Amy Hempel

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I told him about the way they get to know you. Not the way people do, the way they flatter you by wanting to know every last thing about you, only it isn't a compliment, it is just efficient, a person getting more quickly to the end of you. Correction - dogs do want to know every last thing about you. They take in the smell of you, they know from the next room, asleep, when a mood settles over you. The difference is there's not an end to it.
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Dog
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Since his mother died I have seen him steam a cucumber thinking it was zucchini. That's the kind of thing that turns my heart right over.
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Mother
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consolation is a beautiful word. everyone skins his knee-that doesnt make yours hurt anyless.
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Beautiful
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All those years on the psychiatrist's couch and suddenly the couch is moving. Good God, she is on that couch when the big one hits. Maidy didn't tell you, but you know what her doctor said? She sprang from the couch and said, "My God, was that an earthquake?" The doctor said this: "Did it feel like an earthquake to you?
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Moving
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What I think," Chatty says, "is that if a man loves a woman more than a woman loves a man, then they're even.
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Men
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The worst of it is over now, and I can't say that I am glad. Lose that sense of loss--you have gone and lost something else.
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Loss
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Then the children went to bed, or at least went upstairs, and the men joined the women for a cigarette on the porch, absently picking ticks engorged like grapes off the sleeping dogs. And when the men kissed the women good night, and their weekend whiskers scratched the women's cheeks, the women did not think shave, they thought stay.
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Good Night
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The other day I was playing Scrabble. I saw that I could close the space in D-E- -Y. I had an N and an F. Which do you think I chose? What was the word I made?
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Thinking
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I moved through the days like a severed head that finishes a sentence.
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Sentences
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Maybe this is not a come-down-from-the-ledge story. But I tell it with the thought that the woman on the ledge will ask herself a question, the question that occurred to that man in Bogota. He wondered how we know that what happens to us isn't good?
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Men
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I would like to go for a ride with you, have you take me to stand before a river in the dark where hundreds of lightning bugs blink this code in sequence: right here, nowhere else! Right now, never again!
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Dark
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For peace of mind, I will lie about any thing at any time.
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Lying
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nothing is ever quite as bad as it could be.
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Trouble
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I think you would like Warren. He drinks Courvoisier in a Coke can, and has a laugh like you'd find in a cartoon bubble.
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Thinking
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He wondered how we know that what happens to us isn't good.
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Happens
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I am not quite myself, I think.But who here is quite himself? And yet there is a way in which we are all more ourselves than ever, I suppose.
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Thinking
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When the beer is gone, so are they -- flexing their cars on up the boulevard.
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Beer
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I’m not first and foremost interested in story and the what-happens, but I’m interested in who’s telling it and how they’re telling it and the effects of whatever happened on the characters and the people.
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Stories
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Maybe this is not a come-down-from-the-ledge story. But I tell it with the thought that the woman on the ledge will ask herself a question, the question that occurred to that man in Bogota. He wondered how we know that what happens to us isn’t good?
- Amy Hempel
Collection: Stories