Sue Monk Kidd

Author of The Secret Life of Bees and 10+ Books

Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd

156 Quotes

SUE MONK KIDD grew up in Sylvester, Georgia, a small town. She graduated from Texas Christian University in 1970 and later studied creative writing at Emory University and Anderson College, as well as at Sewanee, Bread Loaf, and other conferences for writers. In her forties, Kidd turned her attention to writing fiction, winning the South Carolina Fellowship in Literature and the Poets & Writers Exchange Program in Fiction in 1996. When Viking pub... lished her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, in 2002, it became a genuine literary phenomenon, spending more than 2 years on the bestseller list of the New York Times. It was translated into 36 languages and sold over 6 million copies worldwide in the U.S. and 8 million copies. In 2004, Bees was named the Book Sense Paperback Book of the Year, long-listed in England for the 2002 Orange Prize, and won numerous awards. The Mermaid Chair spent 24 weeks on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list, reaching #1 position, and spending 22 weeks on the New York Times trade paperback list. She is also the author of several acclaimed memoirs written with her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor, including the New York Times bestseller Traveling with Pomegranates. Kidd is living with her husband in North Carolina. Sue is working on her fourth novel, The Longings Book. For more information, please visit www.suemonkkidd.com. Follow @SueMonkKidd and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/suemonkkidd on Twitter & InstagramREAD MORE

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Knowing can be a curse on a person's life. I'd traded in a pack of lies for a pack of truth, and I didn't know which one was heavier. Which one took the most strength to carry around? It was a ridiculous question, though, because once you know the truth, you can't ever go back and pick up your suitcase of lies. Heavier or not, the truth is yours now.

I wondered what it was like to be inside her, just a curl of flesh swimming in the darkness, the quiet things that had passed between us.

I marvel at how good I was before I met him, how I lived molded to the smallest space possible, my days the size of little beads that passed without passion through my fingers. So few people know what they're capable of. At forty-two I'd never done anything that took my own breath away, and I suppose now that was part of the problem - my chronic inability to astonish myself.

I hadn't been out to the hives before, so to start off she gave me a lesson in what she called 'bee yard etiquette'. She reminded me that the world was really one bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places. Don't be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don't be an idiot; wear long sleeves and pants. Don't swat. Don't even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates while whistling melts a bee's temper. Act like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved.

I wanted to know what happened when two people felt it. Would it divide the hurt in two, make it lighter to bear, the way feeling someone's joy seemed to double it?

We are so limited, you have to use the same word for loving Rosaleen as you do for loving Coke with peanuts. Isn't that a shame we don't have many more ways to say it?

Sunset is the saddest light there is.

After you get stung, you can't get unstung
no matter how much you whine about it.

Someone who thinks death is the scariest thing doesn't know a thing about life.

Every human being on the face of the earth has a steel plate in his head, but if you lie down now and then and get still as you can, it will slide open like elevator doors, letting in all the secret thoughts that have been standing around so patiently, pushing the button for a ride to the top. The real troubles in life happen when those hidden doors stay closed for too long.

You can tell which girls lack mothers by the look of their hair...

Still everyone, including the abbot, had said that he was running away from his grief. They'd had no idea what they were talking about. He'd cradled his grief, almost to the point of loving it. For so long he refused to give it up, because leaving it behind was like leaving her.

I'd heard August say more than once, "If you need something from somebody, always give that person a way to hand it to you." T. Ray needed a face-saving way to hand me over, and August was giving it to him.

When he spoke, the roughness was gone from his voice. "I could tell you I did it. That's what you wanna hear. I could tell you she did it to herself, but both ways I'd be lying. It was you who did it, Lily. You didn't mean it, but it was you.

You have to know when to prod and when to be quiet, when to let things take their course.

Nobody around here had ever seen a lady beekeeper till her. She liked to tell everybody that women made the best beekeepers, 'cause they have a special ability built into them to love creatures that sting. It comes from years of loving children and husbands.

Yes, here I am returning, the woman who bore herself to the bottom and back. Who wanted to swim like dolphins, leaping waves and diving. Who wanted only to belong to herself.

At forty-two, I had never done anything that took my own breath away, and I suppose now that was part of the problem--my chronic inability to astonish myself. I promise you, no one judges me more harshly than I do myself; I caused a brilliant wreckage. Some say I fell from grace; they're being kind. I didn't fall. I dove.

It is the peculiar nature of the world to go on spinning no matter what sort of heartbreak is happening.

some things don't matter much. Like the color of a house. How big is that in the overall scheme of life? But lifting a person's heart--now, that matters. The whole problem with people is...they know what matters, but they don't choose it...The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters.

When a woman starts to disentangle herself from patriarchy, ultimately she is abandoned to her own self.

The question occurred to me: Well, if that's so, if the Divine is ultimately formless and genderless, what's the big deal? Why all this bother?
The bother is because we have no other way of speaking about the Absolute. We need forms and images. Without them we have no way of relating to the Divine. Symbol and image create a universal spiritual language. It's the language the soul understands.

The second thing I wrote down that day was that exclusive male imagery of the Divine not only instilled an imbalance within human consciousness, it legitimized patriarchal power in the culture at large. Here alone is enough reason to recover the Divine Feminine, for there is a real and undeniable connection between the repression of the feminine in our deity and the repression of women.

The core symbols we use for God represent what we take to be the highest good....These symbols or images shape our worldview, our ethical system, and our social practice--how we relate to one another.
For instance, [Elizabeth A.] Johnson suggests that if a religion speaks about God as warrior, using militaristic language such as how "he crushes his enemies" and summoning people to become soldiers in God's army, then the people tend to become militaristic and aggressive.
Likewise, if the
key
symbol of God is that of a male king (without any balancing feminine imagery), we become a culture that values and enthrones men and masculinity.

Elizabeth A. Johnson explains that including divine female symbols and images not only challenges the dominance of male images but also calls into question the structure of patriarchy itself.

The truth is, in order to heal we need to tell our stories and have them witnessed...The story itself becomes a vessel that holds us up, that sustains, that allows us to order our jumbled experiences into meaning.
As I told my stories of fear, awakening, struggle, and transformation and had them received, heard, and validated by other women, I found healing.
I also needed to hear other women's stories in order to see and embrace my own. Sometimes another woman's story becomes a mirror that shows me a self I haven't seen before. When I listen to her tell it, her experience quickens and clarifies my own. Her questions rouse mine. Her conflicts illumine my conflicts. Her resolutions call forth my hope. Her strengths summon my strengths. All of this can happen even when our stories and our lives are very different.

the feminine journey is a story unfolding, and its epiphanies come through real things, through tangibles like walking sticks and dreams and deer antlers--all of which we might miss without taking time and space in Deep Being.

I believe in the goodness of imagination.

All my life I've thought I needed someone to complete me, now I know I need to belong to myself.

Place a beehive on my grave and let the honey soak through, when I am dead and gone that's what I want from you. The streets of heaven are gold and sunny, but I'll stick with my plot and a pot of honey. Place a beehive on my grave and let the honey soak through.

We walked along the river with the words streaming behind us like ribbons in the night.

There is a fullness of time for things. You have to know when to prod and when to be quiet. When to let things take their course.

I didn't know then what I wanted, but the ache for it was palpable.

In a weird way I must have loved my little collection of hurts and wounds. They provided me with some real nice sympathy, with the feeling I was exceptional...What a special case I was.

I realized it for the first time in my life: there is nothing but mystery in the world, how it hides behind the fabric of our poor, browbeat days, shining brightly, and we don't even know it.

I know you've run away - everybody gets the urge to do that some time - but sooner or later you'll want to go home.

Up until then I'd thought that white people and colored people getting along was the big aim, but after that I decided everybody being colorless together was a better plan. I thought of that policeman, Eddie Hazelwurst, saying I'd lowered myself to be in this house of colored women, and for the very life of me I couldn't understand how it had turned out this way, how colored women had become the lowest ones on the totem pole. You only had to look at them to see how special they were, like hidden royalty among us. Eddie Hazelwurst. What a shitbucket.

Peace   Race   Women

Honeybees depend not only on physical contact with the colony, but also require it's social companionship and support. Isolate a honeybee from her sisters and she will soon die.

Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here.

It takes a bee 10,000,000 trips to collect enough nectar to make 1 pound of honey.

It was the oldest sound there was. Souls flying away.

There is nothing perfect...only life.

Bees   Life   Secret

I have noticed that if you look carefully at people's eyes the first five seconds they look at you, the truth of their feelings will shine through for just an instant before it flickers away.

There's nothing like a song about lost love to remind you how everything precious can slip from the hinges where you've hung it so careful.

You gotta imagine what's never been.

So I taught Sunday school and brought dishes to all manner of potlucks and tried to adjust the things I heard from the pulpit to my increasingly incongruent faith.

Drifting off to sleep, I thought about her. How nobody is perfect. How you just have to close your eyes and breathe out and let the puzzle of the human heart be what it is.

Standing there, I loved myself and I hated myself. That's what the black Mary did to me, made me feel my glory and my shame at the same time.

Egg laying is the main thing, Lily. She's the mother of every bee in the hive, and they all depend on her to keep it going. I don't care what their job is--they know the queen is their mother. She's the mother of thousands.

Sometimes I didn't even feel like getting out of bed. I took to wearing my days-of-the-week panties out of order. It could be Monday and I'd have on underwear saying Thursday. I just didn't care.

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