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Quotes of the day: Jessamyn West

Published Sunday, February 22, 2015 @ 1:06 PM EST
Feb 22 2015

Mary Jessamyn West (July 18, 1902 - February 23, 1984) was an American author of short stories and novels, notably The Friendly Persuasion (1945). A Quaker from Indiana, she graduated from Fullerton Union High School in 1919 and Whittier College in 1923. There she helped found the Palmer Society in 1921. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

A broken bone can heal, but the wound a word opens can fester forever.

A good time for laughing is when you can.

A rattlesnake that doesn't bite teaches you nothing.

A religious awakening which does not awaken the sleeper to love has roused him in vain.

A taste for irony has kept more hearts from breaking than a sense of humor, for it takes irony to appreciate the joke which is on oneself.

Faithfulness to the past can be a kind of death above ground. Writing of the past is a resurrection; the past then lives in your words and you are free.

Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.

Groan and forget it.

How can you tell whether or not you have had enough until you've had a little too much?

I never meet anyone nowadays who admits to having had a happy childhood. Everyone appears to think happiness betokens a lack of sensitivity.

I've done more harm by the falseness of trying to please than by the honesty of trying to hurt.

If you train people properly, they won't be able to tell a drill from the real thing. If anything, the real thing will be easier.

If you want a baby, have a new one. Don't baby the old one.

In their sympathies, children feel nearer animals than adults. They frolic with animals, caress them, share with them feelings neither has words for. Have they ever stroked any adult with the love they bestow on a cat? Hugged any grownup with the ecstasy they feel when clasping a puppy?

It is very east to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed your own.

Justice is a terrible but necessary thing.

Memory is a magnet. It will pull to it and hold only material nature has designed it to attract.

Nothing is so dear as what you're about to leave.

Only a fool would refuse to enter a fool's paradise when that's the only paradise he'll ever have a chance to enter.

Sleeplessness is a desert without vegetation or inhabitants.

Some people are always thirsting for water from other people's wells.

Suffering is also one of the ways of knowing you're alive.

Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary.

The basic essential of a great actor is that he loves himself in acting.

The past is really almost as much a work of the imagination as the future.

The source of one's joy is also often the source of one's sorrow.

There are two barriers that often prevent communication between the young and their elders. The first is middle-aged forgetfulness of the fact that they themselves are no longer young. The second is youthful ignorance of the fact that the middle aged are still alive.

We can love an honest rogue, but what is more offensive than a false saint?

We want the facts to fit the preconceptions. When they don't it is easier to ignore the facts than to change the preconceptions.


(February 23 is also the birthday of W.E.B. DuBois.)

Categories: Jessamyn West, Quotes of the day


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