Famous Quotes & Sayings

Frank McCourt Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Frank McCourt.

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Famous Quotes By Frank McCourt

Frank McCourt Quotes 1643506

Also, said Freddie, I work nights to make a living and pay my way through college. You know what that's like, Mr. McCourt. I don't see what that has to do with your writing. Also, it's not easy when you're black in this society. Oh, Christ, Freddie. It's not easy being anything in this society. All right. You want an A? You'll get it. I don't want to be accused of bigotry. No, I don't want it just because you're pissed off or because I'm black. I want it because I deserve it. I — Frank McCourt

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Stock your mind. It is your house of treasure and no one in the world can interfere with it. — Frank McCourt

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I'm more interested in writing than in performing. — Frank McCourt

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If ever you're getting a dog, Francis, make sure it's a Buddhist. Good-natured dogs, the Buddhists. Never, never get a Mahommedan. They'll eat you sleeping. Never a Catholic dog. They'll eat you every day including Fridays. — Frank McCourt

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You have to give yourself credit, not too much because that would be bragging. — Frank McCourt

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Come here till I comb your hair, said Grandma. Look at that mop, it won't lie down. You didn't get that hair from my side of the family. That's that North of Ireland hair you got from your father. That's the kind of hair you see on Presbyterians. If your mother had married a proper decent Limerickman you wouldn't have this standing up, North of Ireland, Presbyterian hair. — Frank McCourt

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I don't give a fiddler's fart! — Frank McCourt

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There's something hostile about the way they enter and leave the room that tells you what they think of you. It could be your imagination and you try to figure out what will bring them over to your side. You try lessons that worked with other classes but even that doesn't help and it's because of that chemistry. They know when they have you on the run. They have instincts that detect your frustrations. — Frank McCourt

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Mikey's father, champion of all pint drinkers, is like my uncle Pa Keating, he doesn't give a fiddler's fart what the world says and that's the way I'd like to be myself. — Frank McCourt

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That IS what journal writing is all about - showing ourselves to God. — Frank McCourt

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They said her duck recipe and the Chinese music were so dramatic everything else sounded anemic. — Frank McCourt

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Ooh, aren't we getting solemn, and where did I leave my soapbox? Look — Frank McCourt

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I told her tea bags were just a convenience for people with busy lives and she said no one is so busy they can't take time to make a decent cup of tea and if you are that busy you don't deserve a decent cup of tea for what is it all about anyway? Are we put into this world to be busy or to chat over a nice cup of tea? — Frank McCourt

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I can't go back. The past won't go away in this family ... — Frank McCourt

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He knows how it is to leave Ireland, did it himself and never got over it. You live in Los Angeles with sun and palm trees day in day out and you ask God if there's any chance He could give you one soft rainy Limerick day — Frank McCourt

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You never know when you might come home and find Mam sitting by the fire chatting with a woman and a child, strangers. Always a woman and child. Mam finds them wandering the streets and if they ask, Could you spare a few pennies, miss? her heart breaks. She never has money so she invites them home for tea and a bit of fried bread and if it's a bad night she'll let them sleep by the fire on a pile of rags in the corner. The bread she gives them always means less for us and if we complain she says there are always people worse off and we can surely spare a little from what we have. — Frank McCourt

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Clarke, define resplendent. I think it's shining, sir. Pithy, Clarke, but adequate. McCourt, give us a sentence with pithy. Clarke is pithy but adequate, sir. Adroit, McCourt. You have a mind for the priesthood, my boy, or politics. Think of that. — Frank McCourt

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Your mind is a treasure house that you should stock well and it's the one part of you the world can't interfere with. — Frank McCourt

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Everything in my head was secondhand, too: Catholicism; Ireland's sad history, a litany of suffering and martyrdom drummed into me by priests, schoolmasters and parents who knew no better. — Frank McCourt

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I'm in New York, land of the free and home of the brave, but I'm supposed to behave as if I were in Limerick at all times. — Frank McCourt

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It's not enough to be American. You always have to be something else, Irish-American, German-American, and you'd wonder how they'd get along if someone hadn't invented the hyphen — Frank McCourt

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he'll make Catholics of us, — Frank McCourt

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Where did I get the nerve to think I could handle American teenagers? Ignorance. That's where I got the nerve. — Frank McCourt

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This is the situation in the public schools of America: The farther you travel from the classroom the greater your financial and professional rewards. — Frank McCourt

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You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace. — Frank McCourt

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He sits in an old armchair in the corner covered with bits of blankets and a bucket behind the chair that stinks enough to make you sick and when you look at that old man in the dark corner you want to get a hose with hot water and strip him and wash him down and give him a big feed of rashers and eggs and mashed potatoes with loads of butter and salt and onions.
I want to take the man from the Boer War and the pile of rags in the bed and put them in a big sunny house in the country with birds chirping away outside the window and a stream gurgling. — Frank McCourt

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There are so many ways of saying Hi. Hiss it, trill it, bark it, sing it, bellow it, laugh it, cough it. A simple stroll in the hallway calls for paragraphs, sentences in your head, decisions galore. — Frank McCourt

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Through journal writing, you'll discover how to get more benefit from everything that you've experienced. In the process, you'll discover that what you've learned from being a survivor has enriched your life beyond anything you've ever imagined. — Frank McCourt

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Happiness is hard to recall. Its just a glow. — Frank McCourt

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You feel a sense of urgency, especially at my advanced age, when you're staring into the grave. — Frank McCourt

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The English wouldn't give you the steam of their piss. — Frank McCourt

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Sing your song. Dance your dance. Tell your tale. — Frank McCourt

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I am teaching. Storytelling is teaching. — Frank McCourt

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Sit and quiet yourself. Luxuriate in a certain memory and the details will come. Let the images flow. You'll be amazed at what will come out on paper. I'm still learning what it is about the past that I want to write. I don't worry about it. It will emerge. It will insist on being told. — Frank McCourt

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With Angela drawn to the hangdog look and Malachy lonely after three months in jail, there was bound to be a knee-trmbler.
A knee-trmbler is the act itself done up against a wall, man and woman up on their toes, straining so hard their knees tremble with the excitement that's in it. — Frank McCourt

Frank McCourt Quotes 180121

In the high school classroom you are a drill sergent, a rabbi, a shoulder to cry on, a disciplinarian, a singer, a low-level scholar, a clerk, a referee, a clown, a counselor, a dress-code enforcer, a conductor, an apologist, a philosopher, a collaborator, a tap dancer, a politician, a therapist, a fool, a traffic cop, a priest, a mother-father-brother-sister-uncle-aunt, a bookeeper, a critic, a psychologist, the last straw. — Frank McCourt

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I think I settled on the title before I ever wrote the book. — Frank McCourt

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I've been writing in notebooks for 40 years or so. — Frank McCourt

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That's what he disliked about certain artists and writers. They interfered and pointed to everything as if you couldn't see it or read for yourself. — Frank McCourt

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If you were mean to your parents, they'd give you a good belt in the gob and send you flying across the room. — Frank McCourt

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A job is death without dignity. — Frank McCourt

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Just let them sit in the goddam sun. But the world won't let them because there's nothing more dangerous than letting old farts sit in the sun. They might be thinking. Same thing with kids. Keep 'em busy or they might start thinking. — Frank McCourt

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We never really had any kind of a Christmas. This is one part where my memory fails me completely. — Frank McCourt

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I am for who i was in the beginning but now is present and i exist in the future. — Frank McCourt

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For many writers, the journal is their opportunity to be honest with them- selves - the greatest test of all. — Frank McCourt

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Bless me, Father, for I have sinned, it's been a minute since my last confession. — Frank McCourt

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I can't go too much into my domestic life because there are ex-wives ready to do me in. — Frank McCourt

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When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood. — Frank McCourt

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Teacher? I never dreamed I could rise so high in the world — Frank McCourt

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Women stand with their arms folded chatting. They don't sit because all they do is stay at home, take care of the children, clean the house and cook a bit and the men need the chairs. The men sit because they are worn out from walking to the Labour Exchange every morning to sign for the dole, discussing the world's pro less and wondering what to do with the rest of the day. — Frank McCourt

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I don't absolve my father completely of his responsibility for what he did to us I feel compassion, maybe. He had his demons. But I still can't understand how a man can walk away from children. And leave them to starve, as we nearly did, if it wasn't for my mother going out and begging. — Frank McCourt

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In New York, with Prohibition in full swing, he thought he had died and gone o hell for his sins. Then he discovered speakeasies and he rejoiced. — Frank McCourt

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The main thing I am interested in is my experience as a teacher. — Frank McCourt

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Her mother was a streetwalking flaghopper and her father escaped from a lunatic asylum with bunions on his balls and warts on his wank. There is laughing along the bench and Miss Barry calls to us, I warned ye against the laughing. Mackey, what is it you're prattling about over there? I said we'd all be better off out in the fresh air on this fine day delivering telegrams, Miss Barry. I'm sure you did, Mackey. Your mouth is a lavatory. Did you hear me? I did, Miss Barry. You have been heard on the stairs, Mackey. Yes, Miss Barry. Shut up, Mackey. I will, Miss Barry. Not another word, Mackey. No, Miss Barry. I said shut up, Mackey. All right, Miss Barry. That's the end of it, Mackey. Don't try me. I won't, Miss Barry. Mother o' God give me patience. Yes, Miss Barry. Take the last word, Mackey. Take it, take it, take it. I will, Miss Barry. — Frank McCourt

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Teaching is bringing the news. — Frank McCourt

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He drinks his stout and laughs that there's nothing like a great bloody steak of a Friday night and if that's the worst sin he ever commits he'll float to heaven body and soul, ha ha ha. — Frank McCourt

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I felt so happy I could barely stay in my skin — Frank McCourt

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There's so much absurdity. Poverty is so absurd. — Frank McCourt

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Here I am looking at my lovely ten-year-old daughter, Maggie, in her white dress, singing Protestant hymns with the choir at the Plymouth Church of the Brethren when I should be at Mass praying for the repose of the soul of my mother, Angela McCourt, mother of seven, believer, sinner, though when I contemplate her seventy-three years on this earth I can't believe the Lord God Almighty on His throne would even dream of consigning her to the flames. A God like that wouldn't deserve the time of day. — Frank McCourt

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After a full belly all is poetry. — Frank McCourt

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I'm not one of those James Joyce intellectuals who can stand back and look at the whole edifice ... It was a slow process for me to just crawl out of it, like a snake leaving his skin behind. — Frank McCourt

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When I act tough they listen politely till the spasm passes. They know. — Frank McCourt

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The master says it's a glorious thing to die for the Faith and Dad says it's a glorious thing to die for Ireland and I wonder if there's anyone in the world who would like us to live. — Frank McCourt

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To enter a room is to move from one environment to another and that, for the teenager, can be traumatic. There be dragons, daily horrors from acne to zit. — Frank McCourt

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I must congratulate myself, in passing, for never having lost the ability to examine my conscience, never having lost the gift of finding myself wanting & defective. Why fear the criticism of others when you, yourself, are first out of the critical gate? If self-denigration is the race I am the winner, even before the starting gun. Collect the bets. — Frank McCourt

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The boys from Staten Island would fill more body bags than Stuyvesant could ever imagine. Mechanics and plumbers had to fight while college students shook indignant fists, fornicated in the fields of Woodstock and sat in. — Frank McCourt

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Andy says, I don't understand how they can give loans to people who want to spend two weeks lying on the sand at the goddam Jersey shore and then turn down a woman with three kids hanging on by her fingernails. — Frank McCourt

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There are boys here who have to mend their shoes whatever way they can. There are boys in this class with no shoes at all. It's not their fault and it's no shame. Our Lord had no shoes. He died shoeless. Do you see Him hanging on the cross sporting shoes? Do you, boys? — Frank McCourt

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I don't know what it means and I don't care because it's Shakespeare and it's like having jewels in my mouth when I say the words. — Frank McCourt

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On the Left side of the blackboard I print a capital F on the right side another capital F. I draw an arrow from left to right, from FEAR to FREEDOM.
I don't think anyone achieves complete freedom, but what I am trying to do with you is drive fear into a corner — Frank McCourt

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There's nothing sillier in the world than a teacher telling you don't do it after you already did it. — Frank McCourt

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Think I am? Smothered in fancy furs? The food churned in my stomach. I gagged. I ran to her backyard and threw it all up. Out she came. Look at what he did. Thrun up his First Communion breakfast. Thrun up the body and blood of Jesus. I have God in me backyard. What am I goin' to do? I'll take him to the Jesuits for they know the sins of the Pope himself. — Frank McCourt

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People everywhere brag and whimper about the woes of their early years, but nothing can compare with the Irish version: the poverty; the shiftless loquacious father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire; pompous priests; bullying school masters; the English and the terrible things they did to us for eight hundred long years.
Above all
we were wet. — Frank McCourt

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Shakespeare is like mashed potatoes, you can never get enough of him. — Frank McCourt

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There's no use saying anything in the schoolyard because there's always someone with an answer and there's nothing you can do but punch them in the nose and if you were to punch everyone who has an answer you'd be punching morning noon and night. — Frank McCourt

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They all went into the bar business. Which was a mistake, because they began to sip at the merchandise and it set them back, set us all back. Well, them more than I. — Frank McCourt

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My childhood here ... was very limited. So it was a long, long time before I actually went out to Brooklyn. — Frank McCourt

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I don't believe in happiness anyway ... it's too much of an American pastime, this search for happiness. Just forget happiness and enjoy your misery. — Frank McCourt

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I admire certain priests and nuns who go off on their own and do God's work on their own, who help in the ghettos, but as far as the institution of the church is concerned, I think it is despicable. — Frank McCourt

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They can afford to smile because they all have teeth so dazzling if they dropped them in the snow they'd be lost forever. — Frank McCourt

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When she's not talking to him the house is heavy and cold and we know we're not supposed to talk to him either for fear she'll give us the bitter look. We know Dad has done the bad thing and we know you can make anyone suffer by not talking to him. Even little Michael knows that when Dad does the bad thing you don't talk to him from Friday to Monday and when he tries to lift you to his lap you run to Mam. — Frank McCourt

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I asked my dad what afflicted meant and he said 'Sickness son, and things that don't fit. — Frank McCourt

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Limerick gained a reputation for piety, but we knew it was only the rain. — Frank McCourt

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Fear? That's it, Francis. The little slum boy still fears loss of job. Fears he'll be cast into the outer darkness and deafened by the weeping, the wailing, the gnashing. Brave, imaginative teacher encourages teenagers to sing recipes but wonders when the axe will fall, when Japanese visitors will shake their heads and report him to Washington. Japanese visitors will instantly detect in my classroom signs of America's degeneracy and wonder how they could have lost the war. And — Frank McCourt

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I learned the significance of my own insignificant life. — Frank McCourt

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I've stated before that my number one priority as the steward of the Dodgers is winning, and I believe that hiring Ned is a step in that direction. With his genuine passion for baseball, his intimate knowledge of all aspects of the game, and solid leadership skills, I am confident that Ned's experience will help the Dodgers put a winning team on the field, year-in and year-out. — Frank McCourt

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You can't teach in a vacuum. A good teacher relates the material to real life. You understand that, don't you? — Frank McCourt

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If you have anything to say, shut up! — Frank McCourt

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First day of your teaching you are to stand at your classroom door and let your students know how happy you are to see them. Stand, I say. Any playwright will tell you that when the actor sits down the play sits down. The best move of all is to establish yourself as a presence and to do it outside in the hallway. Outside, I say. That's your territory and when you're out there you'll be seen as a strong teacher, fearless, ready to face the swarm. That's what a class is, a swarm. And you're a warrior teacher. It's something people don't think about. Your territory is like your aura, it goes with you everywhere, in the hallways, on the stairs and, assuredly, in the classroom. — Frank McCourt

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I appealed to my mother. I told her it wasn't fair the way the whole family was invading my dreams and she said, Arrah, for the love o' God, drink your tea and go to school and stop tormenting us with your dreams. — Frank McCourt

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I am not living the American Dream; I am living the American fantasy. — Frank McCourt

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I know that big people don't like questions from children. They can ask all the questions they like, How's school? Are you a good boy? Did you say your prayers? but if you ask them did they say their prayers you might be hit on the head. — Frank McCourt

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I had no accomplishments except surviving. But that isn't enough in the community where I came from, because everybody was doing it. So I wasn't prepared for America, where everybody is glowing with good teeth and good clothes and food. — Frank McCourt

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But I don't know how I'll ever get a college degree and rise in the world with no high school diploma and eyes like piss holes in the snow, as everyone tells me. — Frank McCourt

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A mother's love is a blessing
No matter where you roam.
Keep her while you have her,
You'll miss her when she's gone. — Frank McCourt

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First of all there is always that artistic challenge of creating something. Or the particular experience to take slum life in that period and make something out of it in the form of a book. And then I felt some kind of responsibility to my family. — Frank McCourt

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I had to get rid of any idea of hell or any idea of the afterlife. That's what held me, kept me down. So now I just have nothing but contempt for the institution of the church. — Frank McCourt

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It's lovely to know that the world can't interfere with the inside of your head. — Frank McCourt

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Samuel Beckett was saying, in a new biography, that he could remember being in the womb, which, of course, is a bit far-fetched. But he's an Irishman, so nothing's too far-fetched. — Frank McCourt

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And, of course, they've always condemned dancing. You know, you might touch a member of the opposite sex. And you might get excited and you might do something natural. — Frank McCourt