Blog All Dogeared Pages: Richard Ford’s The Sportswriter

Quotes from The Sportswriter by Richard Ford. Highly recommended (as are the sequels).

For your life to be worth anything you must sooner or later face the possibility of terrible, searing regret. Though you must also manage to avoid it or your life will be ruined. (p. 4)

Sometimes we do not really become adults until we suffer a good whacking loss, and our lives in a sense catch up with is and wash over us in a wave and everything goes. (p. 9)

There are no transcendent themes in life. In all cases things are here and they’re over, and that has to be enough. (p. 16)

All we really want is to get to the point where the past can explain nothing about us and we can get on with life. (p. 24)

Things just come into your mind on their own and aren’t your fault. So I learn this all those years ago–that you don’t need to be held responsible for what you think, and that by and large you don’t have any business knowing what other people think. (p. 77)

Better to think that you’re like your fellow man than to think…that no man could be you or take your place, which is crazy and leads straight to melancholy for a life that never existed, and to ridicule. Anyone could be anyone else in most ways. (p. 81)

We should all know what’s at the end of our ropes and how it feels to be there. (p. 85)

What’s friendship’s realest measure? I’ll tell you. The amount of precious time you’ll squander on someone else’s calamities and fuck-ups. (p. 97)

A life can simply change the way a day changes–sunny to rain, like the song says. But it can also change again. (p. 107)

Married life requires shared mystery even when all the facts are known. (p. 131)

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again. (p. 131)

Some things just can’t be explained. They just are. And after a while, they disappear, usually forever, or become interesting in another way. (p. 223)

You can’t be too conventional. That’s what’ll save you. (p. 335)

At one time or another–like it or not–we all become invisible, loosed from body and duty, left to drift on the night breeze, to do as we will, to cast about for what we would like to be when we next occur…Just to slide away like a whisper down the wind is no small freedom, and if we’re lucky to win such a setting free, even if it’s bad events that cause it, we should use it, for it is the only naturally occurring consolation that comes to us, sole and sovereign, without props or the forbearance of others–among whom I mean to include God himself, who does not let us stay invisible long, since that is a state he reserves for himself. God does not help those who are invisible too. (p. 339)

The only truth that can never be a lie, let me tell you, is life itself–the thing that happens. (p. 374)

Grief, real grief, is relatively short, though mourning can be long. (p. 374)

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