Geraldine Brooks Quotes.
…The hagaddah came to Sarajevo for a reason. It was here to test us, to see if there were people who could see that what united us was more than what divided us. That to be a human being matters more than to be a Jew or a Muslim, Catholic or Orthodox. p. 361
Sometimes I want to have a mental book burning that would scour my mind clean of all the filthy visions literature has conjured there. But how to do without ‘The Illiad?’ How to do without ‘Macbeth?’
I was so shy. I used to cross the street so I wouldn’t even have to talk to my relatives, much less strangers. That’s not shy, that’s wise. But I found that that when you had a journalist’s notebook in your hand it wasn’t really you, you see.
The day in 2004 when the radiologist told me I had invasive cancer, I walked down the hospital corridor looking for a phone to call my husband, and I could almost see the fear coming toward me like a big, black shadow.
So, you know, Nathaniel was my first child, born when I was 40, so, uh… And then in due course, he wanted a brother, and then I thought, ‘Oh, that’ll be bloody lucky!’ So, we ended up adopting a beautiful boy who was then five years old, from Ethiopia.
I write while my son is at school. At about 7:45 A.M., I walk him there, with the dogs, then walk them for another forty minutes or so, go home and chain myself to the desk a little before 9 A.M., and try not to be distracted until I hear my son plunge through the front door at about 3 P.M.
One thing I believe completely is that the human heart remains the human heart, no matter how our material circumstances change as we move together through time.
Certainly I’m still mining my experiences as a journalist. I think it’s no coincidence that all three of my novels basically are about how people act in a time of catastrophe. Do they go to their best self or their worst self?
I can always write. Sometimes, to be sure, what I write is crap, but it’s words on the page and therefore it is something to work with.
My sentences tend to be very short and rather spare. I’m more your paragraph kind of gal.
I was a pretty delicate kid. Anything that was going around I’d get it and I’d generally get it much worse than other people, so I spent a lot of time out of school.
The structure of ‘March’ was laid down for me before the first line was written, because my character has to exist within Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’ plotline.
The thing that most attracts me to historical fiction is taking the factual record as far as it is known, using that as scaffolding, and then letting imagination build the structure that fills in those things we can never find out for sure.
There’s just so many great stories in the past that you can know a little bit about, but you can’t know it all, and that’s where imagination can work.
I swim in a sea of words. They flow around me and through me and, by a process that is not fully clear to me, some delicate hidden membrane draws forth the stuff that is the necessary condition of my life.
They say the Lord’s Day is a day of rest, but those who preach this generally are not women.
And one of the things that I learned was you can’t generalise at all about a woman in a veil. You can’t think you know her story, because she will confound you over and over again. She may be an engineer or a diplomat or a doctor. Or she may be an unbelievable babe with bleached hair down to her waist.
I think that you can honour the sacrifices of a common soldier without glorifying war.
Moral certainty can deafen people to any truth other than their own.
The dirty little secret of foreign correspondents is that 90 per cent of it is showing up. If you can find a way to get there, the story, the reporting, it’s the easiest you’ll ever do. ‘Cause the drama’s everywhere.
Yes, it seems we’ve got this mutant gene in our human personality that makes us susceptible to this same kind of mistake over and over again. It’s really uncanny how we build these beautiful multicultural edifices and then allow this switch to be flipped and everybody goes, ‘Oh, the other, get them out of here.’
When I write a word in English, a simple one, such as, say, ‘chief,’ I have unwittingly ushered a querulous horde into the room. The Roman legionary is there, shaking his cap, or head, and Andy Capp is there, slouching in his signature working man’s headgear.
September 11, 2001, revealed heroism in ordinary people who might have gone through their lives never called upon to demonstrate the extent of their courage.
We are not the only animal that mourns; apes do, and elephants, and dogs. Yet we are the only one that tortures.
My mother’s family were full-on Irish Catholics – faith in an elaborate old fashioned, highly conservative and madly baroque style. I sort of fell out of the tribe over women’s rights and social justice issues when I was just 13 years old.
Writing is like bricklaying; you put down one word after another. Sometimes the wall goes up straight and true and sometimes it doesn’t and you have to push it down and start again, but you don’t stop; it’s your trade.
The Sarajevans have a very particular world view – a mordant wit coupled with this unbearable sadness and… truckloads of guts, you know.
I think I’m still chewing on my years as a foreign correspondent. I found myself covering catastrophes – war, uprising, famine, refugee crises – and witnessing how people were affected by dire situations. When I find a story from the past, I bring some of those lessons to bear on the narrative.
I had been afraid of breast cancer, as I suspect most women are, from the time I hit adolescence. At that age, when our emerging sexuality is our central preoccupation, the idea of disfigurement of a breast is particularly horrifying.
You go on. You set one foot in front of the other, and if a thin voice cries out, somewhere behind you, you pretend not to hear, and keep going.
Instead of idleness, vanity, or an intellect formed by the spoon-feeding of others, my girls have acquired energy, industry, and independence.
Because I worked as a newspaper reporter for about 14 years before attempting my first novel, I learned to write under almost any circumstances- by candle light, in longhand, in African villages where there was no power, under shelling in Kurdistan.