What is Transgressive Fiction?

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Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies

I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning.

Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG

She was like a redneck Yoko Ono.

Lauren Sapala, Between the Shadow and Lo

Coming off a bad binge feels a bit like dying…like I’d found some dead rotting girl by the side of the road, and taken out my trusty pocketknife and sliced her open from throat to crotch and crawled right in and slid around, settling into the slippery reeking mess like it was home.

Franz Kafka

I am in chains. Don’t touch my chains.

Richard Thomas, Disintegration

I was a ghost, a skeletal frame of bones and sweat, a distraction for a night, barely something to cling to in the dark, a blank canvas on which to project whoever it was that they actually desired… I was a way station, a stopping-off point, to fill up and get off and move on.

Jim Carroll, The Petting Zoo

Back then, Billy imagined that drops of rain were unanswered prayers falling back to earth.

Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.

Joan Didion

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.

Niccolò Machiavelli

I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.

Aleister Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography

The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.

Blake Butler

black beyond black

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

The world is your oyster……too bad you’re allergic to shellfish.

Arthur Koestler

The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.

Arthur Nersesian, Dogrun

Finally life becomes a very specific thing–and that’s what we are. Ultimately, looking back, I’m beginning to believe that we need to always be fucked up. We need to always have some reason to hate ourselves, something to make us feel eternally incomplete.

Megan Abbott, Dare Me

There’s something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls.

Paul Auster, Oracle Night

It always stimulates me to discover new examples of my own prejudice and stupidity, to realize that I don’t know half as much as I think I do.

Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

It’s a strange thing to discover and to believe that you are loved when you know that there is nothing in you for anybody but a parent or a God to love.

Franz Kafka

I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.

Joseph Conrad, The Secret Sharer and other stories

Let them think what they liked, but I didn’t mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank — but that’s not the same thing.

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.

M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine

Finally, when all was said and done, the certainty (so often experienced, yet always new) that female charms, the kind that inflame the senses, are no more than kitchen smells: they tease you when you’re hungry and disgust you when you’ve had your fill.

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

Which do you prefer, she says. Sex or Violence?I try to smile. What’s the difference, really.

Paul Auster

You can’t put your feet on the ground until you’ve touched the sky.

Joan Didion, Where I Was From

I closed the box and put it in a closet.There is no real way to deal with everything we lose.

Marquis de Sade

My manner of thinking, so you say, cannot be approved. Do you suppose I care? A poor fool indeed is he who adopts a manner of thinking for others!

Megan Abbott, Dare Me

Ages fourteen to eighteen, a girl needs something to kill all that time, that endless itchy waiting, every hour, every day for something — anything — to begin.

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.

Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man

We got married: society’s solution to loneliness, lust and laundry.

Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies

All men contain several men inside them, and most of us bounce from one self to another without ever knowing who we are.

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.

David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four

Uncle Eric holding court, proud the only time he ever left Yorkshire was to kill Germans.

Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy

The story is not in the words; it’s in the struggle.

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

Whenever I’m leaving I get sentimental for that nostalgia I know I won’t have the next day.

Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man

Tell me the manner in which a patient commits suicide and I’ll tell you how he can be cured

Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory

Hate is a lack of imagination.

Joan Didion, On Self-Respect

Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself.

Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun

Last year nothing happenedThe year before nothing happenedAnd the year before that nothinghappened.

Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon

History had a slow pulse; man counted in years, history in generations

Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.

Blake Butler, Three Hundred Million

Blood helicopters chopped across my slim cerebrum like fresh diamonds, rings in screaming on small hands coming awake inside my linings, each after its own way to reach beyond me.

Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes

The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.

Lionel Shriver, Checker and the Derailleurs

A lot of people get so hung up on what they can’t have that they don’t think for a second about whether they really want it.

Graham Greene

Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector.

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.

Franz Kafka

I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.

Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human

I am convinced that human life is filled with many pure, happy, serene examples of insincerity, truly splendid of their kind-of people deceiving one another without (strangely enough) any wounds being inflicted, of people who seem unaware even that they are deceiving one another.

Megan Abbott, The Fever

I have another friend who gets what I’m really like, and I get her. She scares me. Did you ever see yourself times ten in another person and want to cover your eyes?

Aleister Crowley, Magick: Liber ABA: Book 4

One would go mad if one took the Bible seriously; but to take it seriously one must be already mad.

Marquis de Sade

Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated.

Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth

Well if being related by internet marriage is family, I suppose we are.

Paul Auster

And that’s why books are never going to die. It’s impossible. It’s the only time we really go into the mind of a stranger, and we find our common humanity doing this. So the book doesn’t only belong to the writer, it belongs to the reader as well, and then together you make it what it is.

Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth

… her skills more akin to the baking of macaroons than solving the complexities of the universe.

Megan Abbott, Dare Me

Love is a kind of killing, Addy,” she says. “Don’t you know that?

M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine

And if all womankind banded together and took the male path, the world would turn into one huge brothel.

Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun

This I want to believe implicitly: Man was born for love and revolution.

Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy

Roads are no place for naive chickens dreaming of nirvana.

Franz Kafka

I am free and that is why I am lost.

Paul Auster, Invisible

You’re too good for this world, and because of that the world will eventually crush you.

Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me

There are things that have to be forgotten if you want to go on living.

Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries

Little kids shoot marbleswhere the branches break the suninto graceful shafts of light…I just want to be pure.

David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four

I was miles and years away and then suddenly aware my hour was at hand, feeling all their eyes on me.

Franz Kafka

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.

A C Weisbecker

If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.

Aleister Crowley, Magick: Liber ABA: Book 4

The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and wilfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

It’s like someone who prays every night saying God’s a good listener. Just because you’re talking to us doesn’t mean we’re listening. With me and God, you never really know.

Will Christopher Baer

Sorrow is like the ocean and sometimes I wish my heart would stop.

Blake Butler, There Is No Year

Email servers learned to laugh.

Tanya Thompson, Assuming Names: A Con Artist’s Masquerade

Do you know the difference between neurotics and psychotics?Neurotics build castles in the sky; psychotics move into them.

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

Disappear, she says. I love that word.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.

Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy

Kugel was a firm believer that death was not always a bad thing – that life often reached such levels of crapitude that dying was preferable to living.

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

And my life went to pieces, like a love letter in the rain.

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

And when they start talking, and they always do, you find that each of them has a story they want to tell. Everyone, no matter how old or young, has some lesson they want to teach. And I sit there and listen and learn all about life from people who have no idea how to live it.

Lauren Sapala, Between the Shadow and Lo

I told most people I was an alcoholic if they asked and some if they didn’t. I figured everyone deserved a fair chance to cut and run at the very beginning.

Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human

What did he mean by “society”? The plural of human beings?

Arthur Nersesian, Manhattan Loverboy

The masses-I love em-they rush for red lights, risking everything to capture a few seconds, only to get home and waste their lives.

Franz Kafka, The Trial

It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.

Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

The sense of unhappiness is so much easier to convey than that of happiness. In misery we seem aware of our own existence, even though it may be in the form of a monstrous egotism: this pain of mine is individual, this nerve that winces belongs to me and to no other. But happiness annihilates us: we lose our identity.

Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands

It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes

Arthur Nersesian, The Fuck-Up

As the components of your life are stripped away, after all the ambitions and hopes vaporize, you reach a self-reflective starkness– the repetitious plucking of a single overwound string.

Marquis de Sade

It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure

Jim Carroll

You see, you just don’t knowI’m here to give you my heartAnd you want some fashion show

Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man

I hated myself and the world because I had failed to face and accept the limitations of my self and of life. In literature this refusal is called romanticism; in psychology, neurosis.

Arthur Nersesian, Mesopotamia

Stressful jobs, loveless marriages, bad food-most people kill themselves slowly every day.

Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend

Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.

Richard Thomas, Breaker

We trigger each other, it seems, some dysfunctional Rube Goldberg mousetrap, a laugh, then a slap, a razor gliding over a mirror, a glass filled, a glass emptied, a ball rolling down a length of pipe, a pipe filling up and overflowing with smoke. On our best days, we see each other for all that we are, and we find a way to make each other better.

Arthur Koestler

Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

Sitting on my stool I thought of a bumper sticker: “If Mean People Suck, Why Isn’t My Dick In Your Mouth?

Franz Kafka

Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.

Arthur Nersesian, The Fuck-Up

Perhaps the price of comfort is that life passes more rapidly. But for anyone who has lived in uneasiness, even for a short, memorable duration, it’s a trade-off that will gladly be made.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.

Arthur Koestler

I went to Communism as one goes to a spring of fresh water, and I left Communism as one clambers out of a poisoned river strewn with the wreckage of flooded cities and the corpses of the drowned.

Franz Kafka

All language is but a poor translation.

M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine

To begin with, I had never done any good deeds; besides, even if I had simply fabricated a few, I would not have enjoyed going on about them.

Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Though surely to avoid attachments for fear of loss is to avoid life.

Marquis de Sade

To judge from the notions expounded by theologians, one must conclude that God created most men simply with a view to crowding hell.

Thomas Pluck, Dark City Lights

I worked all day in back of a hot van snipping off dog balls, I can cut one more pair.

Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story

Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.

Marquis de Sade

Fuck! Is one expected to be a gentleman when one is stiff?

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

If stealing a few saltshakers was wrong I didn’t want to be right.

Alissa Nutting, Tampa

His eyes took in the details of my body with a conflicted gaze that I knew well: even having seen all the facts of the case, he still wanted me. He wanted me despite knowing what that meant about him.

Matthew Stokoe, High Life

I’d done it, I’d crossed the line between accepted behavior and behavior most of the population would consider a lynching offense, and that morning I felt as real as any of the men in the Escape commercials. It had been dirty and nasty but I wanted more.

Iain Banks

Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

None of us really has anything to lose. That makes it easier to give away.

George Orwell, 1984

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.

Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates

Dreams are manifestations of identities.

Aldous Huxley

There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.

Ray Bradbury

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

Ryū Murakami, In the Miso Soup

Parents, teachers, government – they all teach you how to live the dreary , deadening life of a slave, but nobody teaches you how to live normally.

George Orwell, Animal Farm

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York

I had a hunger for things I knew realistically I didn’t actually care for.

James Joyce

Shut your eyes and see.

Knut Hamsun

Love is every bit as violent and dangerous as murder.

Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries

It was a dream, not a nightmare, a beautiful dream I could never imagine in a thousand nods. There was a girl next to me who wasn’t beautiful until she smiled and I felt that smile come at me in heat waves following, soaking through my body and out my finger tips in shafts of color and I knew somewhere in the world, somewhere, that there was love for me.

George Orwell

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.

Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.

Poppy Z Brite

The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.

Allen Ginsberg

The weight of the world is love. Under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction the weight, the weight we carry is love.

George Orwell, 1984

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

Albert Camus

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.

George Orwell

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

It is shaming sometimes, how the body will not, or cannot, lie about emotions.

George Orwell, 1984

Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.

Ryū Murakami, Coin Locker Babies

They don’t realise that they’ve changed; they think it’s the world that changed.

Kurt Vonnegut

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

George Orwell, Animal Farm

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

James Joyce, Ulysses

History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.

Ryū Murakami, In the Miso Soup

… The type of loneliness where you need to keep struggling to accept a situation is fundamentally different than the sort you know you’ll get through if you just hang in there

Ray Bradbury

You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.

Knut Hamsun, Pan

love three things,” I then say. “I love a dream of love I once had, I love you, and I love this patch of earth.”“And which do you love best?”“The dream.

Poppy Z Brite

When you have too much faith in something, it’s bound to hurt you. Too much faith in anything will suck you dry. In this way, all the world is a vampire.

Ryū Murakami, In the Miso Soup

When you’re a kid, getting lost isn’t just an event or a situation, it’s like a career move. You get this thrill of anxiety and fear and a feeling that you’ve done something that can never be undone.

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

Kurt Vonnegut

The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick and Colon.

Philip K Dick, Martian Time-Slip

I’m not much but I’m all I have.

J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey

I’m sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.

George Orwell, 1984

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

Kurt Vonnegut

Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum.

Allen Ginsberg

I know too much and not enough

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

Thus it is that no cruelty whatsoever passes by without impact. Thus it is that we always pay dearly for chasing after what is cheap.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.

James Joyce, Ulysses

And then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will yes.

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

Crowd was to be pleased. Crowd was to be worshipped and feared. Ultimately, Crowd was to be made sacrifice unto.

George Orwell, 1984

If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.

Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

George Orwell, 1984

We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.

Philip K Dick

The problem with introspection is that it has no end.

Martin Amis, The Second Plane: 14 Responses to September 11

Love is an abstract noun, something nebulous. And yet love turns out to be the only part of us that is solid, as the world turns upside down and the screen goes black.

Georges Bataille, Violent Silence

I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.

Dennis Cooper, Frisk

Human bodies are such garbage bags.

Ryū Murakami, In the Miso Soup

People who love horror films are people with boring lives… when a really scary movie is over, you’re reassured to see that you’re still alive and the world still exists as it did before. That’s the real reason we have horror films – they act as shock absorbers – and if they disappeared altogether, I bet you’d see a big leap in the number of serial killers. After all, anyone stupid enough to get the idea of murdering people from a movie could get the same idea from watching the news.

Aldous Huxley

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.

D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.

Albert Camus

Don’t walk in front of me… I may not followDon’t walk behind me… I may not leadWalk beside me… just be my friend

George Orwell, 1984

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

I’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot.

George Orwell

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

Nick Cave

I’ve always had an obligation to creation, above all.

Dennis Cooper, The Marbled Swarm

Why is it I feel a new nostalgia for the era of the guillotine?

Alissa Nutting, Tampa

I found that sometimes it was a relief to do something unattractive in private, to confirm that I’m deeply flawed when so many others imagine me to be perfect. People are often startled by my handwriting; because I’m pretty, they assume everything I do is pretty. It’s odd to them that I write like I have a hook for an arm, just as Ford would be startled to learn I have a hook for a heart.

Kelly Braffet, Save Yourself

Hate can be just as intimate as love.

Richard Bachman, Roadwork

All places are the same unless your mind changes. There’s no magic place to get your mind right. If you feel like shit, everything you see looks like shit.

Martin Amis, Other People

When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.

Allen Ginsberg

Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.

Philip K Dick

If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.

Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory

Looking at me, you’d never guess I’d killed three people. It isn’t fair.

Jack Kerouac

Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.

Ryū Murakami

Everybody wants to talk about themselves, and everybody wants to hear everybody else’s story, so we take turns playing reporter and celebrity.

Lauren Sapala, Between the Shadow and Lo

Most people don’t like to admit that vaginas have economic value, but they’re one of our most valuable natural resources.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.

Aldous Huxley

The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.

D H Lawrence

For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.

Nick Cave, And the Ass Saw the Angel

And Satan sighed and shook his head, played harp amongst the flames. ‘It’s Hell up there in Heaven too, for all that that is worth. Heaven is just a lie of mine to make it Hell on Earth.

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

The longer you went without speaking, the harder it gets to break the silence.

Ian McEwan, Saturday

You can tell a lot from a person’s nails. When a life starts to unravel, they’re among the first to go.

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

How nice — to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.

George Orwell

In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.

Kurt Vonnegut

Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.

Alissa Nutting, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls

I was like a turd inside someone who’d accidentally swallowed an engagement ring: I was nothing, yet I carried something uniquely special.

George Orwell, 1984

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?

Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly

I have seen myself backward.

Kurt Vonnegut, If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young

We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.

D H Lawrence

Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.

Ian McEwan, Atonement

She lay in the dark and knew everything.

Poppy Z Brite

Why bother? I was right all along: the second you make yourself vulnerable to someone, they start drawing blood.

Kelly Braffet, Last Seen Leaving

All he would say was that sometimes you have to burn it down and start over.

James Joyce

Your battles inspired me – not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.

Alissa Nutting, Tampa

There was something repulsive (and revealing) about talking on a cell phone while handling garbage. Why did anyone pretend human relationships had value?

Poppy Z Brite, Wormwood: A Collection of Short Stories

You hold onto what you have; you do not give it up easily, even when you know it is poisoning you.

George Orwell, 1984

Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.

R D Ronald

Today I plan to smile a lot, only so people who know me will be freaked the fuck out.

Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger

Language tethers us to the world; without it we spin like atoms.

R D Ronald

This faulty light fitting at the front door with the dangerously flickering bulb looks rather festive. Who says I don’t do Christmas?

Greg Levin, Sick to Death

Over the previous six months, there was only one thing Gage had become more efficient at than killing… and that was dying.

Charles Bukowski

Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.

Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.

Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last

You have to die a few times before you can really live.

Henry Miller

To be joyous is to be a madman in a world of sad ghosts.

Anaïs Nin

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.

Anaïs Nin

Ordinary life does not interest me.

Gillian Flynn, Dark Places

I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.

J G Ballard

Civilised life, you know, is based on a huge number of illusions in which we all collaborate willingly. The trouble is we forget after a while that they are illusions and we are deeply shocked when reality is torn down around us.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.

Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son

I knew every raindrop by its name.

Edit | Delete J G Ballard, The Day of Creation

Sooner or later, everything turns into television.

Kola Boof, The Sexy Part of the Bible

And though this encounter took place against an African sky, our brief enchantment symbolized the new world’s greatest taboo – the hand of a very black man caressing the face of the blackest woman, with no shred of light entering into it, utter darkness alone representing God (71).

Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire

We are most artistically caged.

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

I have to return some videotapes

William S Burroughs

Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.

Italo Calvino

Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

That’s one of the drawbacks of good narcotics—they often cause you to say cheerful things.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

All I know is this: nobody’s very big in the first place, and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down.

Irvine Welsh

I’m not running away, I’m moving on.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

It’s humbling, to become the very thing you once mocked.

William S Burroughs

Writers, like elephants, have long, vicious memories. There are things I wish I could forget.

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

I asked the cardiologist why an electrocardiogram was called an EKG, instead of an ECG.He said, “Nazis. Nazis invented the machine.”After he left, I found a napkin on my breakfast tray and wrote that down: EKG = Nazis.

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

The Buddhists say if you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, that’s not the one. When you meet your ‘soul mate’ you’ll feel calm. No anxiety, no agitation.

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

The only value of wasted time is knowledge.

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

As the expression goes, we spend our youth attaining wealth, and our wealth attaining youth.

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.

Chuck Palahniuk, Diary

It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.

Douglas Coupland

I don’t think anyone ever gets over anything in life; they merely get used to it.

Katherine Dunn, Geek Love

I get glimpses of the horror of normalcy. Each of these innocents on the street is engulfed by a terror of their own ordinariness. They would do anything to be unique.

Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son

And therefore I looked down into the great pity of a person’s life on this earth. I don’t mean that we all end up dead, that’s not the great pity. I mean that he couldn’t tell me what he was dreaming, and I couldn’t tell him what was real.

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

We were left with nothing because of a love like acid that ate its way through our entire family.

William S Burroughs, Naked Lunch

You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

She looked the way a rose petal looks when you crush it between finger and thumb.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

He knows that you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.

Charles Bukowski, Post Office

I wanted the whole world or nothing.

Kola Boof, The Sexy Part of the Bible

But somehow, once you start playing behind the steering wheel of God, you realize just how powerful it is to be the imagination driving the natural world (64).

Anaïs Nin

I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

When life sucks, throw yourself into art.

Greg Levin, Sick to Death

He never praised me whenever I’d hit a home run in little league, but I kill a few people and all of the sudden I’m his idol.

Katherine Dunn, Geek Love

Can you be happy with the movies, and the ads, and the clothes in the stores, and the doctors, and the eyes as you walk down the street all telling you there is something wrong with you? No. You cannot be happy. Because, you poor darling baby, you believe them.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.

Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream

But you cant shut everyone out. I mean you have to have someone to love. . .someone to hold on to. . . someone–

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.

Matthew Stokoe, Cows

He was adrift in their world, unsure of his significance, and to open himself to a point where conversation could take place would only have revealed how unlike them he was.

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

I’d rather wear bare skin than raw silk any day.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

Then there are the addicts, the hunger addicts, the rage addicts, the poverty addicts , and power addicts, and the pure addicts who are addicted not to substances but to the oblivion and the tenderness the substances engender. An addict, if you don’t mind me saying so, is like a saint. What is a saint but someone who has cut himself off, voluntarily, from the world’s traffic and currency.

Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief

I don’t deserve a soul, yet I still have one. I know because it hurts.

Patrick Süskind, The Pigeon

…he came to the conclusion that you cannot depend on people, and that you can live in peace only if you keep them at arm’s length.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?

Penelope Lively, How it all Began

When you are able to be with a person and there is no need to talk, something has happened.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

There’s nothing better than being the bad guy. Long enough to do some good.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

Women are more evolved biologically and emotionally, that’s well knownand it’s obvious. But they confuse sex and the spirit; they don’tseparate. Men, as you know, always separate: they separatetheir human and dog natures.

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.

Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller

If one wanted to depict the whole thing graphically, every episode, with its climax, would require a three-dimensional, or, rather, no model: every experience is unrepeatable. What makes lovemaking and reading resemble each other most is that within both of them times and spaces open, different from measurable time and space.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

This is your life and its ending one moment at a time.

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

Jack laughed behind him, a mirthless sound from a man who had been on the wrong end of life’s ironies too many times.

R D Ronald

I’m the biggest critic of my own work, but sometimes you nail a chapter so good that you have to take a step back and admire that bitch.

J G Ballard

I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.

Anaïs Nin

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

Vladimir Nabokov

Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.

Hunter S Thomson

Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.

J G Ballard, Crash

I wanted to rub the human race in its own vomit, and force it to look in the mirror.

Ken Kesey, Kesey’s Garage Sale

It isn’t by getting out of the world that we become enlightened, but by getting into the world…by getting so tuned in that we can ride the waves of our existence and never get tossed because we become the waves.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

Whenever out with others, I can do pleasant. I can do content. I’m even able to muster empathy and interest on occasion. It’s not as easy as doing conniving, creepy, sleazy and sinister, but sometimes you just have to leave work at the office.

Vladimir Nabokov

Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person.

Greg Levin, Sick to Death

We’d be dead. Big deal. Death’s not such a long drop these days. Not for us.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

There’s a difference between really loving someone and loving the idea of her.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

We’re waiting for a glance or a word, some acknowledgement that we are here.

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

That’s why Twinkle likes the place so much, Scott thought, looking around at the faded wood veneer tables, and the faded souls drinking at them. Misery was soaked through the place like the old beer soaked through its carpets.

Hunter S Thomson, Hells Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga

The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

I felt so heavy with love. I could feel it packed inside my chest.

Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

I can’t remember if I took an oxy during the flight, so I eat two. They pair nicely with the scotch. It’s good to be home.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

They can’t tell so much about you if you got your eyes closed.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.

Irvine Welsh

Some people are easier to love when you don’t have to be around them.

Gillian Flynn, Dark Places

I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.

Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting

By definition, you have to live until you die. Better to make that life as complete and enjoyable an experience as possible, in case death is shite, which I suspect it will be.

Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet

Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

You’ve got to face facts and the fact is life is a joke, a fucking bad joke, or, no, a bad fucking joke. There’s no point taking it seriously because whatever happens, and I mean whatever the fuck, the punch line is the same: you go out horizontally. You see the point? No fucking point.

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

The craggy lines that made up the character in his face now seemed like scars of defeat, inflicted on him over time.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

There is no God and we are his prophets.

Sylvia Plath

Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.

Henry Miller

What’s a fuck when what I want is love?

Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

Let me be, was all I wanted. Be what I am, no matter how I am.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

But what I do I do because I like to do.

Hunter S Thomson

So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?

Rupert Thomson, Dreams of Leaving

Her smiles were blurred, as if seen from a moving train. Her eyes always creased at the edges by dreams of leaving.

Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.

Philip K Dick

If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.

George Orwell, 1984

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.

Ian McEwan, Saturday

You can tell a lot from a person’s nails. When a life starts to unravel, they’re among the first to go.

Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory

Looking at me, you’d never guess I’d killed three people. It isn’t fair.

Will Self

A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.

Poppy Z Brite

Why bother? I was right all along: the second you make yourself vulnerable to someone, they start drawing blood.

George Orwell

In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

Poppy Z Brite, Lost Souls

If you want something, you don’t wait for the world to deal it out for you. You take it.

Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.

D H Lawrence

Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.

George Orwell, 1984

Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.

George Orwell, 1984

In the face of pain there are no heroes.

George Orwell

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

George Orwell

Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.

Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point

I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.

Nick Cave

People think I’m a miserable sod but it’s only because I get asked such bloody miserable questions.

Ryū Murakami, In the Miso Soup

Malevolence is born of negative feelings like loneliness and sadness and anger. It comes from an emptiness inside you that feels as if it’s been carved out with a knife, an emptiness you’re left with when something very important has been taken away from you

Kathy Acker

If you ask me what I want, I’ll tell you. I want everything.

Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.

Ray Bradbury

Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.

Albert Camus

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.

Ian McEwan

Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion and the beginning of morality

George Orwell

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Martin Amis

The universe is a million billion light-years wide, and every inch of it would kill you if you went there. This is the position of the universe with regards to human life.

Poppy Z Brite, Wormwood: A Collection of Short Stories

You hold onto what you have; you do not give it up easily, even when you know it is poisoning you.

Albert Camus

Don’t walk in front of me… I may not followDon’t walk behind me… I may not leadWalk beside me… just be my friend

James Joyce

All Moanday, Tearday, Wailsday, Thumpsday, Frightday, Shatterday.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.

George Orwell, 1984

Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?

Albert Camus

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

And so it goes…

Jack Kerouac

Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

None of us really has anything to lose. That makes it easier to give away.

William Golding, Pincher Martin

Worse than madness. Sanity.

Philip K Dick

The true measure of a man is not his intelligence or how high he rises in this freak establishment. No, the true measure of a man is this: how quickly can he respond to the needs of others and how much of himself he can give.

Allen Ginsberg

The weight of the world is love. Under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction the weight, the weight we carry is love.

D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.

D H Lawrence

For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.

George Orwell, 1984

We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.

Kurt Vonnegut

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

Albert Camus

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Mothers are all slightly insane.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.

Dennis Cooper, Frisk

Human bodies are such garbage bags.

Kurt Vonnegut

Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum.

George Orwell, Animal Farm

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Philip K Dick

There will come a time when it isn’t ‘They’re spying on me through my phone’ anymore. Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me’.

Ryū Murakami

She’s like smoke:you think you’re seeing her clearly enough, but when you reach for her there’s nothing there

D H Lawrence, The Complete Poems

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.

George Orwell, Animal Farm

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Ian McEwan, The Cement Garden

Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short and wear shirts and boots because it’s okay to be a boy; for girls it’s like promotion. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, according to you, because secretly you believe that being a girl is degrading.

Kathy Acker, Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia

Everytime you read, you are walking among the dead, and, if you are listening, you just might hear prophecies.

Ryū Murakami, In the Miso Soup

When you’re a kid, getting lost isn’t just an event or a situation, it’s like a career move. You get this thrill of anxiety and fear and a feeling that you’ve done something that can never be undone.

Ray Bradbury

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in High School

Love goes away when your mind goes away and then you’re someone else.

Philip K Dick

The problem with introspection is that it has no end.

Allen Ginsberg

I know too much and not enough

Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

Philip K Dick, Martian Time-Slip

I’m not much but I’m all I have.

Martin Amis, The Information

He awoke at six, as usual. He needed no alarm clock. He was already comprehensively alarmed.

George Orwell, 1984

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

Ryū Murakami, In the Miso Soup

People who love horror films are people with boring lives… when a really scary movie is over, you’re reassured to see that you’re still alive and the world still exists as it did before. That’s the real reason we have horror films – they act as shock absorbers – and if they disappeared altogether, I bet you’d see a big leap in the number of serial killers. After all, anyone stupid enough to get the idea of murdering people from a movie could get the same idea from watching the news.

Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory

Sometimes the thoughts and feelings I had didn’t really agree with each other, so I decided I must be lots of different people inside my brain.

Albert Camus

Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.

Nick Cave, The Death of Bunny Munro

I am damned,’ thinks Bunny Munro in a sudden moment of self-awareness reserved for those who are soon to die.

Nick Cave

Inspiration is a word used by people who aren’t really doing anything.

Dennis Cooper, The Marbled Swarm

When a child grows old enough to know J.R.R. Tolkien was just staring at a typewriter, the truth can be a wounding exposé.

George Orwell, 1984

If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.

Christa Faust

I hate malls. They’re like strip clubs for women. All tease and sparkle and the empty promise that if you just drop enough cash, somehow you’ll be fulfilled.

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

This is how the entire course of a life can be changed: by doing nothing.

Kelly Braffet, Last Seen Leaving

All he would say was that sometimes you have to burn it down and start over.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.

Nick Cave

I’ve always had an obligation to creation, above all.

William Golding

My yesterdays walk with me. They keep step, they are gray faces that peer over my shoulder.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.

Allen Ginsberg

Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!

Kathy Acker

For the poet, the world is word. Words. Not that precisely. Precisely: the world and words fuck each other.

George Orwell, 1984

The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.

Knut Hamsun, Hunger

I suffered no pain, my hunger had taken the edge off; instead I felt pleasantly empty, untouched by everything around me and happy to be unseen by all. I put my legs up on the bench and leaned back, the best way to feel the true well-being of seclusion. There wasn’t a cloud in my mind, nor did I feel any discomfort, and I hadn’t a single unfulfilled desire or craving as far as my thought could reach. I lay with open eyes in a state of utter absence from myself and felt deliciously out of it.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

If faces were different when lit from above or below — what was a face? What was anything?

Knut Hamsun

Love is every bit as violent and dangerous as murder.

Alissa Nutting, Tampa

There was something repulsive (and revealing) about talking on a cell phone while handling garbage. Why did anyone pretend human relationships had value?

Martin Amis, The Second Plane: 14 Responses to September 11

Love is an abstract noun, something nebulous. And yet love turns out to be the only part of us that is solid, as the world turns upside down and the screen goes black.

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.

Aldous Huxley

Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.

Martin Amis, Other People

When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.

Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.

George Orwell, 1984

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.

James Joyce, Ulysses

And then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will yes.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.

George Orwell, 1984

Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?

Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background

Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

He looked both proud and guilty of something. As if happiness was a reward and he wasn’t sure he’d done enough to deserve it.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

I don’t want to die without any scars.

Charles Bukowski, Factotum

My ambition is handicapped by laziness

William S Burroughs

In the U.S. you have to be a deviant or die of boredom.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

He knows that you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

All I know is this: nobody’s very big in the first place, and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down.

R D Ronald

I’m not into this whole “move with the times” thing. I reckon we should just decide on a year and stick with it.

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.

Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream

He didn’t know what was defeating him, but he sensed it was something he could not cope with, something that was far beyond his power to control or even at this point in time comprehend.

Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son

Sometimes what I wouldn’t give to have us sitting in a bar again at 9:00 a.m. telling lies to one another, far from God.

R D Ronald

The best writers tend to look the roughest in photos. At least that’s the excuse I use for why I look so bad in mine.

Hubert Selby Jr

Sometimes we have the absolute certainty there’s something inside us that’s so hideous and monstrous that if we ever search it out we won’t be able to stand looking at it. But it’s when we’re willing to come face to face with that demon that we face the angel.

R D Ronald

This faulty light fitting at the front door with the dangerously flickering bulb looks rather festive. Who says I don’t do Christmas?

Kola Boof, The Sexy Part of the Bible

My look, mind you, is not chocolate like Lauryn Hill, Whoopi Goldberg, or Naomi Campbell – it is pitch black and shimmering like the purple outer space of the universe. I am the charcoal that creates diamonds. I am the blackest black woman (41).

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do?

J G Ballard, Crash

After being bombarded endlessly by road-safety propaganda it was almost a relief to find myself in an actual accident.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.

Douglas Coupland

I don’t think anyone ever gets over anything in life; they merely get used to it.

Katherine Dunn, Geek Love

Can you be happy with the movies, and the ads, and the clothes in the stores, and the doctors, and the eyes as you walk down the street all telling you there is something wrong with you? No. You cannot be happy. Because, you poor darling baby, you believe them.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

I can’t remember if I took an oxy during the flight, so I eat two. They pair nicely with the scotch. It’s good to be home.

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

She looked the way a rose petal looks when you crush it between finger and thumb.

Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last

You have to die a few times before you can really live.

Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream

There’s a sorrow and pain in everyone’s life, but every now and then there’s a ray of light that melts the loneliness in your heart and brings comfort like hot soup and a soft bed.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

Whenever out with others, I can do pleasant. I can do content. I’m even able to muster empathy and interest on occasion. It’s not as easy as doing conniving, creepy, sleazy and sinister, but sometimes you just have to leave work at the office.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

In this job, you learn to ignore the urge to comfort those you’re protecting.

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

I felt so heavy with love. I could feel it packed inside my chest.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

Jack laughed behind him, a mirthless sound from a man who had been on the wrong end of life’s ironies too many times.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.

Charles Bukowski

Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.

Patrick Süskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.

Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction

What does that mean know me, know me, nobody ever knows anybody else, ever! You will never know me.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.

J G Ballard

Civilised life, you know, is based on a huge number of illusions in which we all collaborate willingly. The trouble is we forget after a while that they are illusions and we are deeply shocked when reality is torn down around us.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

Then there are the addicts, the hunger addicts, the rage addicts, the poverty addicts , and power addicts, and the pure addicts who are addicted not to substances but to the oblivion and the tenderness the substances engender. An addict, if you don’t mind me saying so, is like a saint. What is a saint but someone who has cut himself off, voluntarily, from the world’s traffic and currency.

Greg Levin, The Exit Man

Suicide should come with a warning label: ‘Do not try this alone.’

Kola Boof, The Sexy Part of the Bible

And though this encounter took place against an African sky, our brief enchantment symbolized the new world’s greatest taboo – the hand of a very black man caressing the face of the blackest woman, with no shred of light entering into it, utter darkness alone representing God (71).

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

The fig tree had dropped its fruit all over the ground. Ripe figs lay in the dust, exploded, bloody, as if the sky had rained organs.

Irvine Welsh

I’m not running away, I’m moving on.

Donna Tartt, The Secret History

I suppose at one time in my life I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell.

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

I’d rather wear bare skin than raw silk any day.

William S Burroughs

Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.

Charles Bukowski, Barfly

I don’t hate them…I just feel better when they’re not around.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.

Chuck Palahniuk, Diary

It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.

Dennis Cooper

When I started writingI was a sick teenagedfuck inside who partlythought I was the newMarquis de Sade, a bodydoomed to communicatewith Satan who was us-ing my sickness as hishome away from home,and there’s your proof.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

A lot of people lacked that gift: knowing when to fuck off.

Greg Levin, The Exit Man

One week I’m helping to end a life, the next I’m stepping in to save one. Seemingly dichotomous acts, but actually one in the same.

Hunter S Thomson

Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.

Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction

No one ever likes the right person.

Patrick Süskind, The Pigeon

…he came to the conclusion that you cannot depend on people, and that you can live in peace only if you keep them at arm’s length.

Hunter S Thomson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it up to forced consciousness expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.

Matthew Stokoe, Cows

He was adrift in their world, unsure of his significance, and to open himself to a point where conversation could take place would only have revealed how unlike them he was.

Hunter S Thomson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.

Kola Boof, The Sexy Part of the Bible

But somehow, once you start playing behind the steering wheel of God, you realize just how powerful it is to be the imagination driving the natural world (64).

R D Ronald

Today I plan to smile a lot, only so people who know me will be freaked the fuck out.

Ken Kesey, Kesey’s Garage Sale

It isn’t by getting out of the world that we become enlightened, but by getting into the world…by getting so tuned in that we can ride the waves of our existence and never get tossed because we become the waves.

Rupert Thomson, The Insult

There’s love and everybody talks about it, but not all of us come close to it – or, if we do, it’s not in the expected way.

Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son

She wanted to eat my heart and be lost in the desert with what she’d done, she wanted to fall on her knees and give birth from it, she wanted to hurt me as only a child can be hurt by its mother.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

This is your life and its ending one moment at a time.

Gillian Flynn, Dark Places

I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.

Penelope Lively, How it all Began

When you are able to be with a person and there is no need to talk, something has happened.

William S Burroughs

There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

There’s a difference between really loving someone and loving the idea of her.

Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger

Language tethers us to the world; without it we spin like atoms.

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

That’s why Twinkle likes the place so much, Scott thought, looking around at the faded wood veneer tables, and the faded souls drinking at them. Misery was soaked through the place like the old beer soaked through its carpets.

Hunter S Thomson

So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?

Hunter S Thomson

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

Sometimes truths are what we run from, and sometimes they are what we seek.

Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero

Disappear here

Douglas Coupland, Hey Nostradamus

In the end, I think the relationships that survive in this world are the ones where two people can finish each other’s sentences. Forget drama and torrid sex and the clash of opposites. Give me banter any day of the week.

R D Ronald

Nothing says Christmas better than familicide and anaphylactic shock.

Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream

The voice so filled with nostalgia that you could almost see the memories floating through the blue smoke, memories not only of music and joy and youth, but perhaps, of dreams. They listened to the music, each hearing it in his own way, feeling relaxed and a part of the music, a part of each other, and almost a part of the world.

J G Ballard

I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

That’s what birthdays were. Days when you found out where you stood. Who was on your side and who wasn’t. Nothing to do with how old you were.

Douglas Coupland, Life After God

And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one.

Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream

I suspect there will never be a requiem for a dream, simply because it will destroy us before we have the opportunity to mourn it’s passing.

Greg Levin, The Exit Man

She had become an integral part of my life—just not the part with all the death.

Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire

We are most artistically caged.

Rupert Thomson, Dreams of Leaving

Her smiles were blurred, as if seen from a moving train. Her eyes always creased at the edges by dreams of leaving.

Henry Miller

To be joyous is to be a madman in a world of sad ghosts.

Hunter S Thomson

Sex without love is as hollow and ridiculous as love without sex.

Henry Miller

Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.

Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook

…what they show tells you what they want to hide.

Vladimir Nabokov

My loathings are simple. stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music. My pleasures are the most intense known to man: writing and butterfly hunting.

R D Ronald

I don’t “lol”. I tried it once but it just didn’t agree with me.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

Women are more evolved biologically and emotionally, that’s well knownand it’s obvious. But they confuse sex and the spirit; they don’tseparate. Men, as you know, always separate: they separatetheir human and dog natures.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?

Irvine Welsh

Some people are easier to love when you don’t have to be around them.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

You’ve got to face facts and the fact is life is a joke, a fucking bad joke, or, no, a bad fucking joke. There’s no point taking it seriously because whatever happens, and I mean whatever the fuck, the punch line is the same: you go out horizontally. You see the point? No fucking point.

William S Burroughs, Naked Lunch

You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.

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