Dorothy Allison Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 62 quotes)
I want hard stories, I demand them from myself. Hard stories are worth the difficulty. It seems to me the only way I have forgiven anything, understood anything, is through that process of opening up to my own terror and pain and reexamining it, re-creating it in the story, and making it something different, making it meaningful - even if the meaning is only in the act of the telling.
Love was something I would not have to worry about - the whole mystery of love, heartbreak songs, and family legends. Women who pined, men who went mad, people who forgot who they were and shamed themselves with need, wanting only to be loved by the one they loved. Love was a mystery. Love was a calamity. Love was a curse that had somehow skipped me, which was no doubt why I was so good at multiple-choice tests and memorizing poetry. Sex was a country I been dragged into as an unwilling girl - sex, and the madness of the body. For all that it could terrify and confuse me, sex was something I had assimilated. Sex was a game or a weapon or an addiction. Sex was familiar. But love - love was another country.
I was no Cherokee. I was no warrior. I was nobody special. I was just a girl, scared and angry. When I saw myself in Daddy Glen's eyes, I wanted to die. No, I wanted to be already dead, cold and gone. Everything felt hopeless. He looked at me and I was ashamed of myself. It was like sliding down an endless hole, seeing myself at the bottom, dirty, ragged, poor, stupid.
To tell a great story, you really do have to step through the box that the world has put around you; you have to see it. You have to see what the world has defined you as. And you have to refute it in language that the world will understand. ... Repay the debt that kept you alive, you will make an art and you will take a leap. And, oh God, I hope you get all the way over to the other side. Because some of us don’t.
It was a story to tell myself, a promise. Saying out loud, "You're never going to touch me again" - that was a piece of magic, magic in the belly, the domed kingdom of sex, the terror place inside where rage and power live. Whiskey rush without whiskey, bravado and determination, this place where for the first time I knew no confusion, only outrage and pride. In the worst moments of my life, I have told myself that story, the story about a girl who stood up to a monster. Doing that, I make a piece of magic inside myself, magic to use against the meanness of the world.
I need you to do more than survive. As writers, as revolutionaries, tell the truth, your truth in your own way. Do not buy into their system of censorship, imagining that if you drop this character or hide that emotion, you can slide through their blockades. Do not eat your heart out in the hope of pleasing them.
I could not stand it, neither the words on the page nor what they told me about myself. My neck and teeth began to ache, and I was not at all sure I really wanted to live with that stuff inside me. But holding onto them, reading them over again, became a part of the process of survival, of deciding once more to live--and clinging to that decision.
When my mama was twenty-five she already had an old woman's hands, and I feared them. I did not know then what it was that scared me so. I've come to understand since that it was the thought of her growing old, of her dying and leaving me alone. I feared those brown spots, those wrinkles and cracks that lined her wrists, ankles, and the soft shadowed sides of her eyes.