This I Know: Novelist Anne Rivers Siddons talks about life

This I Know ... Snapshots of life’s lessons from people you know — and some you don’t — in their own words

I think of first lines of books a lot. It does help to have a good one.

I’ve just discovered arthritis in both my thumbs and I thought, “There is no earthly use for arthritis.” It’s like sand fleas. It accomplishes nothing except to torture you when you’re older.

What I mainly get is, “Oh, boy, I could write a book if I just had the time.” And I think, “Well, since all I’ve got’s time maybe it’s a good thing you don’t.”

I don’t know why, but the word “lyric” just knocks me out.

Never answer the telephone if somebody else is around to do it.

The first time I went to Europe, my grandmother said I had no business going over there and meddling with those foreign Hottentots. I have no idea what she thought they were.

I never really liked anybody who was missing a sense of humor.

Lord, how could you get through life without thinking some of it was funny?

I probably had been three or four laps around the Bible before I even got to second grade. My father was superintendent of Sunday School and we were there every time the bell rang.

I have a friend who just became a vegan, and I don’t know how in God’s name she can do it.

What do I least like most in the world? Well, big parties, spiders, lots of book tours and I’m not gonna say Republicans.

Because it just so perfectly describes so many people I know, “mulish” is a great word to slip in anywhere.

There aren’t any rules for writing. ... As long as somebody retypes it.

You don’t find much insular South anymore. ... And that’s a good thing.

I mourn the loss of personal dignity, but then I never had a whole lot anyway.

Charleston is such a gentle place to drive. I have to forcibly restrain my husband from ever blowing a horn in Charleston because you’re apt to be behind some little old lady who’s got the family Lincoln out.

When I was 13 and on the stage reciting a poem about a little dog, I was holding my own little Cocker Spaniel and he peed on my pink organdy dress. That was fairly embarrassing.

I do not think the uses of adversity are very sweet at all.

Our little general store in Brooklin, Maine, has a special every Friday. They have Southern fried chicken at lunch. Which, to me, is probably the worst stuff I’ve ever tasted.

If somebody came up and said, “Do you know you just dangled a participle?” I would have no idea what I had done.

If you need help, you can always, always get it.

I must have been 8 or 9, just sitting on the steps on a fall afternoon in the backyard of my house in Fairburn, Georgia. It was just one of those incredible bursts of just sheer, utter joy that just completely knocks you backward. I felt like I was just vaporized with joy. I don’t know what it was. It just seemed to me a sense of infinite, absolutely wonderful possibility.

You get back what you lay into life.