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Selected Quotes

On Crossings:

“Maybe it’s one huge orgasm, this book. Maybe I just want to remember it once more before I go menopausal. Maybe I just want to feel young again and real and alive. The Victorian era. Repressed lust. But to the girdle do the gods inherit. Down from the waist they are centaurs… Perhaps I shall go mad and run naked down the street at night, waving my bum behind me like a flag. Perhaps I shall leap on beautiful young men, a moustache on my lip. Oh god, it’s not fair to grow old. It’s not fair. I hate it. I really do.”

On standing behind your writing:

“They told me 'you're a diamond in the rough, you have intuition. Don't worry about the philosophical meaning in your plays.' I took their advice and got the dialogue and characterization down but not the implications. It took me a long time not only to stand behind what I was saying but also to say it very carefully.”

On writer's block:

"As a woman, I've always had to fight to be creative. Society doesn't really encourage it much. And the truth is since I finished Jennie's Story I haven't written a thing. A whole year practically. It's awful. I just haven't been able to do anything."

On expressing what she believes:

“I've always had trouble feeling free to express what I truly believe in. My anger deals with being a woman and being raised to believe my sexuality was dirty. [But today], we're still dealing with the choices of good and evil.”

On Sqrieux-de-Dieu:

“I was writing a novel about a couple and the wife had just found out her husband had a mistress. I got really depressed because the book was getting suicidal, and as relief I turned the whole situation upside down and wrote a play. Sqrieux bounced around for a year and nobody wanted to touch it because of a nude scene which has since been rewritten. They thought it would be offensive. We were very nervous when it opened. We really didn't know how people would react, but it really brought the house down. I remember one person laughing and rolling in the aisles, literally.

"I won't deny it, there is that theme of childbearing in all my work. I'm obsessed with it. There are no rules about having children provided in the marriage contract. What if only one person, like Gracie, wants to have them? Is it not her right? Life is so mad, so crazy, that all you can do is enjoy it, if you have the right approach. You either kill yourself, or you laugh."

On male critics and Jennie's Story:

“Certainly the male critics' response reveals a lack of understanding about what I was writing. They consistently say that Jennie was pregnant and had an abortion as well as the sterilization operation even though I had carefully stated that Jennie was not and never had been pregnant. In Canada, the tradition in literature about sex is that it is automatically equated with punishment and pregnancy. I found that the male critics couldn't believe that we do indeed have a history in this country of punishing women who are seen to be promiscuous.”

On tragedy :

“Tragedy comes out of ritual. It regenerates the land and brings fertility. But as tragedy became increasingly secularized, the emphasis was placed more and more on the lonely male individual defying inexorable fate. It's a really fundamental question for me: is the tragic form absolutely deterministic, does it determine the kind of truth you get out? Are you up against a statement that says life is shit, there are terrible dilemmas, all you can do is suffer with grace? I didn't want that, you see [for Jennie's Story]. I didn't want people to go out of the theatre saying, all you can do is burn your guts out. All you can do is take the lye and swallow it, and let it kill you. What a terrible thing to leave anybody with. I'm not sure that final scene does what I want it to.”

On poverty:

“As far back as I can remember I have always been upset over poverty. When I was five and living in Calgary, I saw an old lady in an old folks' home. I felt so sorry for her I brought her home. My mother gave her a meal and explained to me that the poor lady had to go back to the home. I was terribly upset.”

On making love (from a journal entry):

“To make love without love is much like travelling in a foreign country on a brief tourist's visa. One is determined to get all that one can from this short visit. He goes therefore only to the main thoroughfares, views only the major monuments, and in general savours only those sights and sounds which are advertised to be characteristic of the country. A lover, however, is quite different in his approach. Because his joy is to know, and to give delight in this knowing, his method is that of discovery. And thus he visits all the little known by-ways, the hidden places, and often discovers those secret paths which have been forgotten or unheeded by the inhabitants themselves.”

Betty Lambert Homepage Biography of Betty Betty's Writings Photographs of Betty Betty Lambert Memorial Prize Share a Story Website Links Website Sitemap