Selected Quotes: Black Milk (Elif Shafak) and some reflections.

This was a different kind of book that I’ve come across. I either read pure fiction, or pure non-fiction, but this was a mix of both. I was surprised by and in awe of the narrative that Elif Shafak was comfortable in expressing of her journey through writing literature and how she adapted to her role as a mother. Throughout this book, she ties in the experiences of many other female writers from the East and the West, in how their passions and ambitions of writing either helped them to stay strong in their careers and personal lives or it destroyed them. After having read about their emotions and choices they made, I couldn’t help but sympathise with them and feel a sense of regret on their behalf. Why? They had such a one-sided view of motherhood which had become printed onto their world-vision, that their eyes were veiled to the blessings and the comfort which a mother feels when spending time with her child and raising them. I accept that there are hardships and difficulties, from pregnancy and even when the ‘child’ becomes independent as they become older, but we should never forget that the bond between a mother and child is not one that we can know of until we go through it.

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Below I have included some quotations which made me reflect:
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“It is true that birds build nests, but with every new season they abandon the home they have made to erect a new one in a different place. There is no bird that stays in the same nest for the entirety of its life.”

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“If I must resort to marriage as a metaphor, I can claim that literature is my husband and books are my children. The only way for me to get married is either to divorce or to take a second husband. Since divorcing literature is out of the question and since there is no man among mankind who would agree to become “husband number two”, in all likelihood, I will be single all my life.”

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“Silence is the worst.”

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“How did she switch from girlhood to womanhood? She had always thought becoming a woman was like walking a long, winding road with trees on each side, learning your way step by step. Why had no one told her that it was, in fact, a trapdoor you stepped on and tumbled into without knowing it was there”

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“You want me to kill myself?” I ask, alarmed.

“No, my dear. I want you to kill your ego.”

“Same thing, isn’t it?”

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“Time is not money, time is everything.”

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“Envy lies at the foot of our existential angst. Look at the history of mankind, all the wars and destruction. Do you know what they said when World War I broke out? The war that will end all wars! Of course that is not what happened. The wars didn’t end because there is no equality and no justice. Instead we have an imbalance of power and income, ethnic and religious clashed. . . . All this is bound to generate new conflicts.”

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“Above us a wispy cloud of smoke lingers lazily.”

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“The moon is still there – a day or two of fullness.”

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“Perhaps every writer is a pickpocket of some sort, stealing inspiration from real life.”

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“Better to die with passion than to die with boredom.”

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“They reminded me, across centuries and cultures, that there are other paths for a woman than conventional marriage and motherhood.”

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“Every reader brings his or her own gaze to the text, and ends up reading the story differently”

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“Just as you can knit the same pattern over and over, make the same recipe for years on end, you can also be content with a few books on your bookshelf and go over them again and again.”

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“Words are gifts from one human to another.”

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“But remember one thing: Where there is difficulty there follows ease.”

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“Is that what depression is about – the sinking feeling that your connection to God is broken and you are left to float on your own in a liquid black space.”

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“It is their passionate struggles – not the losing or winning – that make them who they are.”

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“Perhaps we forget how to ask for help when we need it most.”

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“After all, even the smallest glimpse into the lives of women writers – East and West, past and present – keenly shows, every case is different.”

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“Just as every writer learns to develop his or her own unique style and is yet inspired by the works of others, as women, as human beings, we all elaborate our personal answers to universal questions and needs, heartened by one another’s courage.”

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“Together we are learning how to live, write and love to the fullest by simply being all of who we are. Sometimes we manage this beautifully and artlessly; sometimes we fail ridiculously. When we fail we remember the moments of harmony and grace, and try again. That, pretty much, is the pattern of my progress in life: Take a step forward, move on, fall down, stand up, go back to walking, trip over and fall down on my face again, pull myself up, keep walking…”

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Until next time, 

Happy Reading. 

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6 thoughts on “Selected Quotes: Black Milk (Elif Shafak) and some reflections.

  1. The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak is one of my favourite books of all time. I remember the following quote from this book till today: Does what we do in life matter so much or is what we don’t do that carries weight.

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