"Every pretty woman who lives a long life gets to perform an art project called 'watch my beauty disintegrate.' It's not revolutionary. It just happens."

Mean by Myriam Gurba

"Emotionally, she wants both to depend on him and to be needed by him so that together they can feel the vulnerability required to be transfigured by love."

Free Woman: Life, Liberation and Doris Lessing by Lara Feigel

"And survival is the greatest gift of love. Sometimes, for Black mothers, it is the only gift possible, and tenderness gets lost. My mother bore me into life as if etching an angry message into marble. Yet I survived the hatred around me because my mother made me know, by oblique reference, that no matter what went on at home, outside shouldn't oughta be the way it was."

Sister Outsider: Essay and Speeches by Audre Lorde

"On the way out I bought a pair of sunglasses...I bought cigarets, candy and candied fruit. I bought two reams of expensive paper, rubber bands, paper clips, note pads, a small filing cabinet, and a gadget for punching holes in paper. I also bought a cheap watch, a bed lamp, a comb, toothbrushes, tooth paste, hair lotion, shaving cream, skin lotion and a first aid kit. I stopped at a tie shop and bought ties, a new belt, a watch chain, handkerchiefs, bathrobe and bedroom slippers. Evening came and I couldn't carry any more. I called a taxi and rode home."

Ask the Dust by John Fante

"Summer will come next. Summer will come and the waves will be huge, the kind of waves that feel like a challenge. If you're brave, you'll step out of the bright-hot day and into the foaming roil of the water, moving toward where the waves break and might break you. If you're brave, you'll turn your body over to this water that is practically an animal, and so much larger than yourself."

Her Body And Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

"Perhaps the most horrifying thing about nonconsensual sex is that, in an instant, it erases you. Your own desires, your safety, and well-being, your ownership of the body that may very well have been the only thing you felt sure you owned -- all of it becomes irrelevant, even nonexistent."

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay

"Or else: I stubbornly choose not to choose; I choose drifting: I continue."

A Lover's Discourse by Roland Barthes

"'I don't like men who leave behind them a trail of weeping women,' said W.H. Auden. Who would have hated you."

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

"Foam earplugs are the gummy vitamins of soundproofing -- you'd have to pour cement in your ears not to hear an MRI. I pretended I was at some kind of art installation at the Guggenheim, where one floors melds into the next. The first floor sounded like a game-show buzzer. The second, like ducks quacking while someone scrubbed tiles with steel wool. The top floor was a tiny train barreling over the tracks of a small town. Then, suddenly, the noises stopped and the technician's voice came through a speaker: 'We happy in there?' 'Yes?' I guessed."

Look Alive Out There: Essays by Sloane Crosley

"...if you feel sure you will never make it and were not cut out to do this, if your prose seems stillborn and you completely lack confidence, you must be a writer."

Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process by John McPhee