Top Quotes by Alexandra Fuller

I have heard over and over again that the drilling business is a dangerous business, and death is an expected part of the game, but I’ve also heard of the way that safety violations, human and environmental laws, and a concern for the local culture are flaunted in pursuit of money.

Alexandra Fuller

I write and I read, and I write and read my way into and out of ideas and life. And that’s what we do. That’s what storytellers do.

Alexandra Fuller

Retaining culture takes effort and persistence and discipline. It’s a commitment, not a flag. You can’t just pull it out and wave it about when it’s convenient.

Alexandra Fuller

The most basic human impulse is toward entropy and laziness. The less we have to do to grow spiritually, the more likely we are to do it.

Alexandra Fuller

I’m a working writer; this is my job. So it matters to me that it’s good. I sweat over every word. I don’t just vomit this stuff up. It’s agony. The only thing that comes close is childbirth, except it’s like being in labor for eighteen months.

Alexandra Fuller

Until I read Anne Frank’s diary, I had found books a literal escape from what could be the harsh reality around me. After I read the diary, I had a fresh way of viewing the both literature and the world. From then on, I found I was impatient with books that were not honest or that were trivial and frivolous.

Alexandra Fuller

There is no way to order chaos. It’s the fundamental theory at the beginning and end of everything; it’s the ultimate law of nature. There’s no way to win against unpredictability, to suit up completely against accidents.

Alexandra Fuller

It seems very clear to me that we, in the West, cannot afford to continue assuming propriety over the world’s resources in a careless, greedy way without paying for it – not only with the lives of our loved ones, but also with our souls.

Alexandra Fuller

In the West, it was believed that attitude and ambition saved you. In Africa, we had learned that no one was immune to capricious tragedy.

Alexandra Fuller

Everyone says marriage is hard work, but they don’t tell you that actually being yourself and respecting yourself is hard work.

Alexandra Fuller

That’s the advantage of being a writer: No matter what happens, as long as you survive it, it goes into the work.

Alexandra Fuller

One of the things about being raised British in Africa is that you get this double whammy of toughness. The continent in place itself made you quite tough. And then you’ve got this British mother whose entire being rejects ‘coddling’ in case it makes you too soft. So there’s absolutely nothing standing between you and a fairly rough experience.

Alexandra Fuller

I love my mother so much, because I see the whole of her.

Alexandra Fuller

I always knew mum loved me – tough, look-after-yourself love, as if she knew she wouldn’t always be there.

Alexandra Fuller

In ways I don’t entirely have the words for, an experience, thought or a lesson isn’t real for me until I’ve written down.

Alexandra Fuller

In general, I almost always watch foreign films.

Alexandra Fuller

I listen mostly to classical music.

Alexandra Fuller

I am becoming increasingly difficult to please as a reader, but I adore being surprised by a really wonderful book, written by someone I’ve never heard of before.

Alexandra Fuller

There’s a point at which writing a book, or a long article, begins to feel like mental labor, and it’s too painful to connect in the world in any real way mid-process. The only way to survive is to write until it is all said and done.

Alexandra Fuller

The memoirs that have come out of Africa are sometimes startlingly beautiful, often urgent, and essentially life-affirming, but they are all performances of courage and honesty.

Alexandra Fuller

I think that being raised the way I was, where everything was so uncompromising, where, you know, we’re prepared to fight to the death for the soil that you believed belonged to you – that kind of extreme engagement is very difficult to flush out of your system – or your belief system, anyway.

Alexandra Fuller

I think there’s a big difference between loving someone out of duty and dependency and loving someone because you really are able to sort of grow and be whole in the context of that relationship.

Alexandra Fuller

I think for writers, I think it’s really important to court eviction from your tribe: to expose things and to wake people up. And so I think that that can feel like a violation to the people you love the most.

Alexandra Fuller

I remember Karoi as a very hot, flat place, but in reality, it is all hills. We just lived next to an airstrip – the only flat piece of land around. That was my world as a three-year-old and sums up the indelible power of memory to a young child.

Alexandra Fuller

In retrospect, I have come to recognise just how astounding my mother was during our childhood. She kept a woodwork shop and made beautiful furniture, as well as raising the pair of us in a society dominated by men. There really is nothing like war to reveal the power of patriarchy, but she always retained her independence.

Alexandra Fuller

I grew up in southern Africa but was born in England, so my family was afflicted with the stiff upper lip of the British. When coupled with the violence we saw as children, that can be a fatal combination. Fortunately, I have an outlet for trauma in my writing.

Alexandra Fuller

I did try to write fiction. I wrote 10 novels. And they were all just awful.

Alexandra Fuller

Being a white southern African who saw the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe, the sense of being an outsider was absolutely instilled in my limbic system.

Alexandra Fuller

Being a writer but also having been raised the way I was, I tend to turn to books for answers.

Alexandra Fuller

Marriage is the trickiest and most basic contract that we have.

Alexandra Fuller

The belief that we can be done with our past is a myth.

Alexandra Fuller

Yes, as an oppressed people, American Indians have this epic burden, but first and foremost, they’re human: sometimes a mess, sometimes funny or sad, at times very wise, and other times not wise at all – a lot like me.

Alexandra Fuller

That’s the advantage of being a writer: No matter what happens, as long as you survive it, it goes into the work.

Alexandra Fuller

I’m unconventional and eccentric and talk things out, and it seemed that the person I married – maybe in reaction – got quieter and more conventional over time. It felt as if we were putting each other in a straitjacket.

Alexandra Fuller

There are real consequences when women speak out. It’s really dangerous, and it takes real courage. We are still speaking out against a white male majority. Forget the glass ceiling. We haven’t even broken the glass floor!

Alexandra Fuller

You can have an intense connection to someone without being a good, lifelong mate for him. Love is complicated and difficult that way.

Alexandra Fuller

I look around and pay attention to what around me is not being talked about, and then I talk about it with as much humour and honesty as I can. All my books have been that way.

Alexandra Fuller

For me, writing is really an agony. I feel as if I have a huge, luminous idea that has the potential to be really profound, and then when I set it down on paper, I find the power of the idea has been hugely weakened in the process of transmission.

Alexandra Fuller

Mostly, I would like people to ask other writers about the craft of their writing so we could learn from one another. We ask movie directors why they chose to use certain lights and angles and speeds of film, but most of the time, we ignore the craft of a writer.

Alexandra Fuller

The only process that comes close to the process of writing a whole book, in my experience, is childbirth. There is this moment when you think you can’t possibly labour for another moment, and that, paradoxically, is when you have to push hardest.

Alexandra Fuller

In the West, it was believed that attitude and ambition saved you. In Africa, we had learned that no one was immune to capricious tragedy.

Alexandra Fuller

In Africa, we filled up all available time busily doing not much, and then we wasted the rest.

Alexandra Fuller

It’s probably cliche to say this, but in my experience, people are far more alike than they are dissimilar.

Alexandra Fuller

I don’t know if it’s just my age or the climate or the high altitude or some of those old-cowboy values rubbing off on me, but I’ve grown slightly mellower living in Wyoming. I think if you ride into the West on a high horse, you pretty soon end up in a pile of manure.

Alexandra Fuller

There is a myth that writers get to choose their stories. You don’t get to choose your story any more than you get to choose your children. You can make the decision to write, but beyond that, at the end of the day, it’s going to come out how it’s going to come out.

Alexandra Fuller

Oh, I don’t keep a journal. How you remember an incident is dictated by your emotional state at the time. How you receive the information that is coming in is definitely based on your history and who you are.

Alexandra Fuller

For a memoir to really succeed, the author has to do such hard work before they come to the page. They have to do a brutal self-examination of everything they believe to be true.

Alexandra Fuller

It is the perpetual tragedy of all families: each of us believe our congenital pathologies and singular pains end with us.

Alexandra Fuller

In southern and central Africa, tragedy roared at us, and we roared back. We shared dramas publicly, bled them on the corridors of hospitals, laid our corpses on the beds of neighbors, held our sorrows up in full light. We were volume ten about our madness and disorder, even if we were also resilient and enduring and tough.

Alexandra Fuller

I did not know that for the things that unhorse you, for the things that wreck you, for the things that toy with your internal tide – against those things, there is no conventional guard.

Alexandra Fuller