Quotes from Fay Weldon

Big Girls Don’t Cry:

“Children then were grateful to have been born at all; were on the whole uncritical of their upbringing; parents did the best they could in the light of their own natures, it was commonly assumed.” 

 “Men have muscles: women have defencelessness as their weapon. No wonder this world is so erotic, super-charged: composed of polarities as it is. He, she. Hard, soft. Ying, yang.”

“That was in the mid-seventies: socialist days. Long ago. The notion of primal ownership has returned with a vengeance: and the profit therein. The rain that falls from heaven belongs not to god but to the Water Board, the forests nature grew are fenced off and belong to the Forestry Commission; your very corpse belongs to the state: its parts up for sale for research purposes. Money has won over human dithering. The natural mother owns the genes of the child she forgot and can claim that child back from the adoptive mother any time: the moral right of the one who toils is swept away in the tide of mine, mine: the country you claim is the one of your ancestors not the one which reared you.”

Kehua!:

“Your writer, in telling you this tale of murder, adultery, incest, ghosts, redemption and remorse, takes you first to a comfortable house in Highgate, North London, where outside the kitchen window, dancing in the breeze, the daffodils are in glorious bloom: a host of yellow male stamens in vigorous competition, eager to puff their special pollen out into the world. No two daffodils are alike, nor are any two humans. We attribute free will to human, but not to daffodils–with whom we share 35 per cent of our DNA–though perhaps rashly, when we consider the way some human families behave.”

“Leaving home can cause all kinds of unexpected problems. But I don’t suppose Louis is the kind to go after you with the kitchen knife. But you haven’t got any children he can put in the back of the car and suffocate with exhaust fumes. So I expect you’re okay. But you can never quite be sure what manner of man you have, until you try to get away.”

“it’s all women do, really, isn’t it, run. Tuck the children under the arm and try and find somewhere better, safer. You get into the habit when they’re small and then just carry on.”

Letters to Alice: On First Reading Jane Austen:

“A writer’s all, Alice, is not taken up by the real world. There is something left over: enough for them to build these alternative, finite realities.”

“Who reads Arnold Bennett now, or Sinclair Lewis? But perhaps soon, with any luck, they’ll be rediscovered. ‘How interesting,’ people will say, pushing open the creaking doors. ‘How remarkable! Don’t you feel the atmosphere here? So familiar, so true: the amazing masquerading as the ordinary? Why haven’t we been here for so long?’ And Bennett, Lewis, or whoever, will be rediscovered, and the houses of his imagination be renovated, restored, and hinges oiled so that doors open easily, and the builder, the writer, takes his rightful place again in the great alternative hierarchy. “

Little Sisters:

“Well, all of us are nice, charming enough people, until tried by circumstances and hard times, and then, only then so we find out what we really are.”

“Had you never noticed the way the secret world sends out signs and symbols into the ordinary world? It delivers our messages in the form of coincidences: letters crossing in the post, unfamiliar tunes heard three times in one day, the way that blows of fate descend upon the same bowed shoulders, and beams of good fortune glow perpetually upon the blessed. Fairy tales, as I said, are lived out daily. There is far more going on in the world than we ever imagine.”

“The rich do play games with other people. They have nothing better to do.”

“Something has hardened in her heart. She wants struggle, conflict, victory. She has this scent of triumph in her nostrils: the taste of sexual power between her soft red lips. Something instinctive and nasty surfaces, hardens and takes possession: other women are her enemy, she perceives. Men are there to be made her allies: her stepping-stones to fulfillment and worldly success. Herself, her children, cradled in luxury and safety. (Well, how else is she to do that, on a typing speed of thirty-five, and shorthand fifty-three?) Elsa looks sideways at Gemma and think why, if I wanted, I could have Hamish too. Then where would you be, helpless in your chair, with your unworkable legs and your mutilated hand. Sitting there, patronising me.”

“And let us not think that we get what we deserve, any of us: some of us are better at triumphing over obstacles, that’s all.”

“Gemma had the courage of the very young.”

“The rich lack the inhibitions of the poor when it comes to the discussion of delicate problems. The poor know there are no solutions. The rich have the experience that there generally is.”

“We put ourselves in prison. No one put us there” (on being faithful during marriage)

“It is the imperfect we miss so badly, once they are gone.”

“Damaged people go on living: hide the damage from themselves, laugh, cry, even offer up some verisimilitude of love, but are never what they could have been, should have been.”

“If only,” observes Gemma. “we women could learn from one another.”

“Sexual passion, requited, invigorates the parties concerned, and enhances rather than diminishes the response to the outer world. An excellent patent medicine for all afflictions–curing madness, rheumatism, the bloody flux, anxiety, depression, warts and so on–at least for a time.Romantic love, on the other hand, seems to work as slow poison, making the suffered egocentric, vapid consumptive. and hard to get along with.”

“It doesn’t matter how long ago your childhood was,” says Gemma, by way of explanation. “it is never finished. Never.”

“Wickedness comes expensive. Goodness is a far cheaper and more boring phenomenon, especially in retrospect.”

“I was in love with a man once. I didn’t behave like that. I just kept out of his way. It depends on the opinion you have of yourself, I suppose…”

“How dreadful the past is, and all its inhabitants. I’m sure I don’t know why I go on tormenting myself with it. One will never understand it; much less oneself.”

“Hate is the easiest, most invigorating emotion of all: next, of course, to despising.”

“Don’t despise her. Thus we have all stayed to endure, when we need not. While teachers caned us, parents scolded us, meals upset our digestions. Sat at dinner and been abused: lain in beds, likewise. The door is there, and partly open. We seldom go out of it.”

Lives and Loves of a She-Devil

She devils are beyond nature: they create themselves out of nothing.”

Puffball:

“Many people dream of country cottages. Liffey dreamed for many years, and saw the dream come true one hot Sunday afternoon, in Somerset, in September. Bees droned, sky glazed, flowers glowed, and the name carved above the lintel, half hidden by rich red roses, was Honeycomb Cottage and Liffey knew that she must have it. A trap closed around her.”

“Isn’t she skinny,” said Mabs, watching through field glasses from the bedroom of Cadbury Farm. Her husband Tucker took the glasses.

“They grow them like that in the city,” he said. They both spoke in the gentle, caressing drawl of the West Country, mocking the universe, defying its harshness. “You don’t know they’re from the city,” Mabs objected. “They’re not from round here,” said Tucker. “No one round here does it in public.”

Praxis:

“The funny farm, the loony bin, the mental home. The shelter for the mentally disabled. I have visited them all, over the years.”

“Staring at herself in the mirror, at her doll’s face, stiff doll’s body, curly blonde doll’s hair, she wondered what experience or wisdom could possibly shine through the casing that Ivor had selected for her. She did not blame Ivor: she knew that she had done it to herself : had preferred to live as a figment of Ivor’s imagination, rather than put up with the confusion of being herself.”

“The New Women! I could barely recognize them as being of the same sex as myself, their buttocks arrogant in tight jeans, openly inviting, breasts falling free and shameless and feeling no apparent obligation to smile, look pleasant or keep their voices low. And how they love! Just look at them to know how! If a man doesn’t bring them to orgasm, they look for another who does. If by mistake they fall pregnant, they abort by vacuum aspiration. If they don’t like the food, they push the plate away. If the job doesn’t suit them, they hand in their notice. They are satiated by everything, hungry for nothing. They are what I wanted to be; they are what I worked for them to be: and now I see them, I hate them.”

“There’s only way to get out of the fix you’re in,” said Irma. “And that’s to sleep your way out of it. Sorry and all that.” 

  “a good lay. But where is she going to find that? Look at the way she dresses.”

The Fat Woman’s Joke:

“There were little gray clouds, here and there, like Alan’s writing, which was distracting him from his job, and Peter’s precocity, and my boredom with the home, and simply, I suppose growing older and fatter. In truth, of course, they weren’t little clouds at all. They were raging bloody crashing thunderstorms.”

“Nothing happens here. I know what to expect from one day to the next. I can control everything, and I can eat. Were I attracted to men, or indeed attractive to them, I would perhaps find a similar pleasure in some form of sexual activity. But as it is, I just eat. When you eat, you get fat, and that’s all. There are no complications. But husbands, children-no, Phyllis, I am sorry. I am not strong enough for them.”

I don’t think she feels very much at all. Like fish feel no pain when you catch them. From what Alan says, her emotional extremities are primitive.”

“One wonders which came first,” she said brightly,” the mistress or the female whine. It would be interesting to do a study.”

The Ted Dreams:

“My life seems full of husbands who suggest I ‘see someone’, when all that happens is I see something others don’t.”

“That’s right, I felt like saying: when in doubt, fucking blame the woman.”

2 Comments

Filed under Fiction, Weldon, Fay

2 responses to “Quotes from Fay Weldon

  1. Woe This is huge. A fascinating distillation of the works of Fay Weldon. A writer with strong opinions.

  2. I haven’t finished yet. I’m going through books and collecting quotes.

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