Joan Aiken Quotes
“She thought about Penny’s stories. There was one about a man who had three wishes and married a swan. If I had three wishes, I know what I’d wish for, thought Is. I’d wish for those two boys to be found, and for us all to be back on Blackheath Edge. She thought about Penny teaching her to read. “What’s the point of reading?” Is had grumbled at first. “You can allus tell me stories, that’s better than reading.” “I’ll not always be here,” Penny had said shortly. “Besides, once you can read, you can learn somebody else. Folk should teach each other what they know.” “Why?” “If you don’t learn anything, you don’t grow. And someone’s gotta learn you.”
Well, thought Is, if I get outta here, I’ll be able to learn some other person the best way to get free from a rolled-up rug.”
“Night's winged horses
No one can outpace
But midnight is no moment
Midnight is a place.
Meet me at Midnight,
Among the Queen Anne's Lace
Midnight is not a moment,
Midnight is a place—
When, when shall I meet you
When shall I see your face
For I am living in time at present
But you are living in space.
Time is only a corner
Age is only a fold
A year is merely a penny
Spent from a century's gold.
So meet me, meet me at midnight
(With sixty seconds' grace)
Midnight is not a moment;
Midnight is a place.”
“When the Whispering Mountain shall scream aloud
And the castle of Malyn ride on a cloud,
Then Malyn's lord shall have and hold
The lost that is found, the harp of gold.
Then Fig-hat Ben shall wear a shroud,
Then shall the despoiler, that was so proud,
Plunge headlong down from Devil's Leap;
Then shall the Children from darkness creep,
And the men of the glen avoid disaster,
And the Harp of Teirtu find her master.”
“He paused a moment, gazing in awe at the huge mass of buildings composing the castle. It stood close to the river, on either side and to the rear stretched the extensive park and gardens, filled with splendid trees, fountains and beds of brilliant flowers in shades of pink, crimson, and scarlet. The castle itself was built of pink granite, and enclosed completely a smaller, older building which the present Duke's father had considered too insignificant for his town residence. The new castle had taken forty years to build; three architects and hundreds of men had worked day and night, and the old Duke had personally selected every block of sunset-colored stone that went to its construction. 'I want it to look like a great half-open rose,' he declared to the architects, who were fired with enthusiasm by this romantic fancy. It was begun as a wedding present to the Duke's wife, whose name was Rosamond, but unfortunately she died some nine years before it was completed. 'never mind, it will do for her memorial instead,' said the grief-stricken but practical widower. The work went on. At last the final block was laid in place. The Duke, by now very old, went out in his barouche and drove slowly along the opposite riverbank to consider the effect. He paused midway for a long time, then gave his opinion. 'It looks like a cod cutlet covered in shrimp sauce,' he said, drove home, took to his bed, and died.”
“The use of reading, Gibbon says somewhere, is to aid us in thinking. I have always disagreed with Gibbon over that; he may have used literature to help him think, but for me, often, and for most of the human race I reckon (since I have no reason to think myself unique) books can be a mind-stupefying drug, employed to banish thought, not to invoke it. When I am unhappy I can sink into a novel as into unconsciousness. Blessed War and Peace, thrice blessed Mansfield Park; how many potential suicides have their pages distracted and soothed and entertained past the danger point?”
“It was dusk - winter dusk. Snow lay white and shining over the pleated hills, and icicles hung from the forest trees. Snow lay piled on the dark road across Willoughby Wold, but from dawn men had been clearing it with brooms and shovels. There were hundreds of them at work, wrapped in sacking because of the bitter cold, and keeping together in groups for fear of the wolves, grown savage and reckless from hunger.”
“You may think it odd that there were three men to look after one tiny station, but the people who ran the railway knew that if you left two men together in a lonely place they would quarrel, but if you left three men, two of them could always grumble to each other about the third, and then they would be quite happy.”
“I have always been interested in the way that elements of stories twine and combine. At school I had an art teacher, a great influence on me, who disliked man-made objects unless they were old and showed the effects of time and wear; she loved all natural things. I share this attitude and it plays a large part in my writing. I'm fascinated by the ambiguity of man's relationship to the huge, mysterious universe around him; how, on the one hand, we make ourselves little boxes and think to exist safely and snugly in them; on the other, we extend our knowledge further and further into the limitless void; and yet from time to time these opposites collide and produce astonishing results.”
“They came to the high stone shaft with the face of Sul; they descended to the terrace below. And here Caradog waited, leaning on his silver-tipped rod and eying the horizon, until the delicate slip of the new moon moved out from behind the shoulder of Mount Damyake, with the mysterious, shadowy ghost of the old moon cradle inside it, like an egg inside its egg cup.
"Now it is time," he said.
"Blame it!" expostulated Dido. "It ain't right for me to die! Have you thought of that, mister? You're and old gager; you've lived nigh on fourscore years, I shouldn't wonder. You did a whole lot of things and learned a lot o' stuff --- though mussy knows, you ain't put it to very good use. But I haven't hardly done nothing! And I ain't learned much, neither, except the use of the globes that Mr. Holy taught me, and how to curtsy and cut up whales."
At the thought of Mr. Holystone her voice, to her shame, began to wobble dangerously; she stopped speaking and drew a deep breath.
"Cease repining, child, and go down those steps," said Caradog. "Do not quarrel with your destiny. If Sul wishes you to die, then it is your time."
Dido remembered the story that Bran had told about the man who picked up the necklace. Well, if it is my destiny, she thought, best not to make a pother about it.”
- Date of birth: September 04, 1924
- Died: January 04, 2004
- Born: in Rye, East Sussex, The United Kingdom.
- Description: Joan Aiken was a much loved English writer who received the MBE for services to Children's Literature. She was known as a writer of wild fantasy, Gothic novels and short stories.
She was born in Rye, East Sussex, into a family of writers, including her father, Conrad Aiken (who won a Pulitzer Prize for his poetry), and her sister, Jane Aiken Hodge. She worked for the United Nations Information Office during the second world war, and then as an editor and freelance on Argosy magazine before she started writing full time, mainly children's books and thrillers. For her books she received the Guardian Award (1969) and the Edgar Allan Poe Award (1972).Her most popular series, the "Wolves Chronicles" which began with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, was set in an elaborate alternate period of history in a Britain in which James II was never deposed in the Glorious Revolution,and so supporters of the House of Hanover continually plot to overthrow the Stuart Kings. These books also feature cockney urchin heroine Dido Twite and her adventures and travels all over the world.Another series of children's books about Arabel and her raven Mortimer are illustrated by Quentin Blake, and have been shown on the BBC as Jackanory and drama series. Others including the much loved Necklace of Raindrops and award winning Kingdom Under the Sea are illustrated by Jan Pieńkowski.Her many novels for adults include several that continue or complement novels by Jane Austen. These include Mansfield Revisited and Jane Fairfax.Aiken was a lifelong fan of ghost stories. She set her adult supernatural novel The Haunting of Lamb House at Lamb House in Rye (now a National Trust property). This ghost story recounts in fictional form an alleged haunting experienced by two former residents of the house, Henry James and E. F. Benson, both of whom also wrote ghost stories. Aiken's father, Conrad Aiken, also authored a small number of notable ghost stories.