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Glenn used to say the reason you can't really imagine yourself being dead was that as soon as you say, 'I'll be dead,' you've said the word I, and so you're still alive inside the sentence. And that's how people got the idea of the immortality of the soul - it was a consequence of grammar.


Margaret Atwood

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More Margaret Atwood

Canada was built on dead beavers.
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If you're put on a pedestal, you're supposed to behave yourself like a pedestal type of pers...
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I'm a strict, strict agnostic. It's very different from a casual, 'I don't know.'...
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Before the Civil War, Canada was at the top of the underground railroad. If you made it into Canada,...
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The answers you get from literature depend on the questions you pose.
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If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schiz...
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Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no yo...
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Every utopia - let's just stick with the literary ones - faces the same problem: What do you do ...
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That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn't even an...
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There's an epigram tacked to my office bulletin board, pinched from a magazine -- "Wanting to meet a...
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We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of pr...
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If you knew what was going to happen, if you knew everything that was going to happen next—if you ...
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Longed for him. Got him. Shit.
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The Eskimos had 52 names for snow because it was important to them; there ought to be as many for lo...
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The basic Female body comes with the following accessories: garter belt, panty-girdle, crinoline, ca...
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I hope that people will finally come to realize that there is only one 'race' - the human race - and...
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A divorce is like an amputation: you survive it, but there's less of you
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I don't want to see anyone. I lie in the bedroom with the curtains drawn and nothingness washing ove...
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When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like ...
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وقتی دردپایان می یابد،دیگر در یاد چه کسی می ماند؟ تنها ...
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Why is it that night falls, instead of rising, like the dawn? Yet if you look east, at sunset, you c...
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The genesis of a poem for me is usually a cluster of words. The only good metaphor I can think of is...
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We understand more than we know.
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When you're young, you think everything you do is disposable. You move from now to now, crumpling ti...
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You need a certain amount of nerve to be a writer.
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Because I am a mother, I am capable of being shocked; as I never was when I was not one
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A ratio of failures is built into the process of writing. The wastebasket has evolved for a reason.
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Does feminist mean large unpleasant person who'll shout at you or someone who believes women are hum...
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What fabrications they are, mothers. Scarecrows, wax dolls for us to stick pins into, crude diagrams...
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The myth that everyone once read great literature is just a myth.
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The society in 'The Handmaid's Tale' is a throwback to the early Puritans whom I studied...
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Science fiction is filled with Martians and space travel to other planets, and things like that.
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No mother is ever, completely, a child's idea of what a mother should be, and I suppose it works the...
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The young habitually mistake lust for love, they're infested with idealism of all kinds.
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Home is where the heart is, I thought now, gathering myself together in Betty's Luncheonette. I had ...
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A truth should exist,
it should not be used
like this. If I love you

is that a ...
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Vanity is becoming a nuisance, I can see why women give it up, eventually. But I'm not ready for tha...
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The possibility of injury or death was a strong attraction: as the online world became more and more...
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In theory I can do almost anything; certainly I have been told how. In practice I do as little as po...
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Every habit he's ever had is still there in his body, lying dormant like flowers in the desert. Give...
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The Eskimo has fifty-names for snow because it is important to them; there ought to be as many for l...
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Like many modern poets, I tend to conceal rhymes by placing them in the middle of lines, and to avoi...
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What did they want from it? Lechery, smut, confirmation of their worst suspicions. But perhaps some ...
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Mitch looks in her direction. He can't meet her eyes. It's as if she's semi-invisible, a kind of hov...
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Already my childhood seemed far away—a remote age, faded and bittersweet, like dried flowers. Did ...
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Lambhood and tigerishness may be found in either gender, and in the same individual at different tim...
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You need a certain amount of nerve to be a writer...an almost physical nerve, the kind you need to w...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I am not mad because I'm a woman... I'm mad because you're an asshole.
MARGARET ATWOOD
It's impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because of what you say can never be exact, y...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I feel like the word shatter.
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There is more than one kind of freedom," said Aunt Lydia. "Freedom to and freedom from. In the days ...
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I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I exist in two places,
here and where you are.
MARGARET ATWOOD
But my dreaming self refuses to be consoled. It continues to wander, aimless, homeless, alone. It ca...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I leafed through all the men I had known to see whether or not I hated them. But then I realized it ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
it's doors I'm afraid of because I can't see through them, its the door opening by itself in the win...
MARGARET ATWOOD
The animals have no need for speech, why talk when you are a word.
MARGARET ATWOOD
They will not let you have peace, they don't want you to have anything they don't have themselves.
MARGARET ATWOOD
I try to congure, to raise my own spirits, from wherever they are. I need to remember what they look...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Yet each flower, each twig, each pebble, shines as though illuminated from within, as once before, o...
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I got into trouble a while ago for saying that I thought the internet led to increased literacy - pe...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Myths can't be translated as they did in their ancient soil. We can only find our own meaning in...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl th...
MARGARET ATWOOD
A Paradox, the doughnut hole. Empty space, once, but now they've learned to market even that. A minu...
MARGARET ATWOOD
You fit into me
like a hook into an eye
a fish hook
an open eye
MARGARET ATWOOD
The newspaper journalists like to believe the worst; they can sell more papers that way, as one of t...
MARGARET ATWOOD
​Now I'm awake to the world. I was asleep before. That's how we let it happen. When they slaughter...
MARGARET ATWOOD
She takes after Laura in that respect: the same tendency towards absolutism, the same refusal to com...
MARGARET ATWOOD
By now you must have guessed: I come from another planet. But I will never say to you, Take me to yo...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Some of these stories, it is understood, are not to be passed on to my father, because they would up...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Can I be blamed for wanting a real body, to put my arms around? Without it I too am disembodied. I c...
MARGARET ATWOOD
She imagines him imagining her. This is her salvation.
In spirit she walks the city, traces its...
MARGARET ATWOOD
You will always have partial points of view, and you'll always have the story behind the story t...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Every aspect of human technology has a dark side, including the bow and arrow.
MARGARET ATWOOD
Little girls are cute and small only to adults. To one another they are not cute. They are life-size...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed an...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Men are not to be told anything they might find too painful; the secret depths of human nature, the ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
War is what happens when language fails.
MARGARET ATWOOD
Or perhaps she's just softening me up: she's a Baptist, she'd like me to find Jesus, or vice versa, ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
MARGARET ATWOOD
Optimism means better than reality; pessimism means worse than reality. I'm a realist.
MARGARET ATWOOD
Science and fiction both begin with similar questions: What if? Why? How does it all work? But they ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
An eye for an eye only leads to more blindness.
MARGARET ATWOOD
They've removed anything you can tie a rope to.
MARGARET ATWOOD
When you can't tell the difference between your own pleasure and your pain then you're an addict.
MARGARET ATWOOD
The thing about delirium is you think it's great, but it actually isn't.
MARGARET ATWOOD
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don't let the bastards grind you down.
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Girl Without Hands

Walking through the ruins
on your way to work
that do not lo...
MARGARET ATWOOD
You hear doom and gloom about the Internet ruining young people's command of English - that'...
MARGARET ATWOOD
There's nothing like a shovel full of dirt to encourage literacy.
MARGARET ATWOOD
My parents are like younger, urchinlike brothers and sisters whose faces are dirty and who blurt out...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Foreignness is all around. Only in the heart of the heart of the country, namely the heart of the Un...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I lie on the floor, washed by nothing and hanging on. I cry at night. I am afraid of hearing voices,...
MARGARET ATWOOD
We were revisionists; what we revised was ourselves.
MARGARET ATWOOD
Our heaven is their hell, said God. I like a balanced universe.
MARGARET ATWOOD
If it's a story I'm telling, then I have control over the ending...
But if it's a story, even i...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I am not your justification for existence.
MARGARET ATWOOD
Falling in love, we said; I fell for him. We were falling women. We believed in it, this downward mo...
MARGARET ATWOOD
How I would like to have them back, those pointless afternoons - the boredom, the aimlessness, the u...
MARGARET ATWOOD
The ancestral voices were prophesying war because ancestral voices never shut up, and they hate to b...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Roz is telling a story. That's what they will do, increasingly in their lives: tell stories. Tonight...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Roz is crying again. What she's mourning is her own good will. She tried so hard, she tried so hard ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Already they're the objects of narrow sideways looks, as if they had something to do with it; alread...
MARGARET ATWOOD
She has never been in the presence, before, of two people who are in love with each other. She feels...
MARGARET ATWOOD
She had an idea, but it was the wrong idea. It was hardly even an idea, just a white idea balloon wi...
MARGARET ATWOOD
He doesn't know what is worse, a past he can't regain or a present that will destroy him it he looks...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I follow suit, said the lion,
vacating his coat of arms
and movie logos; and the eagle s...
MARGARET ATWOOD
All fiction is about people, unless it's about rabbits pretending to be people. It's all ess...
MARGARET ATWOOD
From her handbag she takes a round gilt compact with violets on the cover. She opens it, unclosing h...
MARGARET ATWOOD
The trouble is all in the knob at the top of our bodies. I’m not against the body or the head eith...
MARGARET ATWOOD
The reason they invented coffins, to lock the dead in, preserve them, they put makeup on them; they ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I would rather dance as a ballerina, though faultily, than as a flawless clown.
MARGARET ATWOOD
Madness is only an amplification of what you already are.
MARGARET ATWOOD
I read for pleasure and that is the moment I learn the most.
MARGARET ATWOOD
They all disowned their parents long ago, the way you are supposed to
MARGARET ATWOOD
The answers you get from literature depend on the questions you pose
MARGARET ATWOOD
He's very in depth, on the dark side. He's interested in structure and how things work. After readin...
MARGARET ATWOOD
The Orange prize has been pivotal in the careers of many women writers - it's given them that extra ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
What were prizes but one more level of control imposed on Art by the establishment?
MARGARET ATWOOD
After they had skated around the pond several times, my father asked my mother to marry him. I expec...
MARGARET ATWOOD
A writer's age at the time of a work's composition is never irrelevant.
MARGARET ATWOOD
As soon as you have a language that has a past tense and a future tense you're going to say, ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
She would roll up her sleeves and dispense with sentimentality, and do whatever blood-soaked, bad-sm...
MARGARET ATWOOD
How could I have been so ignorant? she thinks. So stupid, so unseeing, so given over to carelessness...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Better never means better for everyone... It always means worse, for some.
MARGARET ATWOOD
I particularly like Twitter, because it's short and can be very funny and informative. It's ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
But despite everything, we didn't do badly by one another, we did as well as most. I wish she were h...
MARGARET ATWOOD
You want the truth, of course. You want me to put two and two together. But two and two doesn’t ne...
MARGARET ATWOOD
But in the end, back she comes. There's no use resisting. She goes to him for amnesia, for oblivion....
MARGARET ATWOOD
Why is it we want so badly to memorialize ourselves? Even while we're still alive. We wish to assert...
MARGARET ATWOOD
It wasn't so easy though, ending the war. A war is a huge fire; the ashes from it drift far, and set...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Why does the mind do such things? Turn on us, rend us, dig the claws in. If you get hungry enough, t...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Should is a futile word. It's about what didn't happen. It belongs in a parallel universe. It...
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Sauve qui peut. To survive
we’d all turn thief

and rascal, or so says the fox,
MARGARET ATWOOD
The problem with meditating is I generally go to sleep, and that's because I'm doing it wron...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Male fantasies, male fantasies, is everything run by male fantasies? Up on a pedestal or down on you...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I guess that's how they were able to do it, in the way they did, all at once, without anyone knowing...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Many believed what they were told: that the welfare of the entire kingdom depended on their selfless...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Also she went in for culture, which gave her a certain moral authority. It wouldn't now; but people ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Religious people of any serious kind made her nervous: they were like men in raincoats who might or ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I wonder which is preferable, to walk around all your life swollen up with your own secrets until yo...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.
MARGARET ATWOOD
Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Popular art is the dream of society; it does not examine itself.
MARGARET ATWOOD
I hate to tell you this, but you will never actually go to a galaxy far, far away and encounter Dart...
MARGARET ATWOOD
The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Some people mistakenly think nature is very nice and benevolent and never betrays.
MARGARET ATWOOD
You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself.
MARGARET ATWOOD
If social stability goes pear-shaped, you have a choice between anarchy and dictatorship. Most peopl...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Heroes need monsters to establish their heroic credentials. You need something scary to overcome.
MARGARET ATWOOD
No one knows what cuases an outer landscape to become an inner one.
MARGARET ATWOOD
The Eskimos had 52 names for snow because it was important to them; there ought to be as many for ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Was this a betrayal, or was it an act of courage? Perhaps both. Neither one involves forethought: su...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Time is compressed like the fist I close on my knee... I hold inside it the clues and solutions and ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I've never bought into any sort of hard and fast, this-box/that-box characterization. People are...
MARGARET ATWOOD
'1984' is not a wonder tale. Not only could it happen, but it has happened, but under differ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
A home filled with nothing but yourself. It's heavy, that lightness. It's crushing, that emptiness.
MARGARET ATWOOD
The story as told in The Odyssey doesn't hold water. There are too many inconsistencies.
MARGARET ATWOOD
If your not annoying somebody, you're not alive.
MARGARET ATWOOD
My self is a thing that I must now compose...as one composes a speech. What I must present is a 'mad...
MARGARET ATWOOD
For years I wanted to be older, and now I am.
MARGARET ATWOOD
Fatigue is here, in my body, in my legs and eyes. That is what gets you in the end. Faith is only a ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Romance takes place in the middle distance. Romance is looking in at yourself through a window cloud...
MARGARET ATWOOD
It isn't running away they're afraid of. We wouldn't get far. It's those other escapes, the ones you...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I want everything back, the way it was. But there is no point to it, this wanting.
MARGARET ATWOOD
I know that some books and some writers, you can pretty much draw a square around it and say, 'N...
MARGARET ATWOOD
There was old sex in the room and loneliness, and expectation, of something without a shape or name....
MARGARET ATWOOD
The internet is 95 percent porn and spam
MARGARET ATWOOD
You know I love you. You're the only one."

"She isn't the first woman he's ever said that...
MARGARET ATWOOD
The trouble some people have being German, I thought, I have being human. In a way it was stupid to ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
The heart with letters on it shining like a light bulb through the trim hole painted in the chest, a...
MARGARET ATWOOD
There's more than one way to skin a cat, my father used to say; it bothered me, I didn't see why the...
MARGARET ATWOOD
We battled in secret, undeclared, and after a while I no longer fought back because I never won. The...
MARGARET ATWOOD
This above all, to refuse to be a victim. Unless I can do that I can do nothing.
MARGARET ATWOOD
Every Canadian has a complicated relationship with the United States, whereas Americans think of Can...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Two-thirty comes during Testifying. It's Janine, telling about how she was gang-raped at fourteen an...
MARGARET ATWOOD
A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze.
MARGARET ATWOOD
By now you know: I come from another planet. But I will never say to you, "Take me to your leaders."...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Art is long and life is brief and mortality looms.
MARGARET ATWOOD
He wants to see, he wants to know, only to see and know. I'm aware that it is this mentality, this c...
MARGARET ATWOOD
If you knew what was going to happen, if you knew everything that was going to happen next—if you ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I didn't know I was about to be left with her idea of me; with her idea of my goodness pinned onto m...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Stick a shovel in the ground almost anywhere and some horrible thing or other will come to light.
MARGARET ATWOOD
The minimalist life. Pleasure is an egg. Blessings that can be counted, on the fingers of one hand. ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Speculative fiction encompasses that which we could actually do. Sci-fi is that which we're prob...
MARGARET ATWOOD
If you're waiting for the perfect moment, you'll never write a thing because it will never a...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Anybody who writes a book is an optimist. First of all, they think they're going to finish it. Secon...
MARGARET ATWOOD
The best way of keeping a secret is to pretend there isn't one.
MARGARET ATWOOD
There is something powerful in the whispering of obscenities, about those in power. There's somethin...
MARGARET ATWOOD
There were a lot of gods. Gods always come in handy, they justify almost anything.
MARGARET ATWOOD
Women have curious ways of hurting someone else. They hurt themselves instead; or else they do it so...
MARGARET ATWOOD
But people will do anything rather than admit that their lives have no meaning. No use, that is. No ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I’m not used to girls, or familiar with their customs. I feel awkward around them, I don’t know ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
How could I be sleeping with this particular man.... Surely only true love could justify my lack of ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Publishing a book is like stuffing a note into a bottle and hurling it into the sea. Some bottles dr...
MARGARET ATWOOD
but nothing I ever gave was good for you;
it was like white bread to goldfish.
they cram a...
MARGARET ATWOOD
I'm a person of whim, and easily distracted. I don't like multitasking. When I'm doing o...
MARGARET ATWOOD
The proper study of Mankind is Everything.
MARGARET ATWOOD
Nature is an expert in cost-benefit analysis,' she says. 'Although she does her accounting a little ...
MARGARET ATWOOD
Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you'd be boiled to death before you ...
MARGARET ATWOOD