Margaret Atwood Quotes

Most popular Margaret Atwood Quotes

Potential has a shelf-life.


Fear has a smell, as love does.


Gardening is not a rational act.


Nature is to zoos as God is to churches.

nature zoo God

A word after a word after a word is power.


You never step twice into the same paragraph.


Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.


Nobody dies from lack of sex.  It's lack of love we die from.

sex love

If we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged.


A war is a huge fire; the ashes from it drift far, and settle slowly.


Literature is not only a mirror; it is a map, a geography of the mind.


A divorce is like an amputation; you survive, but there's less of you.


A divorce is like an amputation: you survive it, but there's less of you.
— Margaret Atwood


But that' s where I am, there's no escaping it.  Time's a trap, I'm caught in it.


We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.
— Margaret Atwood

men and women leadership women power

Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.
— Margaret Atwood


What fabrications they are, mothers.  Scarecrows, wax dolls for us to stick pins into, crude diagrams.


The fact is that blank pages inspire me with terror.  What will I put on them?   Will it be good enough?


Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pâté.


If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia.


The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love.
— Margaret Atwood


Blondes are like white mice, you only find them in cages.  They wouldn't last long in nature. They're too conspicuous.


Writing is very improvisational.  It's like trying to fix a broken sewing machine with safety pins and rubber bands.  A lot of tinkering.


Eating is our earliest metaphor, preceding our consciousness of gender difference, race, nationality, and language.  We eat before we talk.


What a lost person needs is a map of the territory, with his own position marked on it so he can see where he is in relation to everything else.

losing our way

A suicide is both a rebuke to the living and a puzzle that defies them to solve it.  Like a poem, suicide is finished and refuses to answer questions as to its final cause.


All fathers except mine are invisible in daytime; daytime is ruled by mothers.  But fathers come out at night.  Darkness brings home the fathers with their real, unspeakable power.


But who can remember pain, once it's over?  All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh.  Pain marks you, but too deep to see.  Out of sight, out of mind.


Every habit he's ever had is still there in his body, lying dormant like flowers in the desert.  Given the right conditions, all his old addictions would burst into full and luxuriant bloom.

habit addiction

No matter how much you've been warned, Death always comes without knocking. Why now? is the cry. Why so soon?  It's the cry of a child being called home at dusk, it's the universal protest against Time.


I'm a refugee from the past, and like other refugees I go over the customs and habits of being I've left or been forced to leave behind me, and it all seems just as quaint, from here, and I am just as obsessive about it.

the past

Publishing a book is like stuffing a note into a bottle and hurling it into the sea.  Some bottles drown, some come safe to land, where the notes are read and then possibly cherished, or else misinterpreted, or else understood all too well by those who hate the message.
— Margaret Atwood