Transgressive Fiction

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Franz Kafka
I am a cage, in search of a bird.
Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human
What did he mean by “society”? The plural of human beings?
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.
M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine
And if all womankind banded together and took the male path, the world would turn into one huge brothel.
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.
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.
David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four
My father used to say, ‘If you want to know the artist, look at the art’. He was usually talking about Stanley Matthews or Don Bradman when he said it.
Jim Thompson
There are thirty-two ways to write a story, and I’ve used every one, but there is only one plot – things are not as they seem.
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.
Stephen Graham Jones, After the People Lights Have Gone Off
Each moment, the world washes its hands of you, starts all over again. Easy as that. Wonderful as that.
Lauren Sapala, Between the Shadow and Lo
Better than drugs that don’t last and more solid than gold, vaginas allow women to move about unmolested, in a way that men can only dream of.
Joseph Conrad, Chance
Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.
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.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild
I’m a poet, and I like my lies the way my mother used to make them.
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.
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.
Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend
Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas
And my life went to pieces, like a love letter in the rain.
Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon
History had a slow pulse; man counted in years, history in generations
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.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me
We’re all wanting things we don’t understand. things we can’t even name. The yearning so deep, like pinions over our hearts.
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.
Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me
There are things that have to be forgotten if you want to go on living.
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!
Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend
Every one interprets everything in terms of his own experience. If you say anything which does not touch a precisely similar spot in another man’s brain, he either misunderstands you, or doesn’t understand you at all.
Marquis de Sade
Either kill me or take me as I am, because I’ll be damned if I ever change.
Franz Kafka
I am in chains. Don’t touch my chains.
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.
Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies
Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.
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.
Joan Didion
You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.
Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun
This I want to believe implicitly: Man was born for love and revolution.
Paul Auster
You can’t put your feet on the ground until you’ve touched the sky.
Blake Butler, Three Hundred Million
I put the girl’s teeth shaped like my mother’s teeth into my own mouth and on her teeth I chewed until I heard my own teeth in my head breaking and I swallowed and I smiled.
Arthur Koestler
The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild
May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall!
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.
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.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.
Luke Rhinehart
There is something fundamentally wrong with the way we normally live our lives and we’d sort of like to find out what it is.
Marquis de Sade
In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice.
Will Self
Here we meet, on the page, naked and unadorned: shorn of class, race, gender, sexual identity, age and nationality.
Arthur Koestler
Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.
Joan Didion, On Self-Respect
Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself.
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.
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth
Well if being related by internet marriage is family, I suppose we are.
Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels
If you’re not a beautiful monster, then you’re a villager
Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy
…the greatest source of misery in the world, the greatest cause of anguish and hatred and sadness and death, was neither disease nor race nor religion. It was hope.
Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies
When a person is lucky enough to live inside a story, to live inside an imaginary world, the pains of this world disappear. For as long as the story goes on, reality no longer exists.
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.
Will Self, Grey Area
How much more lonely and driven is the serial monogamist than the serial killer?
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.
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.
Paul Neilan
Nobody knows how to just shut the fuck up and look out the window anymore.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas
I am so stupid, so easily fooled. It’s really almost funny. If I could lift a finger I would gladly kill myself.
Megan Abbott, You Will Know Me
Because there’s a hundred ways sex can ruin you but there’s no end to the ways love can.
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.
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.
David Peace, The Damned Utd
You wake up and for those few seconds, minutes, you forget; forget you are injured; forget you are finished.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
Stephen Graham Jones, After the People Lights Have Gone Off
But at some point you have to just decide that if a bear’s going to eat you, a bear’s going to eat you, and then you go about your day.
Franz Kafka
Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.
Franz Kafka
Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.
Marquis de Sade
It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories
If stealing a few saltshakers was wrong I didn’t want to be right.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories
It takes more than one kick in the pants to reverse a lifetime of unplanned apathy.
Niccolò Machiavelli
I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.
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?
A C Weisbecker, Cosmic Banditos
Either the present part of the story slowed down a bit and waited for the past part to catch up, or the past part speeded up and overtook the present part.
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.
Franz Kafka
There is an infinite amount of hope in the universe … but not for us.
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.
Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy
In other words: It seems to me that I will always be happy in the place where I am not. Or, more bluntly: Wherever I am not is the place where I am myself. Or else, taking the bull by the horns: Anywhere out of the world.
Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG
Do you understand why I prefer you to have a toy gun?
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin
I thought at the time that I couldn’t be horrified anymore, or wounded. I suppose that’s a common conceit, that you’ve already been so damaged that damage itself, in its totality, makes you safe.
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.
Arthur Nersesian, Mesopotamia
Stressful jobs, loveless marriages, bad food-most people kill themselves slowly every day.
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth
She only wears black now and she’s umm; well she’s threatening to become a vampire.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me
Love is a kind of killing, Addy,” she says. “Don’t you know that?
Marquis de Sade
Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated.
Franz Kafka
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.
Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands
It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes
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.
Franz Kafka
The meaning of life is that it stops.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas
Which do you prefer, she says. Sex or Violence?I try to smile. What’s the difference, really.
Jim Carroll
You see, you just don’t knowI’m here to give you my heartAnd you want some fashion show
Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim
My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel–it is, before all, to make you see.
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.
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.
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?
Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto
Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time.
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.
Blake Butler
black beyond black
David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four
Uncle Eric holding court, proud the only time he ever left Yorkshire was to kill Germans.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.
A C Weisbecker
If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.
Jim Carroll, The Petting Zoo
Back then, Billy imagined that drops of rain were unanswered prayers falling back to earth.
Arthur Nersesian, Dogrun
I lay in bed and watched moments break into phenomenal particles of panic and could actually see the divine crack of God’s ass as he completely turned his back on me.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
Albert Camus
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
Albert Camus
Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?
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.
Philip K Dick, Martian Time-Slip
I’m not much but I’m all I have.
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.
Dennis Cooper, Closer
Dan thought of love as defined by books, cobwebbed and hidden from view by the past. Too bad a love like that didn’t actually exist. In the twentieth century one had to fake it.
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.
Kurt Vonnegut
Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum.
Ian McEwan
No one knows anything, really. It’s all rented, or borrowed.
George Orwell, 1984
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
Matthew Stokoe, High Life
I slept and the night rolled over into day like a dog. Another post-meridian awakening – sunshine on empty bottles, tangled clothes. I dozed while the temperature rose.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
Jack Kerouac
Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.
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.
George Orwell, 1984
Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.
Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates
Dreams are manifestations of identities.
Albert Camus
Live to the point of tears.
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.
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
Follow me, reader! Who told you that there is no true, faithful, eternal love in this world! May the liar’s vile tongue be cut out! Follow me, my reader, and me alone, and I will show you such a love!
Aldous Huxley
There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.
Richard Bachman, The Long Walk
None of us really has anything to lose. That makes it easier to give away.
Will Self
I’m going to end up like one of those old weirdos who lives in a network of tunnels burrowed through trash – yet I do not fear this.
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.
Georges Bataille, Eroticism: Death and Sensuality
Beauty is desired in order that it may be befouled; not for its own sake, but for the joy brought by the certainty of profaining it.
Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
D H Lawrence
For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.
Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
Ryū Murakami, Coin Locker Babies
They don’t realise that they’ve changed; they think it’s the world that changed.
Albert Camus
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
James Joyce, Ulysses
Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.
Aldous Huxley
The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
How nice — to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.
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.
Knut Hamsun
Love is every bit as violent and dangerous as murder.
J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey
I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.
Allen Ginsberg
Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!
J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey
I’m sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.
D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover
A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.
Allen Ginsberg
Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.
George Orwell
Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York
I had a hunger for things I knew realistically I didn’t actually care for.
Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge
Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.
Nick Cave
I’ve always had an obligation to creation, above all.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.
Kelly Braffet, Save Yourself
Hate can be just as intimate as love.
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
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.
Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York
I don’t like him…he makes me feel like he’s going to throw me in a coffin and walk around on top of 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
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.
Georges Bataille, Violent Silence
I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.
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.
Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack
Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.
Dennis Cooper, Frisk
Human bodies are such garbage bags.
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’.
Knut Hamsun, Hunger
Truth is neither objectivity nor the balanced view; truth is a selfless subjectivity.
Iain Banks
Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot
Martin Amis, London Fields
And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look and feel like shit.
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.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
I’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot.
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.
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.
George Orwell, 1984
We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
And so it goes…
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.
Allen Ginsberg
Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.
Poppy Z Brite
The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.
Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly
I have seen myself backward.
Martin Amis, Other People
When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable
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
In the face of pain there are no heroes.
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.
Will Self
A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.
Richard Bachman, Rage
That was Dad’s life, and I was the birdshit on his windshield.
George Orwell, 1984
Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.
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.
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.
Allen Ginsberg
I really believe, or want to believe, really I am nuts, otherwise I’ll never be sane.
Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano
I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.
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.
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.
George Orwell, 1984
Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.
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.
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.
Richard Bachman, The Long Walk
The longer you went without speaking, the harder it gets to break the silence.
William Golding, Pincher Martin
Worse than madness. Sanity.
Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background
Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.
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.
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.
Nick Cave, And the Ass Saw the Angel
Listen, ah don’t wanna speak ill of the dead but have ah told you that mah mother was a great whopping whale of a cunt? Well she was precisely that – a great whopping whale of a hog’s cunt with a dirty maggot for a brain.
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.
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.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.
R D Ronald
Anyone who says “Trust me” is the last motherfucker you should ever trust.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.
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.
Rupert Thomson, The Insult
You have to do normal things or they don’t go away. You have to reassure them. Or they just stand there staring at you, as if you’re a car-crash, or pornography.
Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son
I knew every raindrop by its name.
Henry Miller
Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate, or despise, serves to defeat us in the end.
Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
Language tethers us to the world; without it we spin like atoms.
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
There’s nothing better than being the bad guy. Long enough to do some good.
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?
William S Burroughs
Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.
J G Ballard, Crash
After being bombarded endlessly by road-safety propaganda it was almost a relief to find myself in an actual accident.
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.
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.
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.
Matthew Stokoe, Cows
The Guernsey’s eyes were deep and brown and Steven knew that the curl of its lips was a small cow smile.
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.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.
Irvine Welsh, Porno
You can’t lie to your soul.
Denis Johnson
English words are like prisms. Empty, nothing inside, and still they make rainbows.
Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
Giving presents is one of the most possessive things we do, did you realize that? It’s the way we keep a hold on other people. Plant ourselves in their lives.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Tampon commercial, detergent commercial, maxi pad commercial, windex commercial – you’d think all women do is clean and bleed.
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.
Chuck Palahniuk, Choke
What I want is to be needed. What I need is to be indispensable to somebody. Who I need is somebody that will eat up all my free time, my ego, my attention. Somebody addicted to me. A mutual addiction.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
I don’t want to die without any scars.
Anaïs Nin
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
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.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
There is no God and we are his prophets.
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.
R D Ronald
Nothing says Christmas better than familicide and anaphylactic shock.
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.
Douglas Coupland
I don’t think anyone ever gets over anything in life; they merely get used to it.
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.
J G Ballard
Fiction is a branch of neurology: the scenarios of nerve and blood vessels are the written mythologies of memory and desire.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
But what I do I do because I like to do.
William S Burroughs
Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
In this job, you learn to ignore the urge to comfort those you’re protecting.
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.
Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity
I felt so heavy with love. I could feel it packed inside my chest.
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.
Anaïs Nin
Ordinary life does not interest me.
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.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.
Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell
She looked the way a rose petal looks when you crush it between finger and thumb.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground
Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness.
Sylvia Plath
Is there no way out of the mind?
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–
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.
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.
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).
Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
The truth is always an insult or a joke, lies are generally tastier. We love them. The nature of lies is to please. Truth has no concern for anyone’s comfort
Anaïs Nin
How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?
Henry Miller
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook
A person’s life story is equal to what they have plus what they want most in the world, minus what they’re actually willing to sacrifice for it.
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.
Vladimir Nabokov
Let all of life be an unfettered howl. Like the crowd greeting the gladiator. Don’t stop to think, don’t interrupt the scream, exhale, release life’s rapture.
J G Ballard, Running Wild
In a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom.
Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction
No one ever likes the right person.
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?
R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree
Sometimes truths are what we run from, and sometimes they are what we seek.
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.
Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria
The time flies. The time flies feed on rotting clocks.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do?
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.
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
That’s one of the drawbacks of good narcotics—they often cause you to say cheerful things.
Henry Miller
What’s a fuck when what I want is love?
Monica Drake, Clown Girl
The only value of wasted time is knowledge.
Hunter S Thomson
Sex without love is as hollow and ridiculous as love without sex.
Bret Easton Ellis
Our lives are not all interconnected. That theory is a crock. Some people truly do not need to be here.
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis
The world is on fire; time is a bomb.Ten thousand years are not enoughWhen so much remains to be done
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.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
I see what is right and approve, but I do what is wrong.
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
Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects
The face you give the world tells the world how to treat you.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
Every grain of experience is food for the greedy growing soul of the artist.
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis
We’re waiting for a glance or a word, some acknowledgement that we are here.
Greg Levin, Sick to Death
We’d be dead. Big deal. Death’s not such a long drop these days. Not for us.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
I have to return some videotapes
Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet
Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony.
Patrick Süskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
He succeeded in being considered totally uninteresting. People left him alone. And that was all he wanted.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.
Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
I have been a believer in the magic of language since, at a very early age, I discovered that some words got me into trouble and others got me out.
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.
Rupert Thomson, Secrecy
Perhaps there comes a time in your life when you lose the ability to command attention, when the world starts to ignore you because it no longer believes you can have much of an effect on it.
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.
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.
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, 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.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
They can’t tell so much about you if you got your eyes closed.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
There’s a difference between really loving someone and loving the idea of her.
Hunter S Thomson
I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.
Charles Bukowski
The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.
Vladimir Nabokov
Our imagination flies — we are its shadow on the earth.
Hunter S Thomson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman
A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.
Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire
We are most artistically caged.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ian McEwan, Atonement
It wasn’t only wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it was confusion and misunderstanding; above all, it was the failure to grasp the simple truth that other people are as real as you.
Richard Bachman, Rage
That was Dad’s life, and I was the birdshit on his windshield.
Kurt Vonnegut
Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
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.
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.
J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey
I’m sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.
Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York
I don’t like him…he makes me feel like he’s going to throw me in a coffin and walk around on top of it.
Albert Camus
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
Martin Amis, House of Meetings
Closure is a greasy little word which, moreover, describes a nonexistent condition. The truth, Venus, is that nobody gets over 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.
Kurt Vonnegut
Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum.
Philip K Dick
If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.
Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
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’.
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.
Philip K Dick
The problem with introspection is that it has no end.
Nick Cave, And the Ass Saw the Angel
Listen, ah don’t wanna speak ill of the dead but have ah told you that mah mother was a great whopping whale of a cunt? Well she was precisely that – a great whopping whale of a hog’s cunt with a dirty maggot for a brain.
Aldous Huxley
You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.
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?
Ryū Murakami, Coin Locker Babies
They don’t realise that they’ve changed; they think it’s the world that changed.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
I’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot.
Philip K Dick, Martian Time-Slip
I’m not much but I’m all I have.
Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background
Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.
George Orwell, 1984
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
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.
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music.
Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack
Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.
Martin Amis, London Fields
And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look and feel like shit.
James Joyce
Your battles inspired me – not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?
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.
James Joyce, Ulysses
Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.
Aldous Huxley
There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.
Iain Banks, Use of Weapons
I just think people overvalue argument because they like to hear themselves talk.
Allen Ginsberg
Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.
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.
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
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
It’s an universal law– intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.
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.
Martin Amis, Other People
When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable
George Orwell, 1984
If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.
Albert Camus
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.
William Golding, Pincher Martin
Worse than madness. Sanity.
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.
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.
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.
Georges Bataille
The need to go astray, to be destroyed, is an extremely private, distant, passionate, turbulent truth.
George Orwell, 1984
If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.
Richard Bachman, The Long Walk
None of us really has anything to lose. That makes it easier to give away.
Ray Bradbury
You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
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.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
How nice — to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.
Knut Hamsun, Hunger
Truth is neither objectivity nor the balanced view; truth is a selfless subjectivity.
James Joyce, Ulysses
History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
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
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
I am always saying “Glad to’ve met you” to somebody I’m not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.
Iain Banks
Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot
George Orwell
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack
Logic is what the devil likes most.
George Orwell, 1984
Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.
Jim Carroll, Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems
I’ll Die For Your Sins If You Live For mine.
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.
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.
Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach
This is how the entire course of a life can be changed: by doing nothing.
James Joyce
Shut your eyes and see.
Nick Cave
I’ve always had an obligation to creation, above all.
George Orwell
Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
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
Will Self
I’m going to end up like one of those old weirdos who lives in a network of tunnels burrowed through trash – yet I do not fear this.
Richard Bachman, Rage
Lunacy is when you can’t see the seams where they stitched the world together anymore.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
The belly is an ungrateful wretch, it never remembers past favors, it always wants more tomorrow.
Kathy Acker
For the poet, the world is word. Words. Not that precisely. Precisely: the world and words fuck each other.
Nick Cave
People think I’m a miserable sod but it’s only because I get asked such bloody miserable questions.
Albert Camus
Live to the point of tears.
Allen Ginsberg
Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.
Will Self
Schadenfreude is so nutritious.
Philip K Dick, VALIS
There exists, for everyone, a sentence – a series of words – that has the power to destroy you. Another sentence exists, another series of words, that could heal you. If you’re lucky you will get the second, but you can be certain of getting the first.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?
Aldous Huxley
The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
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.
Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach
It is shaming sometimes, how the body will not, or cannot, lie about emotions.
George Orwell, 1984
In the face of pain there are no heroes.
George Orwell, 1984
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Mothers are all slightly insane.
George Orwell, 1984
The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.
George Orwell, 1984
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.
Albert Camus
Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?
Knut Hamsun, Hunger
…I will exile my thoughts if they think of you again, and I will rip my lips out if they say your name once more. Now if you do exist, I will tell you my final word in life or in death, I tell you goodbye.
Martin Amis, The Information
He awoke at six, as usual. He needed no alarm clock. He was already comprehensively alarmed.
Richard Bachman, Thinner
The definition of an asshole is a guy who doesn’t believe what he’s seeing.
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.
R D Ronald
Today I plan to smile a lot, only so people who know me will be freaked the fuck out.
Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
As the expression goes, we spend our youth attaining wealth, and our wealth attaining youth.
Hunter S Thomson
I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
A lot of people lacked that gift: knowing when to fuck off.
Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
Eroticize intelligence.
Greg Levin, The Exit Man
Suicide should come with a warning label: ‘Do not try this alone.’
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
This is your life and its ending one moment at a time.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.
Irvine Welsh
I’m not running away, I’m moving on.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.
Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook
…what they show tells you what they want to hide.
Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook
It’s taken me years of practice to learn how to act natural.
Charles Bukowski, Post Office
I wanted the whole world or nothing.
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.
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.
Henry Miller
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
Vladimir Nabokov
Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.
Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
Giving presents is one of the most possessive things we do, did you realize that? It’s the way we keep a hold on other people. Plant ourselves in their lives.
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.
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.
Irvine Welsh
Some people are easier to love when you don’t have to be around them.
Henry Miller, The Books in My Life
A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.
J G Ballard, Crash
After being bombarded endlessly by road-safety propaganda it was almost a relief to find myself in an actual accident.
Anaïs Nin
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
J G Ballard
Fiction is a branch of neurology: the scenarios of nerve and blood vessels are the written mythologies of memory and desire.
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.
Greg Levin, The Exit Man
She had become an integral part of my life—just not the part with all the death.
Denis Johnson, Tree of Smoke
She had nothing in this world but her two hands and her crazy love for Jesus, who seemed, for his part, never to have heard of her.
Charles Bukowski, Barfly
I don’t hate them…I just feel better when they’re not around.
William S Burroughs
A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on. A psychotic is a guy who’s just found out what’s going on.
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.
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.
J G Ballard
Unhappy parents teach you a lesson that lasts a lifetime.
Chuck Palahniuk, Choke
What I want is to be needed. What I need is to be indispensable to somebody. Who I need is somebody that will eat up all my free time, my ego, my attention. Somebody addicted to me. A mutual addiction.
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
When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.
Sylvia Plath
Is there no way out of the mind?
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.
Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son
I knew every raindrop by its name.
Donna Tartt, The Secret History
Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.
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?
Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
They thought to use and shame me but I win out by nature, because a true freak cannot be made. A true freak must be born.
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.
Denis Johnson
English words are like prisms. Empty, nothing inside, and still they make rainbows.
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.
Matthew Stokoe, Cows
The Guernsey’s eyes were deep and brown and Steven knew that the curl of its lips was a small cow smile.
J G Ballard, Running Wild
In a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom.
Douglas Coupland
I don’t think anyone ever gets over anything in life; they merely get used to it.
Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero
Disappear here
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.
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.
Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction
No one ever likes the right person.
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 only value of wasted time is knowledge.
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.
Rupert Thomson, Secrecy
Perhaps there comes a time in your life when you lose the ability to command attention, when the world starts to ignore you because it no longer believes you can have much of an effect on it.
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.
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
I don’t “lol”. I tried it once but it just didn’t agree with me.
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.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
I see what is right and approve, but I do what is wrong.
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.
Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller
What harbor can receive you more securely than a great library?
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground
Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness.
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.
Vladimir Nabokov
Our imagination flies — we are its shadow on the earth.
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.
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.
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.
Sylvia Plath
Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.
R D Ronald, The Zombie Room
Decker smiled and shrugged off their laughter. The humour was only barbed if you sat on the outside, and now he was one of them.
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
I have found God, but he is insufficient.
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.
Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last
You have to die a few times before you can really live.
Monica Drake, The Folly of Loving Life
I thought I was old, back then. I thought I was grown up. I didn’t know all my big mistakes were up ahead of me, still to come. Always.
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.
Hunter S Thomson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman
A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.
Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
The truth is always an insult or a joke, lies are generally tastier. We love them. The nature of lies is to please. Truth has no concern for anyone’s comfort
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
I don’t want to die without any scars.
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–
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
I say I’m fine. I tell him I’ll be back to my old self once we’re getting handcuffed in Phnom Penh.
Bret Easton Ellis
Our lives are not all interconnected. That theory is a crock. Some people truly do not need to be here.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate. Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.
Vladimir Nabokov
Let all of life be an unfettered howl. Like the crowd greeting the gladiator. Don’t stop to think, don’t interrupt the scream, exhale, release life’s rapture.
Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity
I’d rather wear bare skin than raw silk any day.
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.
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.
Charles Bukowski
We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.
Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria
The time flies. The time flies feed on rotting clocks.
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.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.
Hunter S Thomson
Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.
Anaïs Nin
Ordinary life does not interest me.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
I have to return some videotapes
Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief
I don’t deserve a soul, yet I still have one. I know because it hurts.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.
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.

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