Richard Ford Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 76 quotes)
When you are sixteen you do not know what your parents know, or much of what they understand, and less of what's in their hearts. This can save you from becoming an adult too early, save your life from becoming only theirs lived over again--which is a loss. But to shield yourself--as I didn't do--seems to be an even greater error, since what's lost is the truth of your parents' life and what you should think about it, and beyond that, how you should estimate the world you are about to live in.
And now, while he didn't particularly think any of these stories was a bit truer, he did realize that he didn't really know his wife at all; and that in fact the entire conception of knowing another person--of trust, of closeness, of marriage itself--while not exactly a lie since it existed someplace if only as an idea (in his parents' life, at least marginally) was still completely out-of-date, defunct, was something typifying another era, now unfortunately gone. Meeting a girl, falling in love, marrying her, moving to Connecticut, buying a fucking house, starting a life with her and thinking you really knew anything about her--the last part was a complete fiction, which made all the rest a joke.
A sad fact, of course, about adult life is that you see the very things you'll never adapt to coming toward you on the horizon. You see them as the problems they are, you worry like hell about them, you make provisions, take precautions, fashion adjustments; you tell yourself you'll have to change your way of doing things. Only you don't. You can't. Somehow it's already too late. And maybe it's even worse than that: maybe the thing you see coming from far away is not the real thing, the thing that scares you, but its aftermath. And what you've feared will happen has already taken place. This is similar in spirit to the realization that all the great new advances of medical science will have no benefit for us at all, thought we cheer them on, hope a vaccine might be ready in time, think things could still get better. Only it's too late there too. And in that very way our life gets over before we know it. We miss it. And like the poet said: The ways we miss our lives are life.
They may already know too much about their mother and father--nothing being more factual than divorce, where so much has to be explained and worked through intelligently (though they have tried to stay equable). I've noticed this is often the time when children begin calling their parents by their first names, becoming little ironists after their parents' faults. What could be lonelier for a parent than to be criticized by his child on a first-name basis?
I didn't know with certainty what to say about the large world, and didn't care to risk speculating. And I still don't. That we all look at it from someplace, and in some hopeful-useful way, is about all I found I could say--my best, most honest effort. And that isn't enough for literature, though it didn't bother me much. Nowadays, I'm willing to say yes to as much as I can: yes to my town, my neighborhood, my neighbor, yes to his car, her lawn and hedge and rain gutters. Let things be the best they can be. Give us all a good night's sleep until it's over.
I had more positive views. Which made me feel that although I hadn't been taught to assimilate, a person perhaps assimilated without knowing it. I was doing it now. You did it alone, and not with other or for them. And assimilating possibly wasn't so hard and risky and didn't need to be permanent. This state of mind conferred another freedom on me and was like starting life over, or as I've already said, becoming someone else -- but someone who was not stalled but moving, which was the nature of things in the world. I could like it or hate it, but the world would change around me no matter how I felt.