Words matter. These are the best Siri Hustvedt Quotes, and they’re great for sharing with your friends.
None of us is immune to suggestion. We are social beings and live in a social world.
Each person does see the world in a different way. There is not a single, unifying, objective truth. We’re all limited by our perspective.
I am married to a writer, and this – writing – is an odd enterprise. It’s something we both support very strongly.
I have found that all of my memories seem to need a place and that a good part of what we think of as explicit memory has to do with location.
When I was an impoverished graduate student, I would sometimes spend $20 or $30 on a T-shirt or accessory I didn’t need or even particularly want. What I craved was the purchase, not the thing itself. Of course, a sense of not being deprived may fill an emotional void without ruinous consequences.
All human states are organic brain states – happiness, sadness, fear, lust, dreaming, doing math problems and writing novels – and our brains are not static.
The brain is an immensely complex organ, and many mysteries remain. Exactly how brain and mind or soma and psyche are related is one of them.
I’ve come to understand that migraine is a part of the personality. I have migraine troughs. These often follow high productivity. I have a hypo-manic phase, then I’ll crash.
Neurobiological research has shown that in people with chronic PTSD, both stress hormone secretion and areas of the brain connected to memory function, such as the hippocampus, appear to be affected, although exactly how and why remains controversial.
There are no rules in art.
The brain-mind is not a computer, and regarding it as one has led to a variety of theoretical dead ends.
I am not a physician, but I am deeply interested in diagnostic categories and have read extensively in the history of the subject.
It’s thought that about 96% of us have visual imagery, and there’s a very tiny minority in the population, some of whom are normal, some of whom have brain lesions, who cannot produce visual imagery.
Our great cultural error is to assume that ‘truth’ arrives only through reductive theories.
My parents were gigantic influences on me. I had a deep hunger to impress my father, who was a professor and an intellectual. I wanted his approval.
Flashbacks rarely involve language. Mine certainly didn’t. They were visual, motor, and sensory, and they took place in a relentless, horrifying present.
Far more women read fiction than men, and because of this, novels have become marginalised as serious texts.
There is a difference between using a made-up name and using real people as pseudonyms. People are not costumes you can wear. They are flesh and blood.
Intellectual curiosity about one’s own illness is certainly born of a desire for mastery. If I couldn’t cure myself, perhaps I could at least begin to understand myself.
When I taught writing classes to psychiatric patients, I met people whose stories of manic highs and immobilizing lows appeared to be textbook descriptions of classic bipolar disorder. I met other patients who had been diagnosed with myriad disorders. No doctor seemed to agree about what they actually suffered from.
We live in a culture that is much happier talking about organic brain disease than about psychic illness because the former suggests that something that is physically wrong in a brain is wholly unrelated to that person’s upbringing or experiences in the world, but that is not necessarily true.
Rage has such focus. It can’t go on forever, but it’s invigorating.
Writing isn’t a job so much as a compulsion. I’ve been writing since I was very young because for some strange reason, I must write, and also because when I write, I feel more alive and closer to the world than when I’m not writing.
Henry Miller is a famous writer whose work has fallen out of fashion, but I strongly recommend that readers who don’t know his work pick up a book and experience this writer’s zealous, crazy, inventive, funny, sexy, often delirious prose.
Many scholars working in the humanities have already shown interest in brain research. For years, contemporary theory in the humanities has left the body and biology out of their discussions.
Being a mother is complicated because it’s not just a paternal culture making demands on you; it’s those internal demands and expectations that women have and are self-generated.
Hysteria is something that I’ve been interested for a very long time. I thought I might have it, but it seems that it’s unlikely.
I was 13 when I had my first bout of insomnia. My family was in Reykjavik, Iceland, for the summer, and day never really became night.
We all live in a culture that is continually isolating feminine and masculine aspects, even when they’re not related to people.
Children are not in a position to assess risk and safety; it must be done for them, and it must be done carefully.
Sleep resistance, bouts of insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, crawling into bed with parents in the middle of the night – all these are so common among children, it seems fair to call them ‘normal.’
The mind-brain is lived only from a first-person perspective, and it is a dynamic, plastic organ that changes in relation to the environment.
I enjoy domestic life. Cooking gives me great pleasure, especially if I can chop vegetables slowly and think about what I’m doing and dream a little about this and that.
The idea that skiing might not be fun, might not be for everyone, had never occurred to me. Where I come from, the sport signified pleasure, nature, family happiness.
Novelists embody plural selves all the time. What are characters, after all, if not other selves?
Writers are in control of editing processes – making a sentence better, cutting out a paragraph. But the initial outpouring has very little to do with conscious control or manipulation.
Bedtime rituals for children ease the way to the elsewhere of slumber – teeth brushing and pajamas, the voice of a parent reading, the feel and smell of the old blanket or toy, the nightlight glowing in a corner.
I love the little garden in the back of my family’s brownstone in Brooklyn. Digging out there in the dirt is a joy for me, although by the time August rolls around and my roses have black spot, I need the break winter provides.
I continue to write essays about art. The visual is always part of my work, and it gives me immense pleasure to make up the words of art and create them verbally rather than build them.
That’s one of the great lies of intimacy, to pretend you know everything – you cannot. No matter how close you’ve been, over however many years, there remain secrets. I think we all know that – that you don’t tell everybody everything.
There was a film class in my high school in Northfield, Minnesota, which was very unusual. I saw my first Buster Keaton film there, aged about 15. It made a gigantic impression on me.
I like ‘nerves’! I like the word ‘migraineur’. I like the word ‘madness’. These are OK words. The 19th century had a very handy term: ‘neurasthenic’. I think that’s a very useful word. We all know what that means: it means extra-sensitive.
It is tempting to think of this form of insomnia, the inability to fall asleep, as a disease of agency and control: the inability to relinquish high self-reflexive consciousness for the vulnerable, ignorant regions of slumber in which we know not what we do.
I watched ‘Holiday’ in college, and that was when I had my first fantasy of being Katharine Hepburn, standing at the top of the staircase in a huge Hollywood mansion.
American mass media culture, with its celebrities, shopping hysteria, sound bites, formulaic plots, received ideas, and nauseating repetitions, depresses me.
Sigmund Freud makes people irritable. Whenever someone mentions Freud, say, at a dinner party, I see eyes roll and listen to the nasty remarks that follow.
There is no reason we should expect young children to enter the nocturnal darkness of sleep and dreams without help.
I have a tendency to face my bad fantasies in my books.
I have not been diagnosed with epilepsy. I did have an MRI of the brain, and they found no abnormalities in my brain. Now, there are people with epilepsy who have completely normal MRI’s, too. I just think also, you know, epileptic seizures can be triggered by emotional stress, by all kinds of things, lights.
I am an American, but a sense of otherness was part of my growing up. I spoke Norwegian before I spoke English. My mother is Norwegian.
The history of fiction is about family – an inexhaustible subject for literature. We are creatures driven by emotions that are on high display in intimate relations – inside the family.
I’d been writing poems for many years, but most of them I didn’t like. Then, when I was 23, I wrote one I did like, sent it to ‘The Paris Review’ – the highest publication I could think of – and they accepted it. No other moment in my literary life has quite come close to that.
I found myself fascinated by neuroscience, attended a monthly lecture on brain science at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, and was invited to become a member of a discussion group devoted to a new field: neuropsychoanalysis.
I am always suspicious of those who impose ‘rules’ on child rearing. Every child is different in terms of temperament and learning, and every parent responds to a particular child, not some generalized infant or youngster.