"Mom was a smoker. My grandfather was a smoker. My aunts were smokers. My uncles were smokers. I don't know any smokers now, not even my mom."
"My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her."Jane Smiley on George Washington
"The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children."Jane Smiley on Jessica Lange
"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it."Jane Smiley on Mark Twain
"Men are what their mothers made them."Jane Smiley on Ralph Waldo Emerson
"My mother said to me, 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso."Jane Smiley on Pablo Picasso
"I learned why 'out riding alone' is an oxymoron: An equestrian is never alone, is always sensing the other being, the mysterious but also understandable living being that is the horse."
"I discovered that the horse is life itself, a metaphor but also an example of life's mystery and unpredictability, of life's generosity and beauty, a worthy object of repeated and ever changing contemplation."
"There are hundreds of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings around the United States and in other countries, too. Wright lived into his 90s, and one of his most famous buildings, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, was completed just before his death. Wright buildings look like Wright buildings - that is their paradox."
"Vets do what doctors used to - diagnose the injury or the condition, patch it up as best they can and remind you that these things happen and that in life we are also in the midst of death."
"Somehow, knowing that Alzheimer's is coming mocks all one's aspirations - to tell stories, to think through certain issues as only a novel can do, to be recognised for one's accomplishments and hard work - in a way that old familiar death does not."