Thirty quotes by Alice Walker on friendship, activism, writing, love, and more.
Good books have always found their way to me, somehow. I still recall the first time I set eyes on a masterpiece written by the one and only Alice Walker—The Color Purple.
Back then, I had a terribly stressful job at a school. The only thing that I really liked about it was that I could borrow books and read.
When I laid eyes on a gem—an amethyst perhaps—in that cabinet for the first time, I am a little embarrassed to admit that it was the color that drew my attention. In fact, I may be one of the few people who have never seen the movie.
Needless to say, I devoured it in less than three days, and I can say that other than to-die-for writing skills, it was Alice Walker’s audacious voice that got me hooked.
Nevertheless, it will always be her activism that inspires me tremendously more than anything else.
Alice Walker has been the voice of the voiceless for years, and I shall forever look up to her for this rare quality.
How could I ever forget that an American woman came all the way to Ramallah to support the Palestinian people and their cause when a whole world and its leaders turned their back on them?
It was so hard to pick only 30 quotes to pay tribute to such a legend:
1. “No person is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow.”
2. “I don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends I can be certain of.”
3. “Activism is my rent for living on the planet.”
4. “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than Black people were made for whites or women for men.”
5. “If you want to have a life that is worth living, a life that expresses your deepest feelings and emotions, and cares and dreams, you have to fight for it.”
6. “You don’t always have to be doing something. You can just be, and that’s plenty.”
7. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
8. “If you lie to yourself about your own pain, you will be killed by those who will claim you enjoyed it.”
9. “There is no graceful way to carry hatred.”
10. “Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.”
11. “What gardening teaches us is that if you plant things, they’ll come up. But you have to be willing to wait for them to bear fruit because things are seasonal.”
12. “All History is current; all injustice continues on some level, somewhere in the world.”
13. “Nobody is as powerful as we make them out to.”
14. “Helped are those who are content to be themselves; they will never lack mystery in their lives and the joys of self-discovery will be constant.”
15. “Helped are those who create anything at all, for they shall relive the thrill of their own conception and realize a partnership in the creation of the Universe that keeps them responsible and cheerful.”
16. “I think writing really helps you heal yourself. That is, if you write what you need to write, as opposed to what will make money, or what will make fame.”
17. “Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn’t matter. I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for.”
18. “This is a wonderful planet, and it is being completely destroyed by people who have too much money and power and no empathy.”
19. “We must, I believe, start teaching our children the sanity of nonviolence much earlier.”
20. “It is justice and respect that I want the world to dust off and put—without delay, and with tenderness—back on the head of the Palestinian child.”
21. “Women have to summon up courage to fulfill dormant dreams.”
22. “I believe in movements, collective action to influence the future.”
23. “A writer’s heart, a poet’s heart, an artist’s heart, a musician’s heart is always breaking. It is through that broken window that we see the world.”
24. “A people do not throw their geniuses away. And if they are thrown away, it is our duty as artists and as witnesses for the future to collect them again for the sake of our children and, if necessary, bone by bone.”
25. “I grew up in the South under segregation. So, I know what terrorism feels like—when your father could be taken out in the middle of the night and lynched just because he didn’t look like he was in an obeying frame of mind when a white person said something he must do. I mean, that’s terrorism, too.”
26. “People do not wish to appear foolish; to avoid the appearance of foolishness, they are willing to remain actually fools.”
27. “As long as the people don’t fear the truth, there is hope. For once they fear it, the one who tells it doesn’t stand a chance.”
28. “The fact is that when you do something from your heart, you leave a heart print.”
29. “There are ways that the spirit can be mended, just as there are ways that the spirit can be broken.”
Last but not least, a personal favorite that I use as a motto:
30. “Why any woman give a sh*t what people think is a mystery to me.”
Alice Walker is no ordinary person whether when fighting for animal welfare or women’s rights.
Her passion, rawness, resilience, original voice, and intelligence are admirable.
The least we can do is celebrate the day when such a wonderful soul came to being.