76 Great Michael Ondaatje Quotes To Learn From
Philip Michael Ondaatje is a Sri Lankan-born Canadian filmmaker, editor, novelist and poet. After completing his education in Canada, he became an English teacher at University of West Ontario and later on at York University but it was as a writer that he became famous. Ondaatje is a multi-talented writer and has written several poetry collections; some of the noted ones among which are ‘The Daily Monsters’, ‘The Cinnamon Peeler’, ‘The Story’, ‘Secular Love’ and ‘Rat Jelly’ among many others. On the other hand, he is an extremely talented novelist as well. One of his most famous works as a novelist is ‘The English Patient’, which went on to win the ‘Booker Prize’ and later on was turned into an Academy Award winning movie. Other notable novels by him include ‘Coming Through Slaughter’, ‘The Cat’s Table’ and ‘Anil’s Ghost’ among others. Ondaatje is one of the leading intellectuals of the world and we bring to you a treasure trove of quotes that have been excerpted from his novels, books, poems and writings. Read on to explore a compilation of some of the best known quotes by Michael Ondaatje, covering various aspects of life.
She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape. We all have an old knot in the heart we wish to untie. All I ever wanted was a world without maps. ...the heart is an organ of fire. From this point on, she whispered, we will either find or lose our souls. Her hand touched me at the wrist. "If I gave you my life, you would drop it. Wouldn't you?"
I didn't say anything. She had grown older. And he loved her more now than he had loved her when he understood her better, when she was the product of her parents. What she was now was what she herself had decided to become. I have spent weeks in the desert, forgetting to look at the moon, he says, as a married man may spend days never looking into the face of his wife. These are not sins of omission but signs of pre-occuopation. I'll be looking at the moon,
but I'll be seeing you. This last night we tear into each other, as if to wound, as if to find the key to everything before morning. ...sometimes we enter art to hide within it. It is where we can go to save ourselves, where a third-person voice protects us. Every night I cut out my heart. But in the morning it was full again He knows that the only way he can accept losing her is if he can continue to hold her or be held by her. If they can somehow nurse each other out of this. Not with a wall. Don’t we forgive everything of a lover? We forgive selfishness, desire, guile. As long as we are the motive for it. He has been disassembled by her. And if she has brought him to this, what has he brought her to? This was the time in her life that she fell upon books as the only door out of her cell. They became half her world. You built your walls too, she tells him. So I have my wall. She says it glittering in a beauty he cannot stand. She with her beautiful clothes with her pale face that laughs at everyone who smiles at her... For the first forty days a child
is given dreams of previous lives. Journeys, winding paths,
a hundred small lessons
and then the past is erased. She had always wanted words, she loved them, grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape. Whereas I thought words bent emotions like sticks in water. A novel is a mirror walking down a road Everyone has to scratch on walls somewhere or they go crazy Could you fall in love with her if she wasn't smarter than you? I mean, she may not be smarter than you. But isn't it important for you to think she is smarter than you in order to fall in love? Think now. What is interesting and important happens mostly in secret, in places where there is no power. How does this happen? To fall in love and be disassembled. The joyful will stoop with sorrow, and when you have gone to the earth I will let my hair grow long for your sake, I will wander through the wilderness in the skin of a lion The trouble with all of us is we are where we shouldn't be. For echo is the soul of the voice exciting itself in hollow places. I wanted to find one law to cover all of living. I found fear.... Do you understand the sadness of geography? Death means you are in the third person. Men had always been the reciters of poetry in the desert. All this Beethoven and rain All I desired was to walk upon such an earth that had no maps. The first sentence of every novel should be: Trust me, this will take time but there is order here, very faint, very human. If she were a writer she would collect her pencils and notebooks and favourite cat and write in bed. Strangers and lovers would never get past the locked door. We are expanded by tears, we are told, not reduced by them. She had a laugh that hinted it had rolled around once or twice in the mud. How can you smile as though your whole life hasn't capsized I am not in love with him, I am in love with ghosts. So is he, he's in love with ghosts. Love is so small it can tear itself through the eye of a needle There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border that we cross. I want to die on your chest but not yet she wrote sometime in the 13th century of our love A blind lover, don't know
what I love till I write it out Jung was absolutely right about one thing. We are occupied by gods. The mistake is to identify with the god occupying you. I am someone who has a cold heart. If I am beside a great grief I throw barriers up so the loss cannot go too deep or too far. There is a wall instantly in place, and it will not fall. In the desert the most loved waters, like a lover's name, are carried blue in your hands, enter your throat. One swallows absence. Here. Where I am anonymous and alone in a white room with no history and no parading. So I can make something unknown in the shape of this room. Where I am King of Corners. -I think you are inhuman. If I leave you, who will you go to? Would you find another lover?
I said nothing.
-Deny it,damn you! ... the desert, where there is the communal book of moonlight. We were among the rumour of wells. In the palace of winds. Over the years, confusing fragments, lost corners of stories, have a clearer meaning when seen in a new light, a different place. As if this collection of things is what she is. So we fall in love with ghosts. We own the country we grow up in, or we are aliens and invaders. Nowadays he doesn't think of his wife, though he knows he can turn around and evoke every move of her, describe any aspect of her, the weigh of her wrist on his heart during the night. Before the real city could be seen it had to be imagined, the way rumours and tall tales were a kind of charting. He was a man who wrote, who interpreted the world. Wisdom grew out of being handed just the smallest sliver of emotion. A glance could lead to paragraphs of theory. Sleep is a prison for a boy who has friends to meet. The trouble with words is that you can really talk yourself into a corner. You can't fuck yourself into a corner.
"That's a man talking," muttered Hana. Meanwhile with the help of an anecdote I fell in love. Words caravaggio. They have a power. Everything that ever happened to me that was important happened in the desert. He came to this country like a torch on fire and he swallowed air as he walked forward and he gave out light Fathers die.You keep on loving them in any way you can.You can't hide him away in your heart. So we came to understand that small and important thing, that our lives could be large with interesting strangers who would pass us without any personal involvement. He will hear the rain before he feels it, a clicking on the dry grass, on the olive leaves. From this point on in our lives, she had whispered to him earlier, we will either find or lose our souls. But we were interested in how our lives could mean something to the past. We sailed into the past. Come. We must go deeper with no justice and no jokes. Seas move away, why not lovers? The harbours of Ephesus, the rivers of Heraclitus disappear and are replaced by estuaries of silt. The wife of Candaules becomes the wife of Gyges. Libraries burn. But when we are searching for an example of what we no longer have, we see it everywhere. Because we want to know things, how the pieces fit. Talkers seduce, words direct us into corners. We want more than anything to grow and change. Brave new world.
I went mad before he did, you killed everything in me. Kiss me,will you. Stop defending yourself.
For when people leave our company in our time we are never certain of seeing them again, or seeing them unaltered.
Every river they came to was bridge-less, as if its name had been erased, as if the sky were starless, homes doorless.
But he had a serenity that came with the choice of the life he wanted to live. And this serenity and certainty I have seen only among those who have the armour of books close by.
Water is the exile, carried back in cans and flasks, the ghost between your hands and your mouth.
...if you do not plunder the past, the absence feeds on you Kirpal’s left hand swoops down and catches the dropped fork an inch from the floor and gently passes it into the fingers of his daughter, a wrinkle at the edge of his eyes behind his spectacles.