCracken

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The dead live on in the homeliest of ways. They're listed in the phone book. They get mail. Their wigs rest on Styrofoam heads at the back of closets. Their beds are made. Their shoes are everywhere. — Elizabeth McCracken

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She was a clock, I could tell by the ticking in her wrist. (I'd secretly slipped my thumb down, to feel her pulse as we danced. It was perfectly steady and wreaking havoc with mine.) I could keep time by you, I thought. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Patty Flood and her good mood were starting to get on my nerves. Her mood was so good it was almost a physical thing, a monkey on a leash that she let leap all over the furniture, delighting only its owner. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I have children, and this notion - that there might be a single book that introduces children to literature - terrifies me. But you could do worse than Mary Norton's 'The Borrowers.' I loved it as a kid, and my kids love it, too. — Elizabeth McCracken

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The finger-biter's feelings for her ex-husband were a bonsai tree - they may have started in something real, but she'd tended them so closely and for so long they were now purely decorative. — Elizabeth McCracken

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There are two MFA programs here at the University of Texas, and I read on the jury of both of them. And it's amazing to me how many really talented young writers seem to fear humor. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Once I started writing novels, I understood how hard it was to write really good short stories. — Elizabeth McCracken

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No one has asked me a question yet, but I will not shut up. — Elizabeth McCracken

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There was a time in my life when I wasn't sure I'd ever write a short story again because I had started writing novels, and I am fundamentally a lazy person, and the fact is that a novel is a lazy person's form, really. That is, you can amble; you can digress. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I own an e-reader, but I use it almost exclusively to read things that aren't books - student theses, unbound galleys. — Elizabeth McCracken

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It's hard to know which made me more aware of the impossibility of protecting children - having a child die or having had two live. — Elizabeth McCracken

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As for me, I believe that if there's a God - and I am as neutral on the subject as is possible - then the most basic proof of His existence is black humor. What else explains it, that odd, reliable comfort that billows up at the worst moments, like a beautiful sunset woven out of the smoke over a bombed city. — Elizabeth McCracken

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She had a rear end as big as an open dictionary and a bad attitude. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Some graphic narrative art presses against the panel: you wrestle with it at the level of the paper. — Elizabeth McCracken

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You can't out-travel sadness. I travel not to get away from my troubles but to see how they look in front of famous buildings — Elizabeth McCracken

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Librarian like Stewardess, Certified Public Accountant, Used Car Salesman is one of those occupations that people assume attract a certain deformed personality. — Elizabeth McCracken

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The cure for unhappiness is happiness,
I don't care what anyone says. — Elizabeth McCracken

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And while I was not an admirer of people in the specific, I liked them in the abstract. It is only the execution of the idea that disappoints. — Elizabeth McCracken

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This is why you need everyone you know after a disaster, because there is not one right response. It's what paralyzes people around the grief-stricken, of course, the idea that there are right things to say and wrong things and it's better to say nothing than something clumsy. — Elizabeth McCracken

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When I first met my husband, he was sculpting Vilnius out of clay - a sort of Vilnius, anyhow: a map of an imaginary European city based on the Lithuanian capital - to illustrate his second novel. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I like seeing my physical progress through a volume, particularly if it's a big book. — Elizabeth McCracken

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When I was in college, I wrote poetry very seriously, and then once I had started writing short stories, I didn't go back to poetry, partially because I felt like I understood how incredibly difficult it was. — Elizabeth McCracken

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You believe in God or statistics or the way your narrative differs from other people. — Elizabeth McCracken

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The thing that most interests me about writing - there are lots of things, but the thing I can't do without - is the hit of happiness a lovely sentence delivers. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Fire is a speed reader, which is why the ignorant burn books: fire races through pages, takes care of all the knowledge, and never bores you with a summary. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I come from food the way some people come from money. Food was the medium I grew up in, what we talked about, what shaped our days. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Aunt Helen Beck had many intentions about her death. She was about being dead the way some people are about being British - she wasn't, and it seemed she would never be, but it was clearly something she aspired to, since all the people she respected were. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Though my love for you is infinitesimal, your eyes are as dewey as any old decimal. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I got that familiar mania - there is information somewhere here, and I can find it, I have to. A good librarian is not so different from a prospector, her whole brain a divining rod. She walks to books and stands and wonders: here? Is the answer here? The same blind faith in finding, even when hopeless. If someone caught me when I was in the throes of tracking something elusive, I would have told them: but it's out there. I can feel it. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I had loved Portland. It was a clean city, with weather so delicate that at night you had to look at the streetlights to tell whether it was raining or snowing. Everything was heavier near Boston: air, accents, women. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Don't run away from your troubles, because they'll sure as hell run faster. — Elizabeth McCracken

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You write the way you think about the world. My motto in times of trouble - and I'm speaking of life, not writing - is 'no humor too black.' — Elizabeth McCracken

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People think they're interesting. That's their first mistake. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Truthfully, this is the fabric of all my fantasies: love shown not by a kiss or a wild look or a careful hand but by a willingness for research. i don't dream of someone who understands me immediately, who seems to have known me my entire life, who says, i know me too. i want someone keen to learn my own strange organization, amazed at what's revealed; someone who asks, and then what, and then what? — Elizabeth McCracken

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Books remember all the things you cannot contain. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Can I tell you something? It wasn't so bad. Not so bad at all right then, me scowling at the dirt, James in his bed, the way it always always was. Look, if that's all that happened, if his dying just meant that I would be waiting for him to say something instead of listening to him say something, it would have been fine. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Remember that a woman who has given birth to a dead child has given birth and is recovering physically, too. Don't be afraid of grieving parents. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I sort of don't believe in closure. In the sense that it doesn't make me feel better to think that something is over. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Acknowledgment of grief - well, it makes feeling the grief easier, not harder. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I'm astounded by people who can listen to music when they write. I can only assume that they have multi-track brains, while mine is decidedly single. — Elizabeth McCracken

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But a library is a gorgeous language that you will never speak fluently. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Like all good mothers, she always knew the worst was going to happen and was disappointed and relieved when it finally did. — Elizabeth McCracken

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In 'Property,' none of the characters are based on any real people, but the house is very much the house that I moved into in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Ordinarily, I'd claim that I'd never write directly about my children, but the opening conversation of 'Peter Elroy' is a verbatim conversation that my children had that I just loved: morbid, funny, passionate, and obsessed with the truth of things - all natural qualities of children that I'd like my work to contain. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I wanted to acknowledge that life goes on but that death goes on, too. A person who is dead is a long, long story. — Elizabeth McCracken

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An iron lung looks like an enormous metal coffin or a 19th-century rocket ship: only its occupant's head is left outside, a tight seal around the neck. — Elizabeth McCracken

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In library science school, back in the years of glowing green non-graphical screens and protocols called Archie and Veronica, I wrote Internet documentation. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Perhaps it goes without saying that I believe in the geographic cure. Of course you can't out-travel sadness. You will find it has smuggled itself along in your suitcase. It coats the camera lens, it flavors the local cuisine. In that different sunlight, it stands out, awkward, yours, honking in the brash vowels of your native tongue in otherwise quiet restaurants. You may even feel proud of its stubbornness as it follows you up the bell towers and monuments, as it pants in your ear while you take in the view. I travel not to get away from my troubles but to see how they look in front of famous buildings or on deserted beaches. I take them for walks. Sometimes I get them drunk. Back at home we generally understand each other better. — Elizabeth McCracken

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All she really wanted was to go to her apartment, to her bedroom, to the back of her walk-in closet, to sit among the shoes. — Elizabeth McCracken

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There's a good chance that in 40 years, after the floods, people zipping by on scavenged jetpacks with their scavenged baseball caps on backwards, I will be in my rocking chair saying bitterly, 'I remember when 'all right' was two words.' — Elizabeth McCracken

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When it comes to other people's writing, my older influences are more powerful than more recent ones, partially because I'm now more worried that I'll suddenly accidentally steal something from another writer. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Life likes jokes; life is constantly making jokes, even at the most inopportune moments. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Revising stuff lately, I was shocked to see how often my characters scratched their ankles, felt their feet, and touched their own ears. — Elizabeth McCracken

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When I tell people there are three stories in 'Thunderstruck' that were from the same wrecked novel, they want to guess what they are. Nobody has. There are no characters or timelines in common. They're structured very differently. A good novel wouldn't have pulled apart so easily. — Elizabeth McCracken

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The walls of the Franciscan Church of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary were ruined stucco chipping away from the brick underneath, with ghostly frescoes, concrete-filled niches, and one complete, vivid crucifix painted over the altar. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Engagements - they are like a prayer before eating, best quick. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Said. "I'm just not ready yet." It would take something other than my daily nagging. So one night, a night I knew would be — Elizabeth McCracken

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I am not a therapy person, but I understand what therapy does. It's a way of translating dark thoughts into something manageable. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Vilnius was once known as 'The Jerusalem of Lithuania' because of the number of prayer houses and scholars there; in the first half of the 20th century, it became a center of Yiddish-language scholarship. — Elizabeth McCracken

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History remembers the velvet hearted. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I always want the last line to be really good, which may sound silly, but I want it to be a last pleasing line. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Enough fine weather and money and a few memorable meals make any place desirable. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I have a memory of my fourth-grade self wanting to be the first woman president of the United States, but I think that has a lot more to do with my love of world records and reference books than a love of serving my country. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I can't imagine not joking even at the worst of times. And for me, it's sort of automatic. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Library books were, I suddenly realized, promiscuous, ready to lie down in the arms of anyone who asked. Not like bookstore books, which married their purchasers, or were brokered for marriages to others. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Here's what I think: when you're born, you're assigned a brain like you're assigned a desk, a nice desk, with plenty of pigeonholes and drawers and secret compartments. At the start, it's empty, and then you spend your life filling it up. You're the only one who understands the filing system, you amass some clutter, sure, but somehow it works: you're asked the capital of Oregon, and you say Salem; you want to remember your first-grade teacher's name, and there it is, Miss Fox. Then suddenly you're old, and though everything's still in your brain, it's crammed so tight that when you try to remember the name of the guy who does the upkeep on your lawn, your first childhood crush comes fluttering out, or the persistent smell of tomato soup in a certain Des Moines neighborhood. — Elizabeth McCracken

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There are writers who can show you the excellence of their brains and writers who show you the depths of their souls: I don't know any writer who does both at the same time as brilliantly as Roxane Gay. — Elizabeth McCracken

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When you've lost a baby, everyone around you expects you to be fine once the new baby is born, as though that somehow takes away the pain of losing the first child. I needed to express how wrong that was. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Ordinary-size people, they don't know: their lives have been rehearsed and rehearsed by every single person who ever lived before them, inventions and improvements and unimportant notions each generation, each year. In 600BC somebody did something that makes your life easier today; in 1217, 1892. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Despite popular theories, I believe people fall in love based not on good looks or fate but on knowledge. Either they are amazed by something a beloved knows that they themselves do not know; or they discover a common rare knowledge; or they can supply knowledge to someone who's lacking. Hasn't everyone found a strange ignorance in someone beguiling? ... Nowadays, trendy librarians, wanting to be important, say, Knowledge is power. I know better. Knowledge is love. — Elizabeth McCracken

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It's a happy life and someone is missing. — Elizabeth McCracken

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All I can say is, it's a sort of kinship, as though there is a family tree of grief. On this branch, the lost children, on this the suicided parents, here the beloved mentally ill siblings. When something terrible happens, you discover all of the sudden that you have a new set of relatives, people with whom you can speak in the shorthand of cousins. — Elizabeth McCracken

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There were a lot of things I loved about working in a library, but mostly I miss the library patrons. I love books, but books are everywhere. Library patrons are as various and oddball and democratic as library books. — Elizabeth McCracken

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He was talking to strangers, hoping they would absolve him. They are the only ones who ever can. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Humor reminds you, when you're flattened by sorrow, that you're still human. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Books are a bad family - there are those you love, and those you are indifferent to; idiots and mad cousins who you would banish except others enjoy their company; wrongheaded but fascinating eccentrics and dreamy geniuses; orphaned grandchildren; and endless brothers-in-law simply taking up space who you wish you could send straight to hell. Except you can't, for the most part. You must house them and make them comfortable and worry about them when they go on trips and there is never enough room. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I'm thinking of that Florida lady again, the one who wanted a book about the lighter side of a child's death, and I know: all she wanted was permission to remember her child with pleasure instead of grief. To remember that he was dead, but to remember him without pain: he's dead but of course she still loves him, and that love isn't morbid or bloodstained or unsightly, it doesn't need to be shoved away. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Grief lasts longer than sympathy, which is one of the tragedies of the grieving. — Elizabeth McCracken

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In the last century, I earned my living as a librarian, and I loved it. I'd have to take some classes to get up to speed with 21st-century librarianship. — Elizabeth McCracken

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I told him that I apologised, that I understood, but really: I am not a museum, not yet, I'm a love letter, a love letter. — Elizabeth McCracken

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New Orleans is still the place where you find out that you have a doppelganger and feel lucky - but somehow unsurprised - to learn that his name is Mad Bottom. — Elizabeth McCracken

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Sadness was something I was thinking about in my life outside of writing, so it wormed itself into whatever I wrote. — Elizabeth McCracken