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(26 March 1942 / New York City)


  • ''Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it.... It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.''
    Erica Jong (b. 1942), U.S. author. Hans, in "Intuition, extuition ...," How to Save Your Own Life (1977).
    15 person liked.
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  • ''Where is Hollywood located? Chiefly between the ears. In that part of the American brain lately vacated by God.''
    Erica Jong (b. 1942), U.S. author. "Hello to Hollywood ...," epigraph, How To Save Your Own Life (1977).
  • ''Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.''
    Erica Jong (b. 1942), U.S. author. How To Save Your Own Life, epigraph to "Bennett tells all in Woodstock ... ," (1977).
  • ''To name oneself is the first act of both the poet and the revolutionary. When we take away the right to an individual name, we symbolically take away the right to be an individual. Immigration officials did this to refugees; husbands routinely do it to wives.''
    Erica Jong (b. 1942), U.S. author. How To Save Your Own Life, epigraph to "My posthumous life ...," (1977).
  • ''I have not ceased being fearful, but I have ceased to let fear control me. I have accepted fear as a part of life, specifically the fear of change, the fear of the unknown, and I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back, turn back, you'll die if you venture too far.''
    Erica Jong, U.S. author. In an essay in The Writer on Her Work, ch. 13 (1980).
  • ''No one to blame!... That was why most people led lives they hated, with people they hated.... How wonderful to have someone to blame! How wonderful to live with one's nemesis! You may be miserable, but you feel forever in the right. You may be fragmented, but you feel absolved of all the blame for it. Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.''
    Erica Jong (b. 1942), U.S. author. "Intuition, extuition ... ," How To Save Your Own Life (1977).
  • ''There is simply no dignified way for a woman to live alone. Oh, she can get along financially perhaps (though not nearly as well as a man), but emotionally she is never left in peace. Her friends, her family, her fellow workers never let her forget that her husbandlessness, her childlessness—her selfishness, in short—is a reproach to the American way of life.''
    Erica Jong (b. 1942), U.S. author. Isadora Wing, the narrator, in Fear of Flying, ch. 1 (1973).
  • ''There is nothing fiercer than a failed artist. The energy remains, but, having no outlet, it implodes in a great black fart of rage which smokes up all the inner windows of the soul. Horrible as successful artists often are, there is nothing crueler or more vain than a failed artist.''
    Erica Jong (b. 1942), U.S. author. Narrator (Isadora Wing), in Fear of Flying, ch. 9 (1973).
  • ''Every country gets the circus it deserves. Spain gets bullfights. Italy gets the Catholic Church. America gets Hollywood.''
    Erica Jong (b. 1942), U.S. author. "Take the Red-Eye....," Epigraph, How To Save Your Own Life (1977).
  • ''Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.''
    Erica Jong (b. 1942), U.S. author. "The Artist as Housewife," The First Ms. Reader, ed. Francine Kragbrun (1972).

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The Artist as an Old Man

If you ask him he will talk for hours--
how at fourteen he hammered signs, fingers
raw with cold, and later painted bowers
in ladies' boudoirs; how he played checkers
for two weeks in jail, and lived on dark bread;
how he fled the border to a country
which disappeared wars ago; unfriended
crossed a continent while this century
began. He seldom speaks of painting now.

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