Roz Chast Quotes

  1. The wonderful thing about the cartoon form is it’s a combination of words and pictures. You don’t have to choose, and the contribution of the two often winds up being greater than the sum of its parts.
  2. It was deeply interesting to observe my mother closely and to draw her. During those last months, she wasn’t speaking much, if at all, and it was a way for me to be with her. It felt very natural.
  3. I like being able to go grocery shopping and not feel that I’m fighting a thousand people.
  4. I’m sure that my parents’ behavior has entered my work, I’m sorry to say. I don’t think you need to have a difficult childhood to be funny, but it helps.
  5. I always imagined my little cartoons on plates for some reason.
  6. Being female was just one more way I felt different and weird. I was also a young ‘un, and also my cartoons were not like typical ‘New Yorker’ cartoons.
  7. Did you know that you can live on Ensure for a year? A person can live for a really long time just lying in bed and drinking Ensure – way longer than you think.
  8. My father was in terrible pain towards the end because of his bed sores, and he did go into hospice, and I think that was better in some ways. You know, I think his death was peaceful, and it was all right. He was just in terrible pain.
  9. Even if you don’t have any dishes, you need a celery dish.
  10. I sometimes suffer from insomnia. And when I can’t fall asleep, I play what I call the alphabet game.
  11. My works were not – and they still aren’t – single panel gags with a punch line underneath them. I like a lot of those cartoons; I just don’t draw them.
  12. Grime is not like messiness or some fingerprints on a cabinet; it takes a long time to accumulate.
  13. I think I have a habit of, in my head, taking notes on whatever, you know, whether they’re verbal or pictorial or just making a note of things as they’re happening.
  14. I just really love the cartoon form. I love the plasticity of it.
  15. I don’t put myself through that nauseating experience of looking at someone’s face while they go through your stuff. Ugh! It’s just horrible! It gives me the cringes to even think about it.
  16. I love detail, like drawing what’s on top of someone’s coffee table. Maybe there’s a little bowl of butterscotch candies on it, next to the four TV remotes.
  17. For me, drawing was an outlet. No one in school said, ‘Oh, she can do sports,’ or, ‘She’s pretty,’ but I could draw.
  18. I used to think of the cartoons as a magazine within a magazine. First you go through and read all the cartoons, and then you go back and read the articles.
  19. I cannot stand superheroes. I do not understand any of its appeal. It has just bored me to death since I was a little kid.
  20. When my father died, my mother was still alive. And I think when your second parent dies, there is that shock: ‘Oh man, I’m an orphan.’ There’s also this relief: It’s done; it’s finished; it’s over.
  21. There’s something about most phobias where there’s a tiny, tiny corner where you think this really actually could happen.
  22. I have an African gray parrot; her name is Eli. We thought she was a boy. And a blue-streaked lory named Marco. He’s 10. And a yellow and green parakeet, Petey. He’s very cute, but he’s getting old.
  23. I don’t like cartoons that take place in Nowhereville. I like cartoons where I know where they’re happening.
  24. Childhood – that was not my favorite time in my life.
  25. My kids always joked that I spent more time cooking the birds’ food than I have cooking for them. And it’s probably true.
  26. I think of my drawing style like handwriting: it’s a mix of whatever handwriting you’re born with, plus bits and pieces you’ve pilfered from other people around you.
  27. My parents were very, very close; they pretty much grew up together. They were born in 1912. They were each other’s only boyfriend and girlfriend. They were – to use a contemporary term I hate – co-dependent, and they had me very late. So they had their way of doing things, and they reinforced each other.
  28. Sunday, there’s not a lot of structure. I might spend an hour thinking about why I don’t exercise, and feeling very guilty about not exercising. I tried running, over 10 years ago. It didn’t really take.
  29. I’ve always wanted to learn how to hook rugs. A wonderful artist named Leslie Giuliani taught me how. The nice thing is you can change it as you go along.
  30. Sometimes, you know – I think, with a lot of things, at the time, everything is extremely upsetting, and then you look back on it, and it actually can be sort of funny.
  31. I think when your parents die, it is kind of like a moving sidewalk: you’re not just on the sideline and watching them go by. You know, you’re going to the same place they are.
  32. I think, especially with my parents, I wanted to remember who they were. I wanted to remember all of it. I didn’t want to purge myself of it. I wanted to remember it.
  33. My life is so boring that your brains are going to melt and come out of your eyes.
  34. I love my parents. I did love them. It’s complicated.
  35. I’ve had people ask me if it would have been easier to take care of your parents if you had siblings, and I think it’s 50/50. I know people who have siblings, and there is a lot of acrimony because somebody always feels that they are doing more than the other person.
  36. I think, with my cartoons, the parent-like figures are kind of my own archeypes of parents, and they’re taken a little bit from my parents and other people’s parents, and parents I have read about, and parents I dreamed about, and parents that I made up.
  37. My parents scrimped and saved all their lives, to the point where my mother used a disgusting old oven mitt that was stained and partly patched together with a skirt I made in seventh grade.
  38. I’ve done a lot of death cartoons – tombstones, Grim Reaper, illness, obituaries… I’m not great at analyzing things, but my guess is that maybe the only relief from the terror of being alive is jokes.
  39. I can’t even look at daily comic strips. And I hate sitcoms because they don’t seem like real people to me: they’re props that often say horrible things to each other, which I don’t find funny. I have to feel like they’re real people.
  40. I think that children’s books should be censored not for references to sex but for references to diseases. I mean, who didn’t think after reading ‘Madeline’ that they were going to get appendicitis?
  41. It’s like a ‘chicken or the egg’ thing. We’re all part of the culture. We’re reflecting it; we’re changing it. So, yeah, I think culture is always changing.
  42. My parents were fine at 85. So 85’s nothing. 100 is another thing. I have a friend whose mother is about to turn 101, and it’s not great.
  43. My parents were born in 1912; they graduated from college into the Depression. They kept notebooks of every nickel they spent, and these habits of frugality from having grown up so poor never left them.
  44. In Brooklyn, I don’t feel that I’m holding up people with briefcases if I catch a stroller wheel in the sidewalk.
  45. I don’t think any of my kids’ books talk down to kids.
  46. One way of paying tribute to my parents was ‘bearing witness’ as the Quakers do – writing down everything that was happening instead of turning my back on it and pretending that it was all great.
  47. It cracks me up to see these ads for TV – for Depends or for glue for your dentures. The people in them look 55 with a hint of gray. Where are the people who are falling apart? We don’t see that.
  48. I don’t like going into the basement. I’m always afraid that something’s going to blow up.
  49. I don’t like anything that looks gelatinous – really weirds me out. But when I was a kid, I used to get very, very upset if anything had a kind of chalky texture; like, certain kinds of cottage cheese I know have a weird chalkiness.
  50. You might have a worry that’s so stupid it just peters out by itself, like a bad investment.
  51. I don’t like holidays. And I don’t like crowds of people. I don’t like noise.
  52. I had to get good grades and do well in school – my mother was an assistant principal and my father was a teacher – and they took this very seriously.

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