Erica Jong

Quotes
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Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t. Human Nature
If sex and creativity are often seen by dictators as subversive activities, it’ s because they lead to the knowledge that you own your own body (and with it your own voice), and that’ s the most revolutionary insight of all. Freedom & Liberty ;Dictators, Despots, Autocrats, Autocracies & Dictatorships
Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.
All my forebears worked for a living. My grandfather painted portraits. My mother too. My aunt painted seascapes.
Ambivalence is a wonderful tune to dance to. It has a rhythm all its own.
And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
Anybody who instantly goes from being a poet and a graduate student to being a public figure has to be in a state of shock. First people want to praise you, and then they want to attack you. No one can prepare you for it.
As a past president of the Writers Guild, I think women shouldn't write for free. Maybe you have to do it for a time, to make a reputation, but I think the idea of giving your work away is the beginning of authors not being able to make a living. Time ;Women ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
At certain historic moments, grandparents took on childrearing responsibilities. In many cultures, they still do. Chinese grandparents who are able to retire at 55 are seen all over Beijing bouncing grandbabies. In the United States, we can't afford to retire at 55.
Every country gets the circus it deserves. Spain gets bullfights. Italy the Church. America Hollywood.
Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.
Fame means millions of people have the wrong idea of who you are.
Famous people complain about fame, but they never want to give it back, myself included. Fame
Feminism is teaching. I've gotten a lot of pleasure pushing younger writers that I've met and worked with.
Friends love misery, in fact. Sometimes, especially if we are too lucky or too successful or too pretty, our misery is the only thing that endears us to our friends. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Gossip is the opiate of the oppressed.
He who can take advice is sometimes superior to him who can give it.
I believe that women should live for love, for motherhood and for intellect, and I believe we shouldn't have to choose. And I believe that's always been difficult for women, to express themselves intellectually, maternally, and passionately. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Women
I do a lot of teaching... and so I think I know how hard it is for young writers, how they have to work two jobs to survive. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I don't cook. My mother didn't cook. My daughter doesn't cook.
I don't think that I had any idea that 'Fear of Flying' would become a part of the culture. I had no idea that it would go all over the world and be published in Chinese and Serbo-Croat and so on.
I don't think there's just one person for everyone. It would be very hard for me to be with a guy who was not bright or funny. And he'd have to see the absurdities of the world, not exactly as I see them necessarily. Humor
I guess the thing that I'm most proud of is that I kept on writing poetry. I understand that poetry is sort of the source of everything I do. It's the source of my creativity. Literature, Writers & Writing
I have a very sensitive nose. I identify with dogs. I understand the world through my nose.
I have accepted fear as a part of life - specifically the fear of change... I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back. Life
I have forgotten my rave reviews and memorized my vicious ones - like most writers.
I know so many women in their fifties, sixties and seventies who delight in being on their own. It's amazing. They don't see any stigma attached to it. We don't need a man to prove our identity anymore. Women
I never became a writer for the money. I am a poet first. Even getting published is a miracle for poets. Money, Coins & Minting
I remember everything but forgive anyway.
I think feminism means what it has always meant - women want to use all their gifts, all their talents and be judged impartially for them. I don't think feminism has ever meant anything else. Women
I think professionalism is important, and professionalism means you get paid.
I think that Sappho expresses the orphaned part of ourselves. The orphaned part of ourselves that reaches out to passion for completion. That reaches out to motherhood for completion.
I thought to spend my declining years writing poetry and teaching - but that won't pay the Bergdorf's bill. I think I'll move to somewhere life is cheaper. Life ;Literature, Writers & Writing
I write lustily and humorously. It isn't calculated; it's the way I think. I've invented a writing style that expresses who I am.
I write slowly by hand. Publishing is effectively bankrupt for you unless you are Danielle Steele. It takes a year to write book and advances are going down or disappearing.
If you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
I'm interested in what happens to people when they get into that publicity machine. We tend to think things have changed, but there's still a deep sexism underlying the way women are treated publicly. Women
In a bad marriage, friends are the invisible glue. If we have enough friends, we may go on for years, intending to leave, talking about leaving - instead of actually getting up and leaving. Families, Children & Parenting
In poetry you can express almost inexpressible feelings. You can express the pain of loss, you can express love. People always turn to poetry when someone they love dies, when they fall in love. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Literature, Writers & Writing
Is a currency worth anything if no one wants it? We used to buy shoes in Italy. Remember?
It is the city of mirrors, the city of mirages, at once solid and liquid, at once air and stone.
It was unimaginable what happens to you when you get known for a book that everybody reads, or that everybody has heard of. If the book is said to be sexy, the crazies come out of the woodwork.
It's hard to do fiction and nonfiction simultaneously.
I've never been able to control my public image.
Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.
Ken, my husband, just smelled like he belonged to me. I'm not talking about hygiene. I'm talking about when you hug him, he either feels like a member of your tribe or not. It's their scent.
Men and women, women and men. It will never work. Women ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Men have always detested women's gossip because they suspect the truth: their measurements are being taken and compared. Truth ;Women
My generation was not only maligned in book reviews and attacked in graduate school but we lived to see our adored and adorable daughters wonder why feminism had become a dirty word.
My grandchildren are fabulous and funny. Humor
No one ever found wisdom without also being a fool. Writers, alas, have to be fools in public, while the rest of the human race can cover its tracks.
Often I find that poems predict what I'm going to do later in my own writing, and often I find that poems predict my life. So I think poetry is the most intense expression of feeling that we have. Life ;Literature, Writers & Writing
People always think that history proceeds in a straight line. It doesn't. Social attitudes don't change in a straight line. There's always a backlash against progressive ideas. History
Perhaps all artists were, in a sense, housewives: tenders of the earth household.
Poetry is the language we speak in the most terrifying or ecstatic passages of our lives. But the very word poetry scares people. They think of their grade school teachers reciting 'Hiawatha' and they groan. Literature, Writers & Writing
Poetry is what we turn to in the most emotional moments of our life - when a beloved friend dies, when a baby is born or when we fall in love. Life ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Literature, Writers & Writing
Sadly, because of the enormous gap between rich and poor, some mothers can afford helpers, but many can't. Those who can would be kinder to refrain from criticizing other women. Women
Sexism kind of predisposes us to see men's work as more important than women's, and it is a problem, I guess, as writers, we have to change. Women ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Show me a woman who doesn't feel guilty and I'll show you a man.
Singularity shows something wrong in the mind.
Solitude is un-American.
Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame. Life
The problem with feminism in the second wave was that we fought so much among ourselves, and I think we did so much damage to the movement... and I think the next wave, the third wave, is women mentoring younger women and women helping younger women to enter the political process and the writing world. Women
The stones themselves are thick with history, and those cats that dash through the alleyways must surely be the ghosts of the famous dead in feline disguise. History ;Fame
The trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
There is still the feeling that women's writing is a lesser class of writing, that what goes on in the nursery or the bedroom is not as important as what goes on in the battlefield, that what women know about is a less category of knowledge. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Women
We all parent the best we can. Being human, we're ambivalent. We want perfection for our babies, but we also need sleep.
What are the sources of poetry? Love and death and the paradox of love and death. All poetry from the beginning is about Eros and Thanatos. Those are the only subjects. And how Eros and Thanatos interweave. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Death ;Literature, Writers & Writing
When everyone thinks they know you, it's hard not to be guarded.
When I met my husband, I refused to invite him home for Passover because I was embarrassed my mother might serve all the catered dishes in the wrong order.
When I was a ten-year old bookworm and used to kiss the dust jacket pictures of authors as if they were icons, it used to amaze me that these remote people could provoke me to love. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
When I'm sitting at the desk not being able to write line one, it's silence and despair! It's not so easy to put the pen to the legal pad or type the first sentence on the computer screen. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Where is Hollywood located? Chiefly between the ears. In that part of the American brain lately vacated by God. Religion & God
Women are individuals in parenting, and why not? Women ;Families, Children & Parenting
Women are not the richer sex. Women are not equal in society. Society ;Women
Women are the only exploited group in history to have been idealized into powerlessness. Women ;History ;Equality & Equal Opportunity
Women tend to be preservers of the social structure, of marriage. They don't want to upset their husbands or their significant others. They don't want to hurt people. Women ;Families, Children & Parenting
Women's books are kind of discriminated against. If a man writes a book about his family stories, people think of it as literature. If it's a woman, she's 'spilling her guts,' and it's not art. Women ;Families, Children & Parenting ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
You see a lot of smart guys with dumb women, but you hardly ever see a smart woman with a dumb guy. Women
You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame. Life

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