Top Quotes from Elizabeth McCracken

By | June 17, 2016

I wanted to acknowledge that life goes on but that death goes on, too. A person who is dead is a long, long story.

Elizabeth McCracken

A comic strip that your parents read when they were young is a curious thing: it’s an heirloom, and it’s also intimate. You peer through windows and look at the things that made your elders laugh, and then you wonder whether the laugh really belongs to you.

Elizabeth McCracken

There’s a good chance that in 40 years, after the floods, people zipping by on scavenged jetpacks with their scavenged baseball caps on backwards, I will be in my rocking chair saying bitterly, ‘I remember when ‘all right’ was two words.’

Elizabeth McCracken

Vilnius was once known as ‘The Jerusalem of Lithuania’ because of the number of prayer houses and scholars there; in the first half of the 20th century, it became a center of Yiddish-language scholarship.

Elizabeth McCracken

It’s an amazing thing to watch a lizard fold a moth into its mouth, like a sword swallower who specialises in umbrellas.

Elizabeth McCracken

At my first library job, I worked with a woman named Sheila Brownstein, who was The Reader’s Advisor. She was a short, bosomy Englishwoman who accosted people at the shelves and asked if they wanted advice on what to read, and if the answer was yes, she asked what writers they already loved and then suggested somebody new.

Elizabeth McCracken

Ordinarily, I’d claim that I’d never write directly about my children, but the opening conversation of ‘Peter Elroy’ is a verbatim conversation that my children had that I just loved: morbid, funny, passionate, and obsessed with the truth of things – all natural qualities of children that I’d like my work to contain.

Elizabeth McCracken

Some graphic narrative art presses against the panel: you wrestle with it at the level of the paper.

Elizabeth McCracken

You write the way you think about the world. My motto in times of trouble – and I’m speaking of life, not writing – is ‘no humor too black.’

Elizabeth McCracken

I sort of don’t believe in closure. In the sense that it doesn’t make me feel better to think that something is over.

Elizabeth McCracken

I used to be a writer with superstitions worthy of a professional baseball player: I needed a certain desk chair and a certain armchair and a certain desk arrangement, and I could only get really useful work done between 8 P.M. and 3 A.M. Then I started to move, and I couldn’t bring my chairs with me.

Elizabeth McCracken

Life likes jokes; life is constantly making jokes, even at the most inopportune moments.

Elizabeth McCracken

I have been the person who tries to keep conversation light while talking to someone whose heart has been smashed.

Elizabeth McCracken

I own an e-reader, but I use it almost exclusively to read things that aren’t books – student theses, unbound galleys.

Elizabeth McCracken

I like seeing my physical progress through a volume, particularly if it’s a big book.

Elizabeth McCracken

Revising stuff lately, I was shocked to see how often my characters scratched their ankles, felt their feet, and touched their own ears.

Elizabeth McCracken

When it comes to other people’s writing, my older influences are more powerful than more recent ones, partially because I’m now more worried that I’ll suddenly accidentally steal something from another writer.

Elizabeth McCracken

Humor reminds you, when you’re flattened by sorrow, that you’re still human.

Elizabeth McCracken

It’s hard to know which made me more aware of the impossibility of protecting children – having a child die or having had two live.

Elizabeth McCracken

You believe in God or statistics or the way your narrative differs from other people.

Elizabeth McCracken

Sadness was something I was thinking about in my life outside of writing, so it wormed itself into whatever I wrote.

Elizabeth McCracken

I have a memory of my fourth-grade self wanting to be the first woman president of the United States, but I think that has a lot more to do with my love of world records and reference books than a love of serving my country.

Elizabeth McCracken

I’ve always been absolutely appalling about the future, but I sort of think that was my childhood religion. We were future deniers. You did your best in the present, which was all around you.

Elizabeth McCracken

I feel like I don’t understand time in novels, really. I bumble forward, is all.

Elizabeth McCracken

When I tell people there are three stories in ‘Thunderstruck’ that were from the same wrecked novel, they want to guess what they are. Nobody has. There are no characters or timelines in common. They’re structured very differently. A good novel wouldn’t have pulled apart so easily.

Elizabeth McCracken

Short fiction is like low relief. And if your story has no humor in it, then you’re trying to look at something in the pitch dark. With the light of humor, it throws what you’re writing into relief so that you can actually see it.

Elizabeth McCracken

I sort of don’t believe in closure. In the sense that it doesn’t make me feel better to think that something is over.

Elizabeth McCracken

There are two MFA programs here at the University of Texas, and I read on the jury of both of them. And it’s amazing to me how many really talented young writers seem to fear humor.

Elizabeth McCracken

I am not a therapy person, but I understand what therapy does. It’s a way of translating dark thoughts into something manageable.

Elizabeth McCracken

When you’ve lost a baby, everyone around you expects you to be fine once the new baby is born, as though that somehow takes away the pain of losing the first child. I needed to express how wrong that was.

Elizabeth McCracken

Once I started writing novels, I understood how hard it was to write really good short stories.

Elizabeth McCracken

In ‘Property,’ none of the characters are based on any real people, but the house is very much the house that I moved into in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Elizabeth McCracken

I always want the last line to be really good, which may sound silly, but I want it to be a last pleasing line.

Elizabeth McCracken

When I was in college, I wrote poetry very seriously, and then once I had started writing short stories, I didn’t go back to poetry, partially because I felt like I understood how incredibly difficult it was.

Elizabeth McCracken

For about half an hour in mid-1992, I knew as much as any layperson about the pleasures of remote access of other people’s computers.

Elizabeth McCracken

In library science school, back in the years of glowing green non-graphical screens and protocols called Archie and Veronica, I wrote Internet documentation.

Elizabeth McCracken

There were a lot of things I loved about working in a library, but mostly I miss the library patrons. I love books, but books are everywhere. Library patrons are as various and oddball and democratic as library books.

Elizabeth McCracken

Tweeting about objects means I don’t need to bid on them, which is a blessing. Buying something is a way of saying, ‘Look at this!’ So is tweeting. So, I guess, is writing fiction.

Elizabeth McCracken

There was a time in my life when I wasn’t sure I’d ever write a short story again because I had started writing novels, and I am fundamentally a lazy person, and the fact is that a novel is a lazy person’s form, really. That is, you can amble; you can digress.

Elizabeth McCracken

The thing that most interests me about writing – there are lots of things, but the thing I can’t do without – is the hit of happiness a lovely sentence delivers.

Elizabeth McCracken

In general, I think people are worried about saying the wrong thing to any grieving person. On a very basic level, I think they’re frightened of touching off tears or sorrow, as though someone tearing up at the mention of unhappy news would be the mentioner’s fault.

Elizabeth McCracken

Remember that a woman who has given birth to a dead child has given birth and is recovering physically, too. Don’t be afraid of grieving parents.

Elizabeth McCracken

Acknowledgment of grief – well, it makes feeling the grief easier, not harder.

Elizabeth McCracken

An iron lung looks like an enormous metal coffin or a 19th-century rocket ship: only its occupant’s head is left outside, a tight seal around the neck.

Elizabeth McCracken

I work in my office on the campus of the University of Texas. It’s the sort of place described as ‘book-lined’, but it’s recently tipped over into ‘fire-hazard’ territory.

Elizabeth McCracken

New Orleans is still the place where you find out that you have a doppelganger and feel lucky – but somehow unsurprised – to learn that his name is Mad Bottom.

Elizabeth McCracken

When I first met my husband, he was sculpting Vilnius out of clay – a sort of Vilnius, anyhow: a map of an imaginary European city based on the Lithuanian capital – to illustrate his second novel.

Elizabeth McCracken

My mother’s family didn’t speak much about Europe: My mother was born in 1935, and her new-world parents were the sort who didn’t want to worry their children about the war.

Elizabeth McCracken

The walls of the Franciscan Church of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary were ruined stucco chipping away from the brick underneath, with ghostly frescoes, concrete-filled niches, and one complete, vivid crucifix painted over the altar.

Elizabeth McCracken

I’m a higgledy-piggledy person in every way. On days that I work, I work for eight hours in a row, with my internet access entirely turned off, locked in my office.

Elizabeth McCracken

I’m astounded by people who can listen to music when they write. I can only assume that they have multi-track brains, while mine is decidedly single.

Elizabeth McCracken

In the last century, I earned my living as a librarian, and I loved it. I’d have to take some classes to get up to speed with 21st-century librarianship.

Elizabeth McCracken

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