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Old women talk about old things: history, myth, magic and their
checkered pasts, about what changes and what does not.

January Birthday Crones

Diane Keaton

Actress and writer
January 5, 1946

This living stuff is a lot. Too much, and not enough. Half empty, and half full.”

“...I also have an extended family. The people who stayed. The people who became more than friends; the people who open the door when I knock. That's what it all boils down to. The people who have to open the door, not because they always want to but because they do.”

“That's what I learned. I learned I couldn't shed light on love other than to feel its comings and goings and be grateful.”

“We can't save the past or solve the riddle of love. But to me, it's worth trying.”

“Before I opened my computer in the parking lot today, I relived one of my favorite memories. It's the one with Woody and me sitting on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum after it's closed. We're watching people parade out of the museum in summer shorts and sandals. The trees to the south are planted in parallel lines. The water in the fountain shoots up with a mist that almost reaches the steps we sit on. We look at silver-haired ladies in red-and-white-print dresses. We separate the mice from the men, the tourists from the New Yorkers, the Upper East Siders from the West Siders. The hot-pretzel vendor sells us a wad of dough in knots with clumps of salt stuck on top. We make our usual remarks about the crazies and wonder what it would be like to live in a penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue overlooking the Met. We laugh and say the same things we always say. We hold hands and keep sitting, just sitting, as the sun beings to set. It's a perfect afternoon.”

“Choosing the freedom to be uninteresting never quite worked for me.”

“What is perfection, anyway? It's the death of creativity, that's what I think, while change on the other hand, is the cornerstone of new ideas. God knows I want new ideas and new experiences.”

“The exhausting effort to control time by altering the effects of age doesn't bring happiness.”

Zora Neale Hurston, African-American novelist 
 7 Jan. 1903 - 28 Jan. 1960

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” ― Their Eyes Were Watching God

“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”

“I have known the joy and pain of friendship. I have served and been served. I have made some good enemies for which I am not a bit sorry. I have loved unselfishly, and I have fondled hatred with the red-hot tongs of Hell. That's living.”

“Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the same horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.” ―  Their Eyes Were Watching God

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”

“Love is like the sea. It's a moving thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from the shore it meets, and it's different with every shore.”  - Their Eyes Were Watching God

“Bitterness is the coward's revenge on the world for having been hurt.”

“Some people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships.” ― Their Eyes Were Watching God

“Those that don't got it, can't show it. Those that got it, can't hide it.”

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

“I love myself when I am laughing. . . and then again when I am looking mean and impressive.”

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.”

“There is a basin in the mind where words float around on thought and thought on sound and sight. Then there is a depth of thought untouched by words, and deeper still a gulf of formless feelings untouched by thought.”
―  Their Eyes Were Watching God

“I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions.”

“Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.”

Carolina Herrera
Fashion Designer
January 8, 1939

Intuition is a strong feminine quality.

I believe that you have to treat the people who work with you like your family.

I was brought up with considerable discipline, and I was taught it wasn't proper to display certain very private emotions in public.

Feeling good about yourself and your life is very important. I'm a happy woman, happy with my husband, my daughters, my grandchildren. We all get along quite well, and that keeps me centered.

A man has to have sensibility, wit, mystery, tolerance, and strength... Romance also helps.

Age is something only in your head or a stereotype. Age means nothing when you are passionate about something.

Attention to detail is of utmost importance when you want to look good.

Elegance isn't solely defined by what you wear. It's how you carry yourself, how you speak, what you read.

Fashion is to please your eye. Shapes and proportions are for your intellect.

I don't get my inspiration from books or a painting. I get it from the women I meet.

I don't like trends. They tend to make everybody look the same.

I very seldom compromise. I am a Capricorn.

Latinas who come to the U.S. should adapt, learn English and become a part of the community.

Life is hard. It is not too short, it is too long. But you have to learn how to live; you have to have a sense of humour.

Perfection does not exist - only God is perfect.

Politics are private. I don't understand people who try to convince you to join one party or another.

Sometimes the simplest things are the most profound.

When you do something that you like, and you think you can keep doing it, you don't think about retiring.

We women manage to do many things at the same time. Men, no. Men do one thing at a time.

You never expect anything when you are 20 because you think that you'll never get older.

I love books; my suitcases are always full of them. Books and shoes. I read when I am sad, when I am happy, when I am nervous. My favourite British author is Jane Austen, and my favourite American one is John O'Hara.

Simone de Beauvoir
French writer  & Philosopher
(January 9, 1908; d.1986)

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion.

Change your life today. Don't gamble on the future, act now, without delay.

I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.

To catch a husband is an art; to hold him is a job.

I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth - and truth rewarded me.

Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female - whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.

No one is more arrogant toward women, more aggressive or scornful, than the man who is anxious about his virility.

One is not born a woman, but becomes one.

The word love has by no means the same sense for both sexes, and this is one cause of the serious misunderstandings that divide them.

Sex pleasure in woman is a kind of magic spell; it demands complete abandon; if words or movements oppose the magic of caresses, the spell is broken.

In itself, homosexuality is as limiting as heterosexuality: the ideal should be to be capable of loving a woman or a man; either, a human being, without feeling fear, restraint, or obligation.

All oppression creates a state of war.

In the face of an obstacle which is impossible to overcome, stubbornness is stupid.

Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself and in surpassing itself; if all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying.

If you live long enough, you'll see that every victory turns into a defeat.

What is an adult? A child blown up by age.

I am incapable of conceiving infinity, and yet I do not accept finity.

All the idols made by man, however terrifying they may be, are in point of fact subordinate to him, and that is why he will always have it in his power to destroy them.

Art is an attempt to integrate evil.

Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with the absolute truth.

Society cares for the individual only so far as he is profitable.

Defending the truth is not something one does out of a sense of duty or to allay guilt complexes, but is a reward in itself.

One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.

When an individual is kept in a situation of inferiority, the fact is that he does become inferior.
Retirement may be looked upon either as a prolonged holiday or as a rejection, a being thrown on to the scrap-heap.

It is not in giving life but in risking life that man is raised above the animal; that is why superiority has been accorded in humanity not to the sex that brings forth but to that which kills.

Society, being codified by man, decrees that woman is inferior; she can do away with this inferiority only by destroying the male's superiority.

This has always been a man's world, and none of the reasons that have been offered in explanation have seemed adequate.

To make oneself an object, to make oneself passive, is a very different thing from being a passive object.

The writer of originality, unless dead, is always shocking, scandalous; novelty disturbs and repels.

Why one man rather than another? It was odd. You find yourself involved with a fellow for life just because he was the one that you met when you were nineteen.

It is old age, rather than death, that is to be contrasted with life. Old age is life's parody, whereas death transforms life into a destiny: in a way it preserves it by giving it the absolute dimension. Death does away with time.

Pat Benatar 
(born Patricia Mae Andrzejewski; January 10, 1953)
American Rock Musician

Most chick singers say 'if you hurt me, I'll die'... I say, 'if you hurt me, I'll kick your ass.'
If at any moment of the day I ever think I'm remotely cool at all, which is hardly ever, I have two daughters who make sure that never happens.
Before I put another notch in my lipstick case, you better make sure you put me in my place.
But the soul of touring and the heart of it is basically every day is like putting up a circus tent.
Everything must change, everything must move forward.
First of all, I'm pretty private about my personal life.
I don't care who's on the label, because I have a job to do.
I never looked at people or singing as commodities.
I wasn't a visionary but I literally had my finger on the pulse of the women of America.
If you're retired, it's a blessing. You know, if you want to keep working and doing what you want to do, it's not a blessing as all - it's a curse.
Love and pain become one in the same in the eyes of a wounded child.
With the power of conviction, there is no sacrifice.
You don't want to trash what you've done; that's your history.
You shouldn't have to pay for your love with your bones and your flesh.
Everything changes all the time, and unfortunately, everyone who knows what you do by buying records only hears a small amount of what's going on in your life.
'Hell is for Children' is amazing to do every night and 'Promises in the Dark' and 'Love Is a Battlefied,' of course, but my absolute favorite would be 'Heartbreaker.' It's the one that started everything, so it has a very special place in my heart. And it still rocks every night! It's so fun to do.
It was very difficult when I was trying to figure out how to have a marriage and babies and do this at the same time. There was no handbook. You were making it up as you went along.
People's lives change dramatically over such a long time period, and I think that if you're still vital, and you're still interested in writing and things like that, of course your music evolves and reflects where you are in your life.
When the first record came out, I'd go down to radio stations pretty much every day to get the record played, and I would walk in and they'd tell us how much they loved the record, but they weren't sure how much they could play it because they were already playing a girl.
When you have girl children, they torture you! If at any moment of the day I ever think I'm remotely cool at all, which is hardly ever, I have two daughters who make sure that never happens. They say, 'Mom, you didn't really wear that?'' And I say, 'Yes, and pretty much everyone saw it.'” 

Joan Baez
January 9, 1941
American Folk Singer and Political activist

“If it's natural to kill, how come men have to go into training to learn how?”

“You don't get to choose
how you're going to die.
Or when.

You can only decide
how you're going to live.

“Action is the antidote to despair.”

“I've never had a humble opinion. If you've got an opinion, why be humble about it?”

“Only you and I can help the sun rise each coming morning. If we don't, it may drench itself out in sorrow.

You special, miraculous, unrepeatable, fragile, fearful, tender, lost, sparkling ruby emerald jewel, rainbow splendor person. It's up to you.”

“Peace might sell, but who's buying?”

“I went to jail for 11 days for disturbing the peace; I was trying to disturb the war.”

“It seems to me that those songs that have been any good, I have nothing much to do with the writing of them. The words have just crawled down my sleeve and come out on the page.”

“The only thing that’s been a worse flop than the organization of nonviolence has been the organization of violence.”

Alice Paul
(January 11, 1885 - July 9, 1977)
American Civil Rights leader

“There will never be a new world order until women are a part of it.”

“Well I always thought once you put your hand on the plough you don't remove it until you get to the end of the row”

“I always feel....the movement is a sort of mosaic. Each of us puts in one little stone, and then you get a great mosaic at the end.”

Sophie Tucker
(January 13, 1887 - February 9, 1966)

Vaudeville comedienne whose nickname was The Last of the Red Hot Mamas 
because of her loud and boisterous performances of risqué songs.

“From birth to age eighteen a girl needs good parents. From eighteen to thirty-five she needs good looks. From thirty-five to fifty-five she needs a good personality. From fifty-five on she needs cash.”

Emily Hahn
 (January 14, 1905 – February 18, 1997) 

American journalist and author. Called "a forgotten American literary treasure" by The New Yorker magazine, she was the author of 52 books and more than 180 articles and stories. Her writings in the 20th century played a significant role in opening up Asia to the west.

“The steward just asked me if I was not afraid to travel alone, and I said, "Why, it is life.”
―  Congo Solo; Misadventures Two Degrees North

“The Bohemian who tires of life, who gives up by retirement into insamity or suicide, is not necessarily one who had failed in what he wants to express.”
―  Romantic Rebels: An Informal History of Bohemianism in America

“There had been a time, until 1422, when a number of both Gaelic and Anglo-Irish students attended Oxford and Cambridge in England. But fellow students had complained that Irish living together in large numbers sooner or later got noisy and violent and there was no handling them. Accordingly, the universities imposed a quota system on Irishman, and decreed that those admitted must be scattered around among non-compatriots: exclusively Irish halls of residence were banned.”
― Fractured Emerald: Ireland

Anne Brontë
(January 17, 1820; d.1849)
English novelist
aka Acton Bell

But he who dares not grasp the thorn
Should never crave the rose.”

“I love the silent hour of night, for blissful dreams may then arise, revealing to my charmed sight what may not bless my waking eyes.” ―  Best Poems of the Brontë Sisters

“But smiles and tears are so alike with me, they are neither of them confined to any particular feelings: I often cry when I am happy, and smile when I am sad.” ―  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

“I cannot love a man who cannot protect me.” ― The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

“It is foolish to wish for beauty. Sensible people never either desire it for themselves or care about it in others. If the mind be but well cultivated, and the heart well disposed, no one ever cares for the exterior.”
― Agnes Grey

“I am satisfied that if a book is a good one, it is so whatever the sex of the author may be. All novels are or should be written for both men and women to read, and I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be really disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man.” ― The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

“I was sorry for her; I was amazed, disgusted at her heartless vanity; I wondered why so much beauty should be given to those who made so bad a use of it, and denied to some who would make it a benefit to both themselves and others.
But, God knows best, I concluded. There are, I suppose, some men as vain, as selfish, and as heartless as she is, and, perhaps, such women may be useful to punish them.” ―  Agnes Grey

“Reading is my favourite occupation, when I have leisure for it and books to read.”― Agnes Grey

“What business had I to think of one that never thought of me?” ―  Agnes Grey

“His heart was like a sensitive plant, that opens for a moment in the sunshine, but curls up and shrinks into itself at the slightest touch of the finger, or the lightest breath of wind.” ― The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

“The ties that bind us to life are tougher than you imagine, or than any one can who has not felt how roughly they may be pulled without breaking.” ― Agnes Grey

“My heart is too thoroughly dried to be broken in a hurry, and I mean to live as long as I can.” ―  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

“Because I imagine there must be only a very, very few men in the world, that I should like to marry; and of those few, it is ten to one I may never be acquainted with one; or if I should, it is twenty to one he may not happen to be single, or to take a fancy to me.” ― The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

“No, thank you, I don't mind the rain,' I said. I always lacked common sense when taken by surprise.” ―  Agnes Grey

“My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring and carried aloft on the wings of the breeze.”

“He had not breathed a word of love, or dropped one hint of tenderness or affection, and yet I had been supremely happy. To be near him, to hear him talk as he did talk, and to feel that he thought me worthy to be so spoken to - capable of understanding and duly appreciating such discourse - was enough.” ― Agnes Grey

“A little girl loves her bird--Why? Because it lives and feels; because it is helpless and harmless? A toad, likewise, lives and feels, and is equally helpless and harmless; but though she would not hurt a toad, she cannot love it like the bird, with its graceful form, soft feathers, and bright, speaking eyes.” ―Agnes Grey

“You may think it all very fine, Mr. Huntingdon, to amuse yourself with rousing my jealousy; but take care you don't rouse my hate instead. And when you have once extinguished my love, you will find it no easy matter to kindle it again.” ―  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
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“[B]eauty is that quality which, next to money, is generally the most attractive to the worst kinds of men; and, therefore, it is likely to entail a great deal of trouble on the possessor.” ― The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

“He never could have loved me, or he would not have resigned me so willingly” ― The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

“I was not really angry: I felt for him all the time, and longed to be reconciled; but I determined he should make the first advances, or at least show some signs of an humble and contrite spirit, first; for, if I began, it would only minister to his self-conceit, increase his arrogance, and quite destroy the lesson I wanted to give him.”― The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

“I will give my whole heart and soul to my Maker if I can,' I answered, 'and not one atom more of it to you than He allows. What are you, sir, that you should set yourself up as a god, and presume to dispute possession of my heart with Him to whom I owe all I have and all I am, every blessing I ever did or ever can enjoy - and yourself among the rest - if you are a blessing, which I am half inclined to doubt.” ―The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

“I always lacked common sense when taken by surprise.” ―  Agnes Grey

“What the world stigmatizes as romantic is often more nearly allied to the truth than is commonly supposed.”

“What a fool you must be," said my head to my heart, or my sterner to my softer self.” ―  Agnes Grey

“I wished to tell the truth, for truth always conveys its own moral to those who are able to receive it.”
― The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

“Keep a guard over your eyes and ears as the inlets of your heart, and over your lips as the outlet, lest they betray you in a moment of unwariness. Receive, coldly and dispassionately, every attention, till you have ascertained and duly considered the worth of the aspirant; and let your affections be consequent upon approbation alone. First study; then approve; then love. Let your eyes be blind to all external attractions, your ears deaf to all the fascinations of flattery and light discourse. - These are nothing - and worse than nothing - snares and wiles of the tempter, to lure the thoughtless to their own destruction. Principle is the first thing, after all; and next to that, good sense, respectability, and moderate wealth. If you should marry the handsomest, and most accomplished and superficially agreeable man in the world, you little know the misery that would overwhelm you if, after all, you should find him to be a worthless reprobate, or even an impracticable fool.” ― The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

“When I tell you not to marry without love, I do not advise you to marry for love alone: there are many, many other things to be considered. Keep both heart and hand in your own possession, till you see good reason to part with them; and if such an occasion should never present itself, comfort your mind with this reflection, that though in single life your joys may not be very many, your sorrows, at least, will not be more than you can bear. Marriage may change your circumstances for the better, but, in my private opinion, it is far more likely to produce a contrary result.” ―  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

“The end of Religion is not to teach us how to die, but how to live....” ―  Agnes Grey

“Preserve me from such cordiality! It is like handling briar-roses and may-blossoms - bright enough to the eye, and outwardly soft to the touch, but you know there are thorns beneath, and every now and then you feel them too; and perhaps resent the injury by crushing them in till you have destroyed their power, though somewhat to the detriment of your own fingers.” ―  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Joy Adamson

(January 20, 1910; d.1980, murder)

naturalist, friend of lions, and writer of the 'Born Free' books

Since we humans have the better brain, isn't it our responsibility to protect our fellow creatures from, oddly enough, ourselves?

Anya Seton 
(January 23, 1904 - November 8, 1990)
The pen name of Ann Seton, an American author of historical romances.

A woman with opinions had better develop a thick skin and a loud voice.” ―  The Winthrop Woman

“Nay, it's not the Devil been leading her astray. It's books! That girl has been nothing but trouble ever since she learned how to read.” ―  The Winthrop Woman

“Truth is naturally universal...and shines into many different windows, though many are clouded.” ―  Green Darkness

“There are many trails up the mountain, but in time they all reach the top.” ― Anya Seton

“I only know that from wherever it is that we're going there can be no turning back” ―  Katherine

“I am sure that no man asks mercy and grace with true meaning, but if mercy and grace have first been given him.” ― Katherine

“Elizabeth squirmed on the hard wooden bench, and tried to ignore both her sore backside and her rumbling stomach. Why did the minister's sermons last so long? And why did the talk of sin always give her such a hearty appetite?” ―The Winthrop Woman

“He was all sin and mystery, and Miranda feared the pleasures he offered as she feared the fires of hell. Yet when she succumbed at last, it was not because her body was weak but because her mind was curious.” ―  Dragonwyck

“I am made of cobweb that tears at a touch. But you, Bess, have fiber like the great seines that seldom break no matter their burden,yet if they do they can be mended again and again.”
― The Winthrop Woman

“Her body consented willingly to all that her soul found most abhorrent. As Nicholas had promised, there was a hellish delight in knowing she was damned.” ―  Dragonwyck

“Miranda looked up at him through a haze of desire, her will consumed by a fierce crackling heat, just like the dry twigs of the old woman's fire.” ― Dragonwyck

“Miranda was shocked to hear Nicholas speak of slavery in glowing terms, as an efficient agricultural system. This wasn't the South! Yet as she surveyed her employer's strong dark profile in secret from beneath her long lashes, she was forced to conclude that the role of master suited Nicholas Van Ryn perfectly. Even when she closed her eyes, the impression of cruelty and power remained. But it was herself she saw as the darky slave, stripped of her free will and trembling at her master's approach.”
―  Dragonwyck

“God's will usually seemed to coincide with her father's, and against this partnership there was no hope of appeal.”
―  Dragonwyck

Edith Wharton

(January 24,1862; d.1937)
American writer and Woman of Letters

Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.” ― Artemis to Actaeon and Other Verses

“My little old dog
a heart-beat
at my feet”

“Life is always either a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope.”

“If only we'd stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time.”

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be
The candle or the mirror that reflects it.”

“Each time you happen to me all over again. ” ―  The Age of Innocence

“I don't know if I should care for a man who made life easy; I should want someone who made it interesting.”

“Ah, good conversation - there's nothing like it, is there? The air of ideas is the only air worth breathing.” ―  The Age of Innocence

“The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!” ― The Age of Innocence

“There is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one's self, the very meaning of one's soul.”

“We can't behave like people in novels, though, can we?” ―  The Age of Innocence

“In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.”

“What Lily craved was the darkness made by enfolding arms, the silence which is not solitude, but compassion holding its breath.”

“Genius is of small use to a woman who does not know how to do her hair.”

“She had no tolerance for scenes which were not of her own making.” ―  The House of Mirth

“Do you remember what you said to me once? That you could help me only by loving me? Well-you did love me for a moment; and it helped me. It has always helped me.” ―  The House of Mirth

“Silence may be as variously shaded as speech.”

“In reality they all lived in a kind of hieroglyphic world, where the real thing was never said or done or even thought, but only represented by a set of arbitrary signs.” ―  The Age of Innocence

“It was easy enough to despise the world, but decidedly difficult to find any other habitable region.”

“An unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences. ” ―  The Age of Innocence

“Nothing is more perplexing to a man than the mental process of a woman who reasons her emotions.”

“The real marriage of true minds is for any two people to possess a sense of humor or irony pitched in exactly the same key, so that their joint glances on any subject cross like interarching searchlights.” ―  A Backward Glance

“She said she knew we were safe with you, and always would be, because once, when she asked you to, you'd given up the thing you most wanted."
Archer received this strange communication in silence. His eyes remained unseeingly fixed on the thronged sunlit square below the window. At length he said in a low voice: "She never asked me.” ―  The Age of Innocence

“She was very near hating him now; yet the sound of his voice, the way the light fell on his thin, dark hair, the way he sat and moved and wore his clothes—she was conscious that even these trivial things were inwoven with her deepest life.” ―  The House of Mirth

“I swear I only want to hear about you, to know what you've been doing. It's a hundred years since we've met-it may be another hundred before we meet again.” ―  The Age of Innocence

“She was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her, that the links of her bracelet seemed like manacles chaining her to her fate.” ―  The House of Mirth

“They are all alike you know. They hold their tongues for years and you think you're safe, but when the opportunity comes they remember everything.”

“A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness.”

“His whole future seemed suddenly to be unrolled before him; and passing down its endless emptiness he saw the dwindling figure of a man to whom nothing was ever to happen.” ―  The Age of Innocence

Maria Tallchief 
January 24, 1925
the first Native American Prima Ballerina

''If anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away.''

Virginia Woolf 
(January 25 1882; d.1941)

English modernist novelist 

For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.”

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” ― A Room of One's Own

“Why are women... so much more interesting to men than men are to women?”

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”

“Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.”

“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.”

“Books are the mirrors of the soul.”

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ―  A Room of One's Own

“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.”

“When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don't seem to matter very much, do they?”

“The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.”

“Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.” ―  A Room of One's Own

“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” ― A Room of One's Own

“Nothing thicker than a knife's blade separates happiness from melancholy.” ― Orlando

“Love, the poet said, is woman's whole existence.” ―  Orlando

“When the Day of Judgment dawns and people, great and small, come marching in to receive their heavenly rewards, the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them. They have loved reading.”

“Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.”

“The truth is, I often like women. I like their unconventionality. I like their completeness. I like their anonymity. ”

“A woman knows very well that, though a wit sends her his poems, praises her judgment, solicits her criticism, and drinks her tea, this by no means signifies that he respects her opinions, admires her understanding, or will refuse, though the rapier is denied him, to run through the body with his pen.”
―  Orlando

“I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.”

“There was a star riding through clouds one night, & I said to the star, 'Consume me'.” ―  The Waves

“Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.”

“Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.” ―  A Room of One's Own

“I have lost friends, some by death...others by sheer inability to cross the street.” ― Virginia Woolf

“All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.” ― Orlando

“As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.” ―  Orlando

“I am rooted, but I flow.”

“For it would seem - her case proved it - that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person. The nerve which controls the pen winds itself about every fibre of our being, threads the heart, pierces the liver.”
― Orlando

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
―  A Room of One's Own

(January 28, 1873 - Aug 3, 1954 ) 
French Author & Woman of Letters

It's so curious: one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses. ”

“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.”

“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it."  (Casual Chance, 1964)

“Time spent with a cat is never wasted.”

“There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall.” ―  Oeuvres complètes en seize volumes

“Hope costs nothing. ”

“There are no ordinary cats.”

“Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.”

“In its early stages, insomnia is almost an oasis in which those who have to think or suffer darkly take refuge.”

“No one asked you to be happy. Get to work.”

“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”

“If he's getting married, he's not longer interesting.” ― Gigi & The Cat

“Be happy.
It's one way of being wise.”

“look for a long time at what pleases you, and longer still at what pains you...”

“When she raises her eyelids, it's as if she were taking off all her clothes.”

“I did not look for her, because I was afraid of dispelling the mystery we attach to people whom we know only casually.” ― The Pure and the Impure

“The woman who thinks she is intelligent demands equal rights with men. A woman who is intelligent does not.”

“I want nothing from love, in short, but love.” ―  The Vagabond

“Total absence of humor renders life impossible.” ―  Chance Acquaintances and Julie de Carneilhan


  1. Happy birthday(s) to all these amazing women, some still among us, some not, for their strength, beauty, words, wisdom and art. (And others not mentioned who are equally wonderful.)

  2. What an interesting group! I think my favorites, this year, are Pat Benatar and Colette! That combination is as disparate as this group! Great job of bringing us more marvelous women!