Louise Erdrich Quotes

/ Author List / Louise Erdrich

1. “Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

Tags : Heartbreak Life Living Love Strength
Source : The Painted Drum

2. “A woman's body is the gate to this life. A man's body is the gate to the next life.”

Tags : Men Next Life Otherworld Underworld Women
Source : The Antelope Wife

3. “Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up.”

Tags : Life Lessons Life Philosophy Love
Source : The Painted Drum

4. “The only time I see the truth is when I cross my eyes.”

Tags : Profound
Source : The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

5. “Very little is needed to make a happy life, he said.”

Tags : Happy Life
Source : The Round House

6. “To love another human in all of her splendor and imperfect perfection , it is a magnificent task...tremendous and foolish and human.”

Tags : Humanity Imperfection Love
Source : The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

7. “Nector [speaking to Bernadette] could have told her, having drunk down the words of Nanapush, that comfort is not security and money in the hand disappears. He could have told her that only the land matters and never to let go of the papers, the titles, the tracks of the words, all those things that his ancestors never understood how the vital relationship to the dirt and grass under their feet.”

Tags : Land Native American Ojibwe Prophesy Treaty
Source : The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

8. “When we are young, the words are scattered all around us. As they are assembled by experience, so also are we, sentence by sentence, until the story takes shape.”

Tags : Athe Plague Of Dives
Source : The Plague of Doves

9. “Love won't be tampered with, love won't go away. Push it to one side and it creeps to the other.”

Tags :

10. “Upon walking into Eva's kitchen, something profound happened to Delphine. She experienced a fabulous expansion of being. Light-headed, she felt a swooping sensation and then a quiet, as though she'd settled like a bird.”

Tags : Being Moved Home Kitchen
Source : The Master Butchers Singing Club

11. “There are Indian grandmas who get too much church and Indian grandmas where the church doesn't take, and who are let loose in their old age to shock the young. Zack had one of those last sort.”

Tags : Grandmothers Humor
Source : The Round House

12. “There will never come a time when I will be able to resist my emotions.”

Tags : Emotion Stoicism
Source : Tales of Burning Love

13. “Full of the usual blights, mistakes, ruinous beetles and parasites, glorious for one week, bedraggled the next, my actual garden is always a mixed bag. As usual, it will fall far short of the imagined perfection. It is a chore. Hard work. I'll by turns aggressively weed and ignore it. The ground I tend sustains me in early summer, but the garden of the spirit is the place I go when the wind howls. This lush and fragrant expectation has a longer growing season than the plot of earth I'll hoe for the rest of the year. Raised in the mind's eye, nurtured by the faithful composting of orange rinds and tea leaves and ideas, it is finally the wintergarden that produces the true flowering, the saving vision.”

Tags : Gardens
Source : The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year

14. “This so gnawed at him on some nights that he lay awake wondering just how many unknown and similarly inconsequential accidents and bits of happenstance were at this moment occurring or failing to occur in order to ensure he took his next breath, and the next. It gave him the sensation that he was tottering on the tip of a flagpole. He was poised on circumstance.”

Tags : Circumstance Flagpole Happenstance
Source : The Round House

15. “Women without children are also the best of mothers,often, with the patience,interest, and saving grace that the constant relationship with children cannot always sustain. I come to crave our talk and our daughters gain precious aunts. Women who are not mothering their own children have the clarity and focus to see deeply into the character of children webbed by family. A child is fortuante who feels witnessed as a peron,outside relationships with parents by another adult.”

Tags : Children Family Parenting
Source : The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year

16. “Women don't realize how much store men set on the regularity of their habits. We absorb their comings and goings into our bodies, their rhythms into our bones.”

Tags : Love Men Men And Women Routine
Source : The Round House

17. “I hold his name close as my own blood and I will never let it out. I only spoke it that once so he would know he was alive.”

Tags : Love Love Medicine Names
Source : Love Medicine

18. “Now that she was conscious there was no end to her questions and exclamations, for Dot was a born traveler, meant to go places, unlike us.”

Tags : Traveler Traveling
Source : The Beet Queen

19. “When small towns find they cannot harm the strangest of their members, when eccentrics show resilience, they are eventually embraced and even cherished.”

Tags : Acceptance Eccentrics Small Towns
Source : The Master Butchers Singing Club

20. “The people stared through her as though she were invisible until she thought she was, and walked more easily then, just a cloud reflected in a stream.”

Tags : Cloud Invisible Stream

21. “Old love, middle love, the kind of love that knows itself and knows that nothing lasts, is a desperate shared wildness.”

Tags : Experience Love
Source : The Plague of Doves

22. “Power dies, power goes under and gutters out, ungraspable. It is momentary, quick of flight and liable to deceive. As soon as you rely on the possession it is gone. Forget that it ever existed, and it returns. I never made the mistake of thinking that I owned my own strength, that was my secret. And so I never was alone in my failures. I was never to blame entirely when all was lost, when my desperate cures had no effect on the suffering of those I loved. For who can blame a man waiting, the doors open, the windows open, food offered, arms stretched wide? Who can blame him if the visitor does not arrive.”

Tags : Louise Erdrich Tracks

23. “Emotions unreel in her like spools of cotton.”

Tags : Emotion Simile Women
Source : The Antelope Wife

24. “Fidelis was not a religious man, except when it came to his knives.”

Tags : Knives

25. “He gives very questioning sermons, Bazil. Sometimes I wonder if he's entirely stable, or then again, if he might be simply...intelligent.”

Tags : Humor Religion Sermons
Source : The Round House

26. “I tried to get away from him, to get to that door, but instead I backed up against the wall and was stuck there in that white, white room.”

Tags : Race Race In America

27. “Our baby gives herself to me completely. There is no hesitation, no reservation, no holding back, no coldness, no craft, no tremor or fear in her love. Although our relationship may encompass tears, frustration, even fury, it is an utterly reliable bond. As it grows, her love is literally unadulterated. Her love is wholly of the child, pure in its essence as children are in their direct passions. Children do not love wisely, but perhaps they love the best of all.”

Tags : Babies Children Love Motherhood
Source : The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year

28. “For it was through books that she felt her life to be unjudged Look at all of the great mix-ups, messes, confinement, and double-dealings in Shakespeare, she thought.Identities disguised continually, in a combative dance of illusion and discovery.”

Tags : Books Discovery Of Oneself Identity Illusion Judgement
Source : The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

29. “Bad smells made her angry, they were a personal affront.”

Tags : Stink Turn Off
Source : The Master Butchers Singing Club

30. “...Grandpa's mind had left us, gone wild and wary. When I walked with him I could feel how strange it was. His thoughts swam between us, hidden under rocks, disappearing in weeds, and I was fishing for them, dangling my own words like baits and lures.”

Tags : Memory Loss
Source : Love Medicine

31. “What are you?' he [Nanapush] said to Damien, who was deep in a meditation over his [chess] bishop's trajectory.'A priest' said Father Damien'A man priest or a woman priest?'......'I am a priest', she whispered, hoarsely, fierce. 'Why' said Nanapush kindly, as though Father Damien hadn't answered, to put the question to rest, 'are you pretending to be a man priest?”

Tags : Catholicism Gender Roles Native American Reservation Patriarchy Priest
Source : The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

32. “If, as I suspect, my body survives by uttering itself over and over again, then I have some questions. If [I] am one word, so are my daughters, so are all of us in strings and loops. Each life is one short word slowly uttered.”

Tags : Language Story
Source : The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year

33. “Ravens are the birds I'll miss most when I die. If only the darkness into which we must look were composed of the black light of their limber intelligence. If only we did not have to die at all. Instead, become ravens.”

Tags : Death And Dying Ravens
Source : The Painted Drum

34. “Here is the most telling fact: you wish to possess me.
 Here is another fact: I loved you and let you think you could.”

Tags : Tragic Comedy
Source : Shadow Tag

35. “She gave her husband such a night of sexual pleasure that his eyes followed her constantly after that, narrow and hot. He grew molten when she passed near other men, and at night they made their own shaking tent. They got teased too much and moved farther off, into the brush, into the nesting ground of shy and holy loons. There, no one could hear them. In solitude they made love until they became gaunt and hungry, pale windigos with aching eyes, tongues of flame.”

Tags : Hunger Jealousy Love Lovers Sex
Source : The Antelope Wife

36. “I think she is confused by the way I want her, which is like nobody else. I know this deep down. I want her in a new way, a way she's never been told about.”

Tags : Desire Love Purity
Source : The Antelope Wife

37. “The music was more than music- at least what we are used to hearing. The music was feeling itself. The sound connected instantly with something deep and joyous. Those powerful moments of true knowledge that we have to paper over with daily life. The music tapped the back of our terrors, too. Things we'd lived through and didn't want to ever repeat. Shredded imaginings, unadmitted longings, fear and also surprisingly pleasures. No, we can't live at that pitch. But every so often something shatters like ice and we are in the river of our existence. We are aware. And this realization was in the music, somehow, or in the way Shamengwa played it.”

Tags : Awareness Music
Source : The Plague of Doves

38. “To join the company of women, to be adults, we go through a period of proudly boasting of having survived our own mother's indifference, anger, overpowering love, the burden of her pain, her tendency to drink or teetotal, her warmth or coldness, praise or criticism, sexual confusions or embarrassing clarity. It isn't enough that she sweat, labored, bore her daughters howling or under total anesthesia or both. No. She must be responsible for our psychic weaknesses the rest of her life. It is alright to feel kinship with your father, to forgive. We all know that. But your mother is held to a standard so exacting that it has no principles. She simply must be to blame.”

Tags : Girls Mothers Mothers And Daughters Women
Source : The Painted Drum

39. “If I die, don't take this too hard," she counseled them, "death is only part of things bigger than we can imagine. Our brains are just starting the greatness, to learn how to do things like flying. What next? You will see, and you will see that your mother is of the design. And I will always be made of things, and things will always be made of me. Nothing can get rid of me because I am already included into the pattern.”

Tags : Continuity Continuity Of Being Death Eternity Patterns In Life
Source : The Master Butchers Singing Club

40. “The pattern glitters with cruelty. The blue beads are colored with fish blood, the reds with powdered heart. The beads collect in borders of mercy. The yellows are dyed with the ocher of silence. There is no telling which twin will fall asleep first, allowing the other's colors to dominate, for how long. The design grows, the overlay deepens. The beaders have no other order at the heart of their being. Do you know that the beads are sewn onto the fabric of the earth with endless strands of human muscle, human sinew, human hair? We are as crucial to this making as other animals. No more and no less important than the deer.”

Tags : Animals Fate Humanity Myth Nature
Source : The Antelope Wife

41. “Then his head tipped down on his chest and he fell into the instant sleep of the ancient and the very young.”

Tags : Old Age Sleep

42. “My father could out-weather anybody. Like people anywhere, there were times when it was the only topic where people here felt comfortably expressive, and my father could go on earnestly, seemingly forever. When the current weather was exhausted, there was all the weather that had occurred in recorded history, weather lived through or witnessed by a relative, or even heard about on the news. Catastrophic weather of all types. And when that was done, there was all the weather that might possibly occur in the future. I'd even heard him speculate about weather in the afterlife.”

Tags : Humor Small Talk Weather
Source : The Round House

43. “Her mind was present because she was always gone. Her hands were filled because they grasped the meaning of empty. Life was simple. Her husband returned and she served him with indifferent patience this time. When he asked what had happened to her heat for him, she gestured to the west.The sun was setting. The sky was a body of fire.”

Tags : Death Emotion Emptiness Love Simplicity
Source : The Antelope Wife

44. “Wherever the family was, these two dogs, both six-year-old shepherd mixes, took up their posts at the central coming-and-going point. Gil called them concierge dogs. And it's true, they were inquisitive and accommodating. But they were not fawning or overly playful. They were watchful and thoughtful. Irene thought they had gravitas. Weighty demeanors. She thought of them as diplomats. She had noticed that when Gil was about to lose his temper one of the dogs always appeared and did something to divert his attention. Sometimes they acted like fools, but it was brilliant acting. Once, when he was furious about a bill for the late fees for a lost video, one of the dogs had walked right up to Gil and lifted his leg over his shoe. Gil was shouting at Florian when the piss splattered down, and she'd felt a sudden jolt of pride in the dog.”

Tags : Dogs Family Humor
Source : Shadow Tag

45. “He had a thousand-year-old stare.”

Tags : Eyes Men Old Soul Reincarnation
Source : The Antelope Wife

46. “I stood there in the shadowed doorway thinking with my tears. Yes, tears can be thoughts, why not?”

Tags : Tears
Source : The Round House

47. “Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and being alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You have to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes too near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could.”

Tags : Loss Love Meaning Of Life
Source : The Painted Drum

48. “As I feel into a darker sleep, I understood that I had learned something. Now that I knew fear, I also knew that it was not permanent. As powerful as it was, its grip on me would loosen. It would pass.”

Tags : Fear

49. “Our songs travel the earth. We sing to one another. Not a single note is ever lost and no song is original. They all come from the same place and go back to a time when only the stones howled.”

Tags : Eternity History Songs
Source : The Master Butchers Singing Club

50. “As Delphine watched, into her head there popped a strange notion: the idea that perhaps strongly experienced moments, as when Eva turned and the sun met her hair and for that one instant the symbol blazed out, those particular moments were eternal. Those moments actually went somewhere. Into a file of moments that existed out of time's range and could not be pilfered by God.”

Tags : Eternity Moments
Source : The Master Butchers Singing Club

51. “They're all the same-- the cop, the criminal, the defense, the prosecutor-- they all share a fundamental belief in the malleability of truth”

Tags : Belief Cop Criminal Defense Prosecutor Truth

52. “She was a horse lover and she and Whitey kept a mean old paint, a fancy quarter horse/Arabian mix, a roan Appaloosa with one ghost eye named Spook, and a pony. So along with the whiskey and perfume and smoke, she often exuded faint undertones of hay, dust, and the fragrance of horse, which once you smell it you always miss it. Humans were meant to live with the horse.”

Tags : Horse Lover Horses

53. “some people fall right through the hole in their lives. It's invisible, but they come to it after time, never knowing where.”

Tags : Fall Hole Life People

54. “And it occurred to me how even pulling trees that day, just months ago, I was in heaven. Unaware. I had known nothing even as the evil was occurring, I hadn't been touched yet.”

Tags : Heaven Life Philosophy Thoughtful
Source : The Round House

55. “Of course, English is a very powerful language, a colonizer's language and a gift to a writer. English has destroyed and sucked up the languages of other cultures - its cruelty is its vitality.”

Tags : English Language
Source : The Round House

56. “I love plants. For the longest time I thought that they died without pain. But of course after I had argued with Mary she showed me clippings on how plants went into shock when pulled up by their roots, and even uttered something indescribable, like panic, a drawn-out vowel only registered on special instruments. Still, I love their habit of constant return. I don't like cut flowers. Only the ones that grow in the ground.”

Tags : Plants
Source : The Beet Queen

57. “Now is it time to burn the house?”

Tags : Dark Humour

58. “Delphine witnessed awful things occurring to other humans. Worse than that, she was powerless to alter their fate. It would be that way all her life--disasters, falling like chairs all around her, falling so close they disarranged her hair, but not touching her.”

Tags : Fate Powerlessness Witnessing
Source : The Master Butchers Singing Club