12 Toni Morrison Quotes To Inspire You

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On Aug. 5, 2019, award-winning author Toni Morrison passed away, due to complications from pneumonia, at the Bronx's Montefiore Medical Center. She was 88 years old. Her death left a void that many readers are still trying to fill. Because remembering the writer can take many different forms, Bustle has pulled together a list of Toni Morrison quotes to inspire you to do great things.

Morrison was one of the most decorated writers ever to grace the United States with her work. Her 1987 novel, Beloved, won both the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award. She won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. Morrison was also a recipient of the National Humanities Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her final collection, The Source of Self-Regard, appeared in stores in 2019.

If you need a little something to help you stay strong today, Bustle has picked out some powerful quotes for you below. Because many of these selections come from Morrison's novels, readers unfamiliar with the late author's work can use this list as a guide to selecting one of her books to read. They're all spectacular, of course.

Here are 15 Toni Morrison quotes that will inspire you today:

1. "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."

— from an unknown speech

2. "Whatever happens, whether you get rich or stay poor, ruin your health or live to old age, you always end up back where you started: hungry for the one thing everybody loses — young loving."

— from Jazz

3. "Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another."

— from Beloved

4. "How can I take crime shows seriously where the female detectives track killers in Louboutin heels?"

— Bride, God Help the Child

5. "Make up a story. Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created. We will not blame you if your reach exceeds your grasp; if love so ignites your words they go down in flames and nothing is left but their scald. Or if, with the reticence of a surgeon's hands, your words suture only the places where blood might flow. We know you can never do it properly — once and for all."

— from the Nobel Lecture

6. "Definitions belonged to the definers — not the defined."

— from Beloved

7. "You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down."

— Guitar, Song of Solomon

8. "I don’t want to make somebody else. I want to make myself."

— Sula, Sula

9. "You don't have to love me but you damn well have to respect me."

— Bride, God Help the Child

10. "Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved. The lover alone possesses his gift of love. The loved one is shorn, neutralized, frozen in the glare of the lover’s inward eye."

— Claudia, The Bluest Eye

11. "You got a life? Live it! Live the motherfuckin life!"

— Guitar, Song of Solomon

12. "What you do to children matters. And they might never forget."

— Sweetness, God Help the Child

13. "Like an artist with no art form, she became dangerous."

— from Sula

14. "Love is divine only and difficult always."

— Reverend Senior Pulliam, Paradise

15. "You are an adult. The old one, the wise one. Stop thinking about saving your face. Think of our lives and tell us your particularized world."

— from the Nobel Lecture

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