Jamaica Kincaid Quotes


The garden has taught me to live to appreciate the times when things are fallow and when they're not.

When I write nonfiction it's always absolutely true. There will be no moment in my nonfiction where I have made something up and have to apologize to the bullying hostess of a talk show.

If I actually ran the world I'd do it from the kitchen. It's not anything deliberate or a statement or anything that's just how I understand things. It's arranged along informal lines.

The thing about writing in America is that writers in America have an arc. You enter writing as a career you expect to be successful and really it's the wrong thing. It's not a profession.

I swim in a shaft of light upside down and I can see myself clearly through and through from every angle. Perhaps I stand on the brink of a great discovery.

I wouldn't mind being labeled as "angry " if it wasn't used once again to denigrate and belittle.

I like melancholy. I like to pretend that I'm alone in the world and I'm just sort of abandoned.

I would be lost without the feeling of antagonism that people have towards me. I write out of defiance.

Who you are is a mystery no one can answer not even you.

I was then at the height of my two-facedness: that is outside I seemed one way inside I was another; outside false inside true.

I am not aware of anything below my neck. I live completely in my head.

Here I am a product of something really vicious product of the Atlantic slave trade. And yet I give nary a thought to some of the awful things happening right now in the world.

At the time I was taught to read it was an Eden-like time of my life. My mother adored me. Everyone adored me. So I associate reading with enormous pleasure.

People think if you describe someone with glistening brown skin you're writing about race as if the whole of the African diaspora is in someone's brown skin.

I didn't know it was possible to be successful as a writer so I wasn't afraid to fail.

I love planting. I love digging holes putting plants in tapping them in. And I love weeding but I don't like tidying up the garden afterwards.

Someone who knew me well once accused me of being unromantic. And that's probably true: I don't trust romance.

No matter how happy I had been in the past I do not long for it. The present is always the moment for which I love.

Writing is not a profession. It's a calling. It's almost holy.

If you just sit there and you're a writer you're bound to write crap. A lot of American writing is crap. And a lot of American writers are professionals.

People only say I'm angry because I'm black and I'm a woman.

It's very funny American society: White culture can do all sorts of things and get away with it but the minute a black person does it it's interpreted in some way.

The sound of words in a novel is a pretty amazing thing and I am concerned with the sound of every word I write.

I suppose you could say I love outlaw American culture.

I didn't really understand racism because I grew up in an all-black society so I didn't see how it was possible not to like me!

People only say I'm angry because I'm black and I'm a woman. But all sorts of people write with strong feeling the way I do.

Sometimes when someone says something stupid my friends and I just read the reviews out loud and collapse with laughter at the stupidity of it all.

I can't get upset about 'offensive to women' or 'offensive to blacks' or 'offensive to Native Americans' or 'offensive to Jews' ... Offend! I can't get worked up about it. Offend!

The people who invented race who grouped us together as "black " were inventing and categorizing their ability to do something vicious and wrong.

Habit gives endurance and fatigue is the best night cap.

There's a difference between bravery and rash stupidity.

The past is a room full of baggage and rubbish and sometimes things that are of use but if they are of real use I have kept them.

Express everything you like. No word can hurt you. None. No idea can hurt you. Not being able to express an idea or word will hurt you more. Like a bullet.

I loved Charlotte Bronte when I was little and I wanted to be Charlotte Bronte the way people want to be a princess.

When I write a book I hope to be beyond mortal by the time I'm finished.

I'm so used to being misunderstood

...yet a memory cannot be trusted for so much of the experience of the past is determined by the experience of the present.

I'm always surprised to hear or read my work described "In angry tones she says." No! In truthful tones! Does truth have a tone? I don't know.

I used to want to be a backup singer. Not a lead singer because I really can't sing.

I write a lot in my head. The revision goes on internally. It's not spontaneous and it doesn't have a schedule.

Like father like son like mother like daughter!

Of course every time I end a book I look down at myself and I'm just the same. I'm always disappointed that I'm just the same but not enough to never do it again!

The slave trade was globalism. Why people insist that globalism after its hideous history is a good thing I do not know.

Time is the element that controls the consciousness the very being of the people.

A tourist is an ugly human being.

It is sad that unless you are born a god your life from its very beginning is a mystery to you.

That was the moment he got the idea he possessed me in a certain way and that was the moment I grew tired of him.

When I start to write something I suppose I want it to change me to make me into something not myself.

People don't make changes because things are wonderful.

when people say you're charming you are in deep trouble.

the first step in claiming yourself is anger. You get mad. And you can't do anything before you get angry. And I recommend getting very angry to everyone anyone.

A piece of cloth that is called "linen" has more validity than calling you and me "black" or "negro." "Cotton" has more validity as cotton than yours and my being "black.

I've come to see that I'm saying something that people generally do not want to hear.

Life has a truth to it and it's complicated - it's love and it's hatred.

Friendship is a simple thing and yet complicated; friendship is on the surface something natural something taken for granted and yet underneath one could find worlds.

I like cooking but I think someone else ought to do the dishes.

He must have smiled at me though I don't really know but I don't like to think that I would love someone who hadn't first smiled at me.

When once I got to America I fell in love with hippie culture and I've always wanted to live in the country and grow organic vegetables.

I've never let the criticism deter me.

I'm sometimes afraid I'll cross a line and it'll be difficult to come back say to dinner.

I'll read anything. In fact I'll read while I'm doing other things which is not a good idea.

My disappointments stand up and grow ever taller. They will not be lost to me.

It is true that our skin is sort of more or less the same shade. But is it true that our skin color makes us a distinctive race? No.

What distinguished my life from my brother's is that my mother didn't like me. When I became a woman I seemed to repel her.

The thing we call romance is a diversion from something truer which is life.

The shadow of my mother danced around the room to a tune that my own shadow sang.

My writing has always been met with derision or dismissal.

I write out of defiance.

In isolation I ruthlessly plow the deep silences seeking my opportunities like a miner seeking veins of treasures. In what shallow glimmering space shall I find what glimmering glory?

I know that the fantastic amount of profit that people want to make on anything is damaging. And that none of us seem able to resist it.

What I really want to write about is injustice and justice and the different ways human beings organize the two.

I wish that I could love someone so much that I would die from it.

I was given a dictionary when I was seven and I read it because I had nothing else to read. I read it the way you read a book.

I think in many ways the problem that my writing would have with an American reviewer is that Americans find difficulty very hard to take. They are inevitably looking for a happy ending.

One of the things reading does it makes your loneliness manageable if you are an essentially lonely person.

Tomorrow exists even though I may not exist in it.

Why is a picture of something real eventually more exciting than the thing itself?

I like to be in my pajamas all day. Sometimes I don't wash for days because I like to read and sit around. I like to eat in bed.

I'm trying to earn a living in the way that is most enjoyable to me. I love the world of literature and I hope to support myself in it.

There's something to be said about a slightly plump person"?you have just enough of too much.

I think a woman is powerless if she cannot freely claim the right to her reproductive capacity. Society can talk about anything it likes except a woman's reproductive existence.

On their way to freedom some people find riches some people find death.

A great piece of literature encompasses all that is and all that will be.

I've never gotten used to winter and never will.

The families of rabbits or woodchucks will eat the salad greens just before they are ready to be picked; I plot ways to kill these animals but can never bring myself to do it...

The history of race relations in America is very different than something like the Holocaust.

I can write anywhere. I actually wrote more than I ever did when I had small children. My children were never a hindrance.

I picked a name that was a combination of an island name and a very English name. Havana was one choice and Dominico was another but I liked the combination of Jamaica Kincaid.

It was hollow my triumph I could feel that but I held on to it just the same.

The inevitable is no less a shock just because it is inevitable.

I come from the small island of Antigua and I always wanted to write; I just didn't know that it was possible.

It's too easy to say this or that is "race " and that has been a vehicle for an incredible amount of wrong in the world.

I read about writers who have routines. They write at certain times of the day. I can't do that. I am always writing-but in my head.

I would never never read a work of fiction and want to know about the person's life.

I was a new person then I knew things I had not known before I knew things that you can know only if you have been through what I had just been through.

I don't really do anything that isn't about writing and I don't really know who I am if I'm not thinking about writing.

Love and hatred don't take turns; they exist side by side at the same time. And one's duty one's obligation every day is to choose to follow the nobler one.

A professional writer is a joke. You write because you can't do anything else and then you have another job.

None of us seem to think that we should draw a line under what would be a satisfactory amount of wealth.

What I don't write is as important as what I write.