“Tumble home. It’s a shipbuilding term I learned from Warren. It’s the place on a ship that is, if I understand him, the widest part of the bow before it narrows to cut through water—it is the point where the water parts and goes to one side of the ship or the other. To me, the tumble home is the place where nothing can touch you.”—from “Tumble Home,” by Amy Hempel
“I told him about the way they get to know you. Not the way people do, the way people 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.”—from Amy Hempel’s short story, “The Dog of the Marriage”
“Are you wondering why a person who is already small would want to make herself look smaller? That should become clear. Not everything I know is something I want to see. Though on highways and, once, on a mountain road, I have strained to see things I didn’t want to see. The worst I ever saw was a body without a head. That was when I realized that I don’t mind seeing everything as long as everything is there for me to see.”—from “Tumble Home” by Amy Hempel
“Tell me things I won’t mind forgetting," she said. "Make it useless stuff or skip it."
I began. I told her insects fly through rain, missing every drop, never getting wet. I told her no one in America owned a tape recorder before Bing Crosby did. I told her the shape of the moon is like a banana—you see it looking full, you’re seeing it end-on.”—from “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” by Amy Hempel