Jessamyn West Quotes

Most popular Jessamyn West Quotes

Teaching is the royal road to learning.


Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.

reading fiction

A rattlesnake that doesn't bite teaches you nothing.
Suffering is also one of the ways of knowing you're alive.


Sleeplessness is a desert without vegetation or inhabitants.


Faithfulness to the past can be a kind of death above ground.

the past

The source of one's joy is also often the source of one's sorrow.

joy suffering

We travel not to discover new lands or new people, but new selves.


Some folk are always thirsting for water from other people's wells.


A broken bone can heal, but the wound a word opens can fester forever.


The past is really almost as much a work of the imagination as the future.

the past

Half, maybe more, of the delight of experiencing is to know what you are experiencing.


A religious awakening which does not awaken the sleeper to love has roused him in vain.


Memory is a magnet. It will pull to it and hold only material nature has designed it to attract.


It is very easy to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed your own.

mistakes pride forgiveness human nature

A taste for irony has kept more hearts from breaking than a sense of humor—for it takes irony to appreciate the joke which is on oneself.


Sex and religion are bordering states.  They use the same vocabulary, share like ecstasies, and often serve as a substitute for one another.


It may be more blessed to give than to receive, but there is more grace in receiving than giving. When you receive, whom do you love and praise?  The giver. When you give, the same holds true.


It is so easy for a middle-aged person, in the presence of youth, to be deluded about his own age. The young faces are so exactly like the one he saw in his own mirror—only day before yesterday, it seems.  The young, on the other hand, look into visages dull-eyed, long-toothed, wattle-necked, and chop-fallen, something they have never been and which they cannot imagine ever being.

youth & age