Literary Birthday – 26 March – Erica Jong

Happy Birthday, Erica Jong. born 26 March 1942.


  1. No one ever found wisdom without also being a fool. Writers, alas, have to be fools in public, while the rest of the human race can cover its tracks.
  2. A book burrows into your life in a very profound way because the experience of reading is not passive.
  3. Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.
  4. When I was a ten-year old bookworm and used to kiss the dust jacket pictures of authors as if they were icons, it used to amaze me that these remote people could provoke me to love.
  5. 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.
  6. There is a rhythm to the ending of a marriage just like the rhythm of a courtship—only backward. You try to start again but get into blaming over and over. Finally you are both worn out, exhausted, hopeless. Then lawyers are called in to pick clean the corpses. The death has occurred much earlier.
  7. Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.
  8. I write lustily and humorously. It isn’t calculated; it’s the way I think. I’ve invented a writing style that expresses who I am.
  9. Poetry is what we turn to in the most emotional moments of our life – when a beloved friend dies, when a baby is born or when we fall in love.
  10. I have forgotten my rave reviews and memorized my vicious ones – like most writers.
  11. Beware of books. They are more than innocent assemblages of paper and ink and string and glue. If they are any good, they have the spirit of the author within. Authors are rogues and ruffians and easy lays. They are gluttons for sweets and savouries. They devour life and always want more. They have sap, spirit, sex.
  12. Life has no plot.

Erica Jong is an American author and teacher. Fear of Flying, her first and most famous novel, turned conventional thinking about women, marriage, and sexuality on its head. It went on to sell 20 million copies. She has written more than 20 books, including 10 works of fiction as well as celebrated non-fiction such as What Do Women Want and Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life.

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 26th March 2013