Ayelet Waldman

American-Israeli writer

Ayelet Waldman (born December 11, 1964) is an American writer of fiction, born in Jerusalem, and raised in Montreal and New Jersey. She is married to the novelist Michael Chabon.

Quotes edit

  • Why I went? I think it is incredibly important that those of us who have privilege use that privilege to call attention to this ongoing catastrophe. So, I want to be very clear. My husband was worried about me. It’s sweet. I had an uncomfortable nine-and-a-half hours. I had a mildly unpleasant nine-and-a-half hours. When a Palestinian here is arrested and goes into one of the many military prisons, their experience is horrible. They can be held without charges. There are children who are held without charges. When an Israeli Jewish activist — they have been arrested over and over again. They put their bodies on the line. They put their reputations on the line in terms of their community. What we experienced was very minor. But I think — I can only speak for myself, to say that it felt critical to me to use whatever small platform I have to draw attention to this crisis and to say that as a human being, and as a human being born in this country, I have to use my voice to say that this kind of horrific violence, this starving of children, this mass bombing, is completely unacceptable. It is not just unjust. It’s horrific.
    • Interview with Democracy Now (April 29, 2024)
  • I’m a little obsessed with learning new things, and every book is another opportunity to learn something new. My theory of fiction writing isn’t “Write what you know,” it’s “Write what you want to know.”
  • So much of what I see troubling women our age is the sense of surprise at the way it turned out, the toxic brew of boredom and thwarted ambition. Thwarted in many cases (in most, perhaps) by our own choices. I hope my daughters can avoid that. But you know, our mothers chanted, “The Personal Is Political,” from the rooftops, and every woman I know feels like her ambivalence is her own personal failing. So maybe nothing ever changes.
  • The Jews I knew growing up didn't do "do-it-yourself." When my father needed to hammer something he generally used his shoe, and the only real tool he owned was a pair of needle-nose pliers.
  • Dodgeball? My children were playing dodgeball? That cruel, brutal, violent schoolyard game so mercilessly satirized in the 2004 film with Ben Stiller? The game, more important, that exemplified everything that was wrong with my childhood in suburban New Jersey, a short, pasty-faced Jewish girl in a town full of scrubbed, blond, athletic WASPs, their long tanned limbs toned from years of tennis lessons and country club swim teams? Dodgeball? Over my dead body.
  • Those of us whose parenting style can be described as "a series of reflexes, instincts, and minute-by-minute adjustments," as Julie of A Little Pregnant puts it, rather than as a philosophy, are less invested in our own practices. What we do is often less a matter of conviction than one of convenience. What we need to remember is that there is no need to apologize for that, even in the face of the most red-faced outrage.
  • [W]hatever my intentions, whatever the truth of my claim, I had no business giving a lecture to a total stranger.
  • Why are the architects of the family-values agenda so eager to punish into the next generation? What is being served by seeking, quite literally, a tooth for a tooth?
    • Salon.com column
    • On Republican opposition to a bill legislating dental care for pregnant prisoners.
  • When I was 15, what I wanted in a boyfriend was just that confidence and swagger. I wanted someone who knew what he was doing, because I was just faking it. What I want for my daughter is the exact opposite.
  • We are the real Americans. Everett Moran, standing brave and resolute in the face of bigotry, is a real American. George Soros, devoting his life and his fortune to serving those less fortunate than he is, is a real American. The citizens of California who have donated their own money to support stem cell research, to compensate for the cowardice of our Taliban government, are real Americans. The rest of them? The ones that destroy the Constitution in service to their narrow-minded and zealously self-centered agendas? Those pinheads sure as hell aren't Americans. Secession. That's what we need.
  • I'd written personal essays before, but never on this scale -- never so often and with such, er, honesty. (If by honesty I mean slashing my wrists and hemorrhaging all over the computer screen).
  • [T]here is an inverse correlation between the cleanliness of a bathroom and my 3-year-old daughter's need to move her bowels.
  • Think about it, I say. How many straight men maintain inappropriately intimate relationships with their mothers? How many shop with them? I want a gay son. People laugh, but they assume I'm kidding. I'm not.
  • I tend to approach giving interviews with the same sense of circumspection and restraint as I approach my writing. That is to say, virtually none.

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