Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings quotes:

  • When a wave of love takes over a human being... such an exaltation takes him that he knows he has put his finger on the pulse of the great secret and the great answer.

  • Magic birds were dancing in the mystic marsh. The grass swayed with them, and the shallow waters, and the earth fluttered under them. The earth was dancing with the cranes, and the low sun, and the wind and sky.

  • I can only tell you that when long soul-searching and a combination of circumstances delivered me of my last prejudices, there was an exalted sense of liberation. It was not the Negro who became free, but I.

  • The individual man is transitory, but the pulse of life and of growth goes on after he is gone, buried under a wreath of magnolia leaves.

  • Ants in the house seem to be, not intruders, but the owners.

  • For myself, the Creek satisfies a thing that had gone hungry and unfed since childhood days. I am often lonely. Who is not? But I should be lonelier in the heart of a city.

  • I do not understand how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.

  • No man should have proprietary rights over land who does not use that land wisely and lovingly.

  • A woman has got to love a bad man once or twice in her life, to be thankful for a good one.

  • A dead tree, falling, made less havoc than a live one. It seemed as though a live tree went down fighting, like an animal.

  • ...a pie so delicate, so luscious, that I hope to be propped up on my dying bed and fed a generous portion. Then I think that I should refuse outright to die, for life would be too good to relinquish.

  • Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time.

  • Food imaginatively and lovingly prepared, and eaten in good company, warms the being with something more than the mere intake of calories. I cannot conceive of cooking for friends or family, under reasonable conditions, as being a chore.

  • Here in Florida the seasons move in and out like nuns in soft clothing, making no rustle in their passing.

  • Writing is agony for me. I work at it eight hours every day, hoping to get six pages, but I am satisfied with three.

  • Personal publicity is apt to be dangerous to any writer's integrity; for the moment he begins to fancy himself as quite a person, a taint creeps into his work.

  • Somewhere beyond the sink-hole, past the magnolia, under the live oaks, a boy and a yearling ran side by side, and were gone forever.

  • It seemed a strange thing to him, when earth was earth and rain was rain, that scrawny pines should grow in the scrub, while by every branch and lake and river there grew magnolias. Dogs were the same everywhere, and oxen and mules and horses. But trees were different in different places.

  • You can't change a man, no-ways. By the time his mummy turns him loose and he takes up with some innocent woman and marries her, he's what he is.

  • But to make the intangible tangible, to pick the emotion out of the air and make it true for others, is both the blessing and the curse of the writer, for the thing between book covers is never as beautiful as the thing he imagined.

  • A part of the placidity of the South comes from the sense of well-being that follows the heart-and-body-warming consumption of breads fresh from the oven. We serve cold baker's bread to our enemies, trusting that they will never impose on our hospitality again.

  • A man'll seem like a person to a woman, year in, year out. She'll put up and she'll put up. Then one day he'll do something maybe no worse than what he's been a-doing all his life. She'll look at him. And without no warning he'll look like a varmint.

  • A woman never forgets the men she could have had; a man, the women he couldn't

  • Fear is the most easily taught of all lessons, and the fight against terror, real or imagined, is perhaps the history of man's mind.

  • He who tries to forget a woman, never loved her

  • Hemingway, damn his soul, makes everything he writes terrifically exciting (and incidentally makes all us second-raters seem positively adolescent) by the seemingly simple expedient of the iceberg principle - three-fourths of the substance under the surface. He comes closer that way to retaining the magic of the original, unexpressed idea or emotion, which is always more stirring than any words. But just try and do it!

  • I had done battle with a great fear and the victory was mine.

  • I have found that each of my books has developed out of something I have written in a previous book. Some thought evidently unfinished.

  • Information can be passed from one to another, like a silver dollar. There's absolutely no wisdom except what you learn for yourself.

  • It is impossible to be among the woods animals on their own ground without a feeling of expanding one's own world, as when any foreign country is visited.

  • it is my conviction that the personality of the writer has nothing to do with the literate product of his mind. And publicity in this case embarrasses me because I am acutely conscious of how far short the book falls of the artistry I am struggling to achieve. It's like being caught half-dressed.

  • It is not death that kills us, but life. We are done to death by life.

  • It is not that death comes, but that life leaves.

  • It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed but not bought. It may be used but not owned. We are tenants, not possessors, lovers and not masters.

  • It's very important to be just to other people. It takes years and years of living to learn that injustice against oneself is always unimportant.

  • Life is strong stuff, some of us can bear more of it than others.

  • Lives are only one with living. How dare we, in our egos, claim catastrophe in the rise and fall of the individual entity? There is only Life, and we are beads strung on its strong and endless thread.

  • Living was no longer the grief behind him, but the anxiety ahead.

  • Madness is only a variety of mental nonconformity and we are all individualists here.

  • Men had reached into the scrub and along its boundaries, had snatched what they could get and had gone away, uneasy in that vast indifferent peace; for a man was nothing, crawling ant-like among the myrtle bushes under the pines. Now they were gone, it was as though they had never been. The silence of the scrub was primordial. The wood-thrush crying across it might have been the first bird in the world-or the last.

  • no case of libel by a negro against a white would even reach a southern court.

  • No, I most certainly do not think advertising people are wonderful. I think they are horrible, and the worst menace to mankind, next to war; perhaps ahead of war. They stand for the material viewpoint, for the importance of possessions, of desire, of envy, of greed. And war comes from these things.

  • Now, having left cities behind me, turned Away forever from the strange, gregarious Huddling of men by stones, I find those various Great towns I knew fused into one, burned Together in the fire of my despising...

  • people in general are totally unable to detach the personality of a writer from the products of his thinking.

  • Readers themselves, I think, contribute to a book. They add their own imaginations, and it is as though the writer only gave them something to work on, and they did the rest.

  • She lives a sophisticate's life among worldly people. At the slightest excuse she steps out of civilization, naked and relieved, as I should step out of a soiled chemise.

  • Sift each of us through the great sieve of circumstance and you have a residue, great or small as the case may be, that is the man or the woman.

  • Sorrow was like the wind. It came in gusts.

  • The best fish in the world are of course those one catches oneself.

  • the inferred is always more effective than the obvious.

  • The test of beauty is whether it can survive close knowledge.

  • the truth is artistically fallacious.

  • They were all too tightly bound together, men and women, creatures wild and tame, flowers, fruits and leaves, to ask that any one be spared. As long as the whole continued, the earth could go about its business.

  • to comfort any mortal against loneliness, one other is enough.

  • Two elements enter into successful and happy gatherings at table. The food, whether simple or elaborate, must be carefully prepared; willingly prepared; imaginatively prepared. And the guests - friends, family or strangers - must be conscious of their welcome.

  • We cannot live without the Earth or apart from it, and something is shrivelled in a man's heart when he turns away from it and concerns himself only with the affairs of men

  • Who owns Cross Creek? The red-birds, I think, more than I, for they will have their nests even in the face of delinquent mortgages..It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed, but not bought. It may be used, but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers its sesonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers, and not masters. Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time..."

  • Words began fights and words ended them.

  • You kin tame a bear. You kin tame a wild-cat and you kin tame a panther. ... You kin tame arything, son, excusin' the human tongue.

  • Now he understood. This was death. Death was a silence that gave back no answer.

  • Garlic, like perfume, must be used with discretion and on the proper occasions.