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All Quotes by author - John Edgar Wideman
" A great artist transforms our world, removes scales from our eyes, plugs from our ears, gloves from our fingertips, teaches us to perceive reality differently. "
" All my life, I've been very aware of my body. I have always used it as a gauge of things. When I look at a person, and I see their body, that's the beginning of knowledge about them. Furthermore, I respect the body. "
" For African-American people, I am in the business of inventing a reality that gives a different perspective - on history, on crime, on art, on love. "
" Home wasn't so much a house as people, family. "
" I always liked to write and had fun writing, but I didn't have any pretensions about being a writer. I liked to read and liked to putz around and write little stories or poems, but my thing was sports. "
" I call people by their initials when they're good buddies, and that's a kinda street thing, too - 'Here comes JF,' or, 'Here comes KC.' It's fun; it's intimate. "
" I don't make that hard and fast distinction between political and nonpolitical writing. I write about what bothers me. "
" I don't understand why black people have been so quiescent, so passive over the hundreds of years of American history. Why hasn't there been more violence, more armed struggle? I know answers to some of that, but it seems to me it's an issue of faith, an abiding faith in some sort of great beyond, or great spirit, or even in the American dream. "
" I feel compelled not to pass on a vision of bleakness, destruction or cynicism. I want to tell the truth as I see it, but I also have to believe that individuals - my kids, your kids, whoever - can do something about it, and I want to show the ways in which they can do something about it. "
" I have written about the women around me. My ancestors, my relatives, lovers. It was a way of trying to make it all make sense. "
" I lived with my mother and father and brothers and sisters some of the time; some of the time, my mother and father were feuding, so my mother would take us to live in my grandmother's house. "
" In Haiti, as I understand it, storytelling and history itself are not a business of necessarily elucidating facts or the truth of an incident, but finding the version that is most entertaining and therefore will get retold and live in immortality. "
" I often want things to make definite statements. If I order onions sliced thinly on my hamburger, I don't want them to come out sort of medium. But that doesn't mean it's a reasonable desire, in all things. "
" I wish I had time to listen to music more. "
" I write what I want to write, and then, when it's finished, I use my judgment to see whether or not I think it's intrusive. If it is problematic, then I ask those involved. I won't necessarily do what they say. But I do consult. I haven't had too many problems. Nobody's really gotten angry at me. Nobody, as far as I know, has felt betrayed. "
" My aunt Geraldine was the unofficial historian and storyteller. She had all the information about family members and the gossip that came out of the church because we were very much part of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. At family gatherings, the older folk had the floor, had pride of place, and it was their stories I remember. "
" My mother was a reader; my father was a reader. Not anything particularly sophisticated. My mother read fat historical or romantic novels; my father liked to read Westerns, Zane Grey, that kind of stuff. Whatever they brought in, I read. "
" My particular lifetime, my individual profile, represents something very basic to African-American history and culture because I was a second generation immigrant, so to speak, from the South. My grandfather was born in South Carolina - well, both grandfathers were born in the South. "
" Real change is always violent, but it may hurt a lot less than what's in place before the violence occurs. "
" Seamless, careful, by-the-book performance provides no evidence of what the spider's thinking about the fly enmeshed in its web. "
" Silence marks time, saturates and shapes African-American art. Silences structure our music, fill the spaces - point, counterpoint - of rhythm, cadence, phrasing. "
" The primary thing writing and basketball share is the sense that each time you go out, each time you play or begin a piece, it's a new day. You can score 40 points one game, but the next game, those points don't count. You can win the Nobel Literature Prize, but that doesn't make the next sentence of the next book appear. "
" What basketball expresses is what jazz expresses. Certain cultural predispositions to make art. All African-American art has a substratum, or baseline, of improvisation and spontaneity. You find that in both basketball and jazz. "
" When I wake up in the morning, I need the writing to go to. I begin there. And that's not an accident, I mean, that habit of getting up in the morning and going to my writing first thing. "
" Writers transform: they throw a hand grenade into the notion of reality that people carry around in their heads. That's very dangerous, very destructive, but not to do it means you are satisfied with the status quo - and that's a kind of danger as well, because a kind of violence is already being perpetuated. "
" Writing 'Hoop Roots' was a substitute or a surrogate activity. I can't play anymore - my body won't cooperate - so in the writing of the book, I was looking to tell a good story about my life and about basketball, but I was also looking to entertain myself the way that I entertain myself when I play. "
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