W.P. Kinsella

kinsella“He was afraid of what was out there.  I was afraid too, but the difference was I couldn’t wait to find out what it was that I was afraid of.”


“We are haunted by our past, which clings to us like strange mystical lint.  Of the past, the mystery of the family is the most beautiful, the saddest, and the most inescapable of all.  Those to whom we are joined by the ethereal ties of blood are often those about whom we know the least.”

-Iowa Baseball Confederacy


“It takes a very special person to bare their souls for mere humans to evaluate.”


“I have $8.14 in my pockets, but the climb has done me good.  There are several thousand dollars worth of adrenaline coursing through my body.”


“There’s something about the way you wave good-bye in the mornings, as if you’ll really miss me, that breaks my heart.”


-The Dixon Cornbelt League




“I wish I had your passion, however misdirected it may be.  It is still a passion.  If I had my life to live over once again, I’d like to take more chances.  I’d want more passion in my life, less fear and more passion.  More risks, even if you fail, you’ve still taken a risk”


“I feel as if I am about to suggest an unnatural sex act to a total stranger in a supermarket.”

-Shoeless Joe


“Trusting the government is like asking Colonel Sanders to babysit your chickens”


“”People hate you for being a success.  They can forgive anything but success.”

– Red Wolf, Red Wolf



“Move slowly”, you said, and your tongue would move like a butterfly inside my mouth. Pretend we’re water and in a while we’ll be all mixed up together so warm and wet…””


“My impulse is to turn back, but I won’t even though it is easy not to do something.”


“Success is getting what you want, but happiness is wanting what you get.”





“She could tease life into him.”


“You wear your clothes as if you want to be helped out of them.”


“And I could feel my tongue rearranging the freckles on her neck, her breasts, her belly.”


“Three drinks and drop the laundry, works every time.”


“I find it is almost impossible to believe she doesn’t understand my feelings, doesn’t comprehend how she tears me to pieces with her indifference, her deception.  She is so darkly beautiful; my heart feels like a frog held in a cupped hand.”


“These dudes were so tough that even their spit had muscles.”


“True love is like ghosts: everyone talks about but nobody’s seen.”


“Knows her memories will be the same as her future.”


-“The Thrill of the Grass”-W.P.Kinsella




“That, I think, is what love is partly about: doing harmless things for somebody you like, even though you don’t understand.”


“”My union don’t allow me to lift nothing heavier than ten pounds, except when I take a leak.”“


“She is long legged and delicate as the tiger-lilies that grow out on the hills.  She so pretty she make me smile to think of her, and I always take a short breath when she walks into a room.”


“You know what he is like if you ever walked by one of those electric transformer stations at night.  They make a strong hum and cause the ground to shake gentle.  George Longvisitor do the same to people around him.”


“”I don’t want no marriage like I see around here.  For me it got to be more.  I want somebody to twine my nights and days around, the way roses grow up a wire fence.”“


“Looking for a good RCMP, Mad Etta says, is like looking out over a field of skunks for as far as you can see and trying to figure which one of the whole bunch ain’t gonna make a bad smell when you get close to it.”




“Fireflies glow like planets in the moist, silent darkness that envelops us.”


“I am swinging my horn, which glints like broken glass under the stars.”


“. . . to fuel magic.  It takes risks.  It takes EXTREMES.”

-Tom Robbins


“The town eases to life.”


“My magic is small as a butterfly.”


“‘It was a vision, a prophecy.  Sometimes it takes many moons, cycles, lifetimes, before a vision becomes a reality.'”


“The day was warm, the air fragrant, and I was so much in love I could walk without touching the ground.”


“The night smells of earth and water.  I hold tightly to her hand, try to let my feeling flow into her.  I am struck dumb by the night, Sarah’s presence, my confusion.”


“As Sarah takes my hand, an image flashes before me, is snapped like marble in my brain, will be carried with me as long as I live.”


“‘Then you have learned one thing- that accomplishing your heart’s desire is not as wonderful as you expected.’

I eye him balefully.  ‘There is a saying where I come from: ‘Anticipation is always nine tenths of the actual event.””


“But eventually I run down and notice that Sarah is smiling tolerantly, like a mother who has listened to a child’s dream.”


“But even as Sarah pulls me to her heart, her mouth sweet inside mine, her love does not relieve my anxieties as it should.”


“I hold Sarah tighter, as if our being close to each other can make her fears go away.”


“It is Missy Baron I am lonely for today.”


“Missy, I remember now, has no odor.  She is like a fawn, equipped by nature so predators cannot track it down.  She smells only of what she has touched- dandelions, marigolds, her sleepy orange cat.”


“O’Reilly runs from the mound, meets Bill Klem at the plate, and screams into his face.  The old umpire bares his face to the storm for a few seconds, wipes the rain from his face with a tough-knuckled hand.”


“”O’Reilly is dancing like a giant leprechaun.  The curses roll out of his mouth like ball-bearings.”


“How wonderful I think, to be able to push grief far to the back of one’s mind, like slipping cardboard boxes under the basement stairs.”


“Iowa Baseball Confederacy”- W.P. Kinsella




“The truth, sad or otherwise, is that I am uninterested in anyone but Sunny.  I am thrilled by her indifference, aroused by her deceit.  I sometimes think I would like to be ensconsed in amber, like an insect, encased in the sweetness of Sunny’s odors, the bittersweet taste of her forever on my lips.  For even when she doesn’t please me, I melt against her body.  The others may be there, but to me they are as asexual as money, and like money, unless they can engender passion, they are useless to me.”


“I had my revelation as I stood staring into the half-empty closet the morning after Sunny left me for the first time.  As if I were stepping out of a fog bank, I realized that I was married to a woman as like my mother as it was possible to be.”


“”She’ll go and she’ll come back.  She’ll be changed ever so subtly, like a piece of furniture that’s been shipped across the country one more time.””


“I think vaguely of concentrating all my energy on my heart.”


“She wore a speckled dress and cloth running shoes, and even then had a gentle little belly, soft as a friendly cushion.”


“But it was like trying to write a description of how to tie shoelaces in a bow for a person who has never seen a shoe.”


“But though the essence of dreams is gossamer-light, the reality of dreams can be heavy as hundred-pound bags of cement.”


“I take up my horn and blast out ‘Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White’ so loud I picture the notes driving their way through the roof of the house and heavenward in a molten stream of sound.”


“He would have had to get my number from Information, for there isn’t a phone booth in America that has a phone book in it.”


“The phone is another concession to Missy’s joy of living; we were walking past the phone store in Iowa City one afternoon when Missy was drawn in like metal fillings to a magnet by the dazzle of multi-colored and miraculously shaped phones.”


“I don’t know how much of the show Missy understands, and it doesn’t really matter because it gives her pleasure.”


“Each baby would smack her lips and make wonderful gurgling noises that sounded vaguely Japanese.”


“The city expands, food and muffler franchises multiply, demolition crews chip away at history.”


“Here is another beginning: My name is Joe McCoy and I have lost my wife and family.  I have a beautiful little girl named Charlotte, who hugs my neck and is all angel eyes and soft little kisses.  I soak up her love like a sponge.”


““You buy those boots to compensate for a small dick?” Maureen would ask if I had the audacity to come home wearing them.

“I do not have a small dick.”

“Of course you don’t.  And I’m the only one it matters to, and I’ve been happy with it for almost fifteen years and will be for another thirty, providing you lose those ridiculous boots.”

“I’ll drop them off at the Goodwill tomorrow.”

“Why not just park them under the bed for the moment, and tonight we’ll pretend you’re a six-foot-eight rodeo cowboy with a small dick . . .”

My wife Maureen is the love most men never know.””


“. . . there are many things I wish I could change.

1 . . .

2 . . .

3 . . .

4 . . .

After that, the list lengthens to infinity.”


““The machine made comforting sounds, like a baby when it’s talkin’ itself to sleep.””


“Everything about me was so incredibly awkward.  I have no idea what Maureen saw in me.  It was easy to be rowdy and raucous with my friends, my teammates, but put me alone with a girl and I might as well have had a garrote around my neck.”


“”I want you to know you’re the first outside the family, McCoy.”  She glanced at me, that same wry, enigmatic smile on her face.

I couldn’t keep a surprised expression off my face.

“Shit, that’s what you expect me to say to me, isn’t it?  A brother has his sister in bed and says to her, ‘You’re better’n Ma.’ And the girl answers back, ‘That’s what Pa says.’””


“Inexplicably, by my senior year I was tiring of Maureen.  I was eighteen, had a long life in front of me, and didn’t want to share it.  Also, I didn’t know how good I had it.  It never occurred to me that I could have struck gold on my first try, that the world wasn’t full of prettier, sexier, more sophisticated Maureens just waiting for Joe McCoy to come along.”


“Time also flies when you’re not having fun.”


“”Don’t bode well for that poor baby, insanity in the family and all.  Is he the father?” [says the stranger]

“I have no idea,” says Francie.  “I am promiscuous beyond your wildest dreams.  You might even be the father.  We have met before, haven’t we?”

The old man goes back to his airline magazine.  His wife, who has upswept white hair lacquered in place and is dressed for square dancing, glowers at him suspiciously.”


“”I can’t help myself,” she said, after shaking her taffy-colored curls.  “And if something can’t be helped then I’m going to enjoy it.”


“”I have fantasies about you,” Francie said, sliding across the car seat until our bodies touched.  “I’ve undressed you so many times this past week that I’m tired form unbuttoning all those buttons.””


“Three of Francie’s fingers rested where the button used to be.  My heart beats into her fingertips.”


“My stomach felt like a washing machine half-full of ball bearings, the sounds of my heart stampeded across my chest.”


“”What does it pay?” she rasped in a voice that had smoked a hundred thousand cigarettes.”


““You took something seriously that I poked at you in fun.”

“And look where it got me.” [pregnant]


“I’d pave the road from here to Onamata by hand if she’d ride with me, I’d sprinkle camelia petals on the fresh black asphalt, I’d push the truck, I’d . . . well, you get the idea.”


““Thanks Pico, I appreciate your honesty, though you don’t have to call me Kid.  What I want from you is advice and I.D.”

“Stay on the move.  Don’t eat yellow snow.  What kind of I.D. and what can you offer in return?””


“”What is it Yogi Berra is supposed to have said, ‘Déjâ vu all over again’?”


“I want to ask why she didn’t finish her nurse’s training.  But I guess I know.  Maggie Levesque has done what her heart dictated, rather than what was expected of her.  She’s made no compromises.  How I wish I had done the same.”


“I’ve been thinking about friends.  A person is lucky to have one friend in a lifetime.  The test of true friendship goes something like this: you phone up late at night to say that you have (a) held up a 7-Eleven store and murdered three people in the process, (b) wiped out your family and buried the bodies beneath the floor of your garage, (c) embezzled half a million dollars from your employer, which you have lost in Las Vegas.

If the person is truly your friend, he will say, “I’ll mortgage my house to put up bail and pay a lawyer.”

How many people other than relatives and current lovers would you go out on a limb for?”


“”Hadn’t we better have a talk?” I say to Francie as we head toward Vegas in that blue hour before dawn.”


“”Slightly slower than shit moving through a long dog,”


“He [a street person] is sitting on his haunches in a debris-filled doorway, wearing an army jacket, ill-fitting pants and sneakers.  He holds out a trembling hand.  “All I need is a quarter,” he rasps.  A sourness emanates from him.  I try to pull Maureen past him quickly, but she balks, her shoes skidding on the gritty sidewalk.

“Hang on, Joe,” she says.  “Didn’t you hear what he said?  All he needs is a quarter.”

“Let’s go.”

“Joe, how many times do you think this is going to happen?  Imagine it being within your power to give someone all they need?  Give him a quarter.”

Reluctantly, I dig in my pocket and deposit a quarter in the winos conspicuously unwashed hand.  His mumbled thanks is not nearly as articulate as his request.

“I love you, Joe,” says Maureen, kissing me, hugging me happily.

Looking back, Maureen was right.  I can’t think of another time when I have been able to give someone all they need.”


“The oldest, Timothy, was apparently between sojourns at the crowbar hotel.”


“I’m running on pure adrenalin.  There are speed skates slashing through my veins.”


“”So what did you learn?”  He motions to a sweating beer can on a small, white table.

“Did I derive moral imperative?  Other people’s feelings are more important than my own, that’s what I learned.  But I should have known that since childhood.”  I pop the beer, take a long drink.”


““We’re all curious about the exact day and hour of our death.  If someone offered you that information would you accept it?”

“No,” I answer quickly.  “It would take all the mystery out of life, without mystery there’s nothing to live for.””


“”You know what an Iowa virgin is, McCoy?  A girl who can outrun her brothers.””


“”With you, baby, things are twice as good but only half as bad.””


“That’s what I learned I thirty-one years of trial and error.  Do what you have to do.”


“She is very slim with short black hair.  I do not have to search her, a weapon would stand out like a T-bone in a jockey’s stomach.”


“My head aches, as if something is trying to beat its way in, or out.”


“If Wishes Were Horses”- W.P. Kinsella