Transgressive Fiction

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Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

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

Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands

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

Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy

Roads are no place for naive chickens dreaming of nirvana.

Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend

Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

Disappear, she says. I love that word.

Niccolò Machiavelli

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

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

We live as we dream–alone….

Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human

The weak fear happiness itself. They can harm themselves on cotton wool. Sometimes they are wounded even by happiness

Will Christopher Baer, Penny Dreadful

A friend is like anything else. A dog, a plant. You ignore them and they tend to die on you.

Franz Kafka, The Trial

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

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.

Franz Kafka

I am free and that is why I am lost.

Blake Butler

black beyond black

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

From what I’d witnessed, honesty didn’t really make anyone happy. The truth was a punch to the gut, and while you were falling, a knee to the face, then you could lie on the floor and bleed for a spell.

Paul Auster

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

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.

M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine

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

Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth

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

Marquis de Sade

It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure

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.

Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human

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

Joan Didion, On Self-Respect

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

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

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

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.

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.

Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man

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

Megan Abbott, Dare Me

If it hadn’t been what it was, it would’ve been beautiful.

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.

Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy

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

Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory

Hate is a lack of imagination.

Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Children live in the same world we do. To kid ourselves that we can shelter them from it isn’t just naive it’s a vanity.

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.

Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.

Arthur Koestler

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

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.

Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man

It’s the way a man chooses to limit himself that determines his character. A man without habits, consistency, redundancy – and hence boredom – is not human. He’s insane.

Arthur Nersesian, Dogrun

Nowadays the standards had plummeted so far that I failed even at being a failure. I silently packed up. Nothing else was left. They had even robbed me of self-pity

Will Christopher Baer

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

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

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

Marquis de Sade

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

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.

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.

Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto

Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less.

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.

Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me

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

Arthur Koestler

Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.

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.

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.

Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man

Give up all hope, all illusion, all desire..I’ve tried. I’ve tried and still I desire, I still desire not to desire and hope to be without hope and have the illusion I can be without illusions..Give up, I say. Give up everything, including the desire to be saved.

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.

Blake Butler, There Is No Year

Email servers learned to laugh.

Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto

Life is rarely about what happened; it’s mostly about what we think happened.

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.

Franz Kafka

I am a cage, in search of a bird.

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.

Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth

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

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.

Graham Greene, Ways of Escape

Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.

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

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.

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.

Megan Abbott

When you have nothing inside you, you feel everything more, and feel you can control it all.

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

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

Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me

I kissed her, a long hard kiss. Because baby didn’t know it, but baby was dead, and in a way I couldn’t have loved her more.

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.

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

The meaning of life is that it stops.

Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto

Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time.

Franz Kafka

There is an infinite amount of hope in the universe … but not for us.

Jim Carroll, The Petting Zoo

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

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

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

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.

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

All language is but a poor translation.

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.

M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine

I was terrified as only grown men and women can be when they wake in the middle of the night and begin to realize, in the absolute silence and solitude all around them, that it is not only their dream that has woken them, that it is their whole way of life.

Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

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

Blake Butler, Scorch Atlas

Overhead the sky was melting, the cracked cream color rubbing off in cogs of brine.The fields far ahead of me in endless pudding, studded here and there with what had been: homes and houses, hair and heirlooms, habits, hallways, hauntings, hope.

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.

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.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.

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.

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.

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.

Graham Greene, The Ministry of Fear

But it is impossible to go through life without trust; that is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.

Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun

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

Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth

She only wears black now and she’s umm; well she’s threatening to become a vampire.

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.

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.

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.

Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

It’s far less important to me to be liked these days than to be understood.

Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

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

Franz Kafka

Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.

Albert Camus

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

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.

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.

J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey

I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.

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.

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.

Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly

I have seen myself backward.

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Logic is what the devil likes most.

George Orwell, 1984

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

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.

Richard Bachman, Rage

That was Dad’s life, and I was the birdshit on his windshield.

Albert Camus

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

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.

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.

Ray Bradbury

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

Kurt Vonnegut

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

George Orwell, 1984

In the face of pain there are no heroes.

Poppy Z Brite

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

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.

J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey

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

Iain Banks, Use of Weapons

I just think people overvalue argument because they like to hear themselves talk.

Jack Kerouac

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Albert Camus

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

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.

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

Georges Bataille

I don’t want your love unless you know i am repulsive, and love me even as you know 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

Allen Ginsberg

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

Kurt Vonnegut

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

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.

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, Atonement

She lay in the dark and knew everything.

Philip K Dick, Martian Time-Slip

I’m not much but I’m all I have.

George Orwell, 1984

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

George Orwell

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

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.

Albert Camus

Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?

Georges Bataille

In what will survive meI am in harmonywith my annihilation.

Kathy Acker

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

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.

Kelly Braffet, Save Yourself

Hate can be just as intimate as love.

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

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

Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

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.

Allen Ginsberg

I really believe, or want to believe, really I am nuts, otherwise I’ll never be sane.

Philip K Dick

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

George Orwell, 1984

If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.

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.

Aldous Huxley

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

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

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

Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

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

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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

Poppy Z Brite

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

William Golding, Pincher Martin

Worse than madness. Sanity.

Ryū Murakami, Coin Locker Babies

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

Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays

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

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

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

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.

Jim Carroll

Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.

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.

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.

Jack Kerouac

I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.

Aldous Huxley

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

Allen Ginsberg

I know too much and not enough

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.

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

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

Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in High School

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

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.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Richard Bachman, Thinner

The definition of an asshole is a guy who doesn’t believe what he’s seeing.

Kurt Vonnegut

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

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.

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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

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.

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.

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

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

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

And so it goes…

Martin Amis, The Information

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

Aldous Huxley

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

Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background

Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.

Kathy Acker

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

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.

Will Self

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

I have found God, but he is insufficient.

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.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

Anthony Burgess

Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.

J G Ballard, Running Wild

In a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom.

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.

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.

Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook

It’s taken me years of practice to learn how to act natural.

Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last

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

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, 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.

William S Burroughs

Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects

The face you give the world tells the world how to treat you.

Vladimir Nabokov

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Every grain of experience is food for the greedy growing soul of the artist.

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

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

Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream

Eventually we all have to accept full and total responsibility for our actions, everything we have done, and have not done.

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.

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.

Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

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

R D Ronald

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

R D Ronald

Anyone who says “Trust me” is the last motherfucker you should ever trust.

Sylvia Plath

Is there no way out of the mind?

J G Ballard, Crash

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.

Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief

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

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

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

Anaïs Nin

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

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.

Charles Bukowski, Barfly

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

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.

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.

Anaïs Nin

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

Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son

I knew every raindrop by its name.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

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

Denis Johnson

English words are like prisms. Empty, nothing inside, and still they make rainbows.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

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.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn’t believe in that. Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them. It didn’t even know they were there.

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

I have to return some videotapes

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

I don’t want to die without any scars.

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

Tampon commercial, detergent commercial, maxi pad commercial, windex commercial – you’d think all women do is clean and bleed.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

Eroticize intelligence.

Anaïs Nin

Ordinary life does not interest me.

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

Scott glanced at his watch but didn’t register what it said. The notion of time had become as absurd as the quietly glowing trees.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Vladimir Nabokov

Our imagination flies — we are its shadow on the earth.

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.

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

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

Charles Bukowski, Factotum

My ambition is handicapped by laziness

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

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

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).

Donna Tartt, The Secret History

Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.

Sylvia Plath

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

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.

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, 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.

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

I see what is right and approve, but I do what is wrong.

Greg Levin, The Exit Man

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

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.

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.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Anaïs Nin

I am only responsible for my own heart, you offered yours up for the smashing my darling. Only a fool would give out such a vital organ

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.

Donna Tartt, The Secret History

Does such a thing as ‘the fatal flaw,’ that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn’t. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs.

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

Stay away from the ones you love too much. Those are the ones who will kill you.

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.

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.

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.

Vladimir Nabokov

Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.

Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger

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

William S Burroughs

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

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, In Wolves Clothing

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

Henry Miller

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

Charles Bukowski

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

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.

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.

Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook

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

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

It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.

Hunter S Thomson

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

Ian McEwan

No one knows anything, really. It’s all rented, or borrowed.

James Joyce, Ulysses

A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.

Richard Bachman, Rage

That was Dad’s life, and I was the birdshit on his windshield.

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.

Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.

Richard Bachman, Rage

Lunacy is when you can’t see the seams where they stitched the world together anymore.

D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

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

Iain Banks, Use of Weapons

I just think people overvalue argument because they like to hear themselves talk.

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.

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.

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.

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

Dennis Cooper, The Marbled Swarm

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

George Orwell, 1984

In the face of pain there are no heroes.

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

George Orwell, 1984

If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Georges Bataille, Violent Silence

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Nick Cave

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

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.

Albert Camus

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

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.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Nick Cave

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

Allen Ginsberg

Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.

George Orwell

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

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.

Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory

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

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.

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

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

George Orwell, Animal Farm

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

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

Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.

Allen Ginsberg

I know too much and not enough

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.

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.

Kathy Acker

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

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, 1984

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

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.

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

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

Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates

Dreams are manifestations of identities.

Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

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

Dennis Cooper, Closer

I’m a talentless but popular young singer and I have the feeling someone is watching me. I use the term loosely because I have few feelings, and even they’re too simple, like primary colors.

Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?

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.

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.

Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays

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

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

And so it goes…

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

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

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.

James Joyce

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

William Golding, Pincher Martin

Worse than madness. Sanity.

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.

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.

Jim Carroll

Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.

D H Lawrence

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

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.

Will Self

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

Kurt Vonnegut

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

Philip K Dick, Martian Time-Slip

I’m not much but I’m all I have.

Allen Ginsberg

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

Kurt Vonnegut

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

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

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Aldous Huxley

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

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.

Kelly Braffet, Last Seen Leaving

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

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.

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.

Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background

Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.

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.

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

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

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.

J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey

I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.

Allen Ginsberg

I really believe, or want to believe, really I am nuts, otherwise I’ll never be sane.

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.

Poppy Z Brite

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

Jim Carroll, Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems

I’ll Die For Your Sins If You Live For mine.

Ian McEwan, Atonement

She lay in the dark and knew everything.

Iain Banks

It’s a library, only the stupid or the evil are afraid of those

Ray Bradbury

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

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.

George Orwell

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

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.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Mothers are all slightly insane.

Martin Amis, Other People

When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable

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.

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.

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!

Dennis Cooper, Frisk

Human bodies are such garbage bags.

George Orwell, 1984

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

Ryū Murakami, Coin Locker Babies

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

Will Self

Schadenfreude is so nutritious.

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Logic is what the devil likes most.

.

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.

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

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

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.

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.

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.

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, Pale Fire

We are most artistically caged.

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.

R D Ronald

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

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

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.

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.

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.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

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

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

I see what is right and approve, but I do what is wrong.

William S Burroughs

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

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

Scott glanced at his watch but didn’t register what it said. The notion of time had become as absurd as the quietly glowing trees.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

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).

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, 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.

Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.

Edit | Delete J G Ballard, The Day of Creation

Sooner or later, everything turns into television.

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.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

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

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.

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

Eroticize intelligence.

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.

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.

Anthony Burgess, Homage To QwertYuiop: Essays

To be left alone is the most precious thing one can ask of the modern world.

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.

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

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.

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.

Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria

Everything in the universe is everything else. A man is a killer is a saint is a monkey is a cockroach is a goldfish is a whale, and the Devil is just the angel who asked for More.

Henry Miller

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

Sylvia Plath

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

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.

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.

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.

Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook

It’s taken me years of practice to learn how to act natural.

Chuck Palahniuk, Diary

We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.

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?

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.

Greg Levin, Sick to Death

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

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.

Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son

I knew every raindrop by its name.

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, Shampoo Planet

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

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Charles Bukowski, Post Office

I wanted the whole world or nothing.

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.

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.

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

What harbor can receive you more securely than a great library?

Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

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

Henry Miller

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

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.

Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief

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

R D Ronald

Anyone who says “Trust me” is the last motherfucker you should ever trust.

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.

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, Requiem for a Dream

Eventually we all have to accept full and total responsibility for our actions, everything we have done, and have not done.

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.

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.

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.

Anaïs Nin

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

Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects

The face you give the world tells the world how to treat you.

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.

Charles Bukowski

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

J G Ballard, Crash

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Vladimir Nabokov

Our imagination flies — we are its shadow on the earth.

Violet Levoit, I Miss The World

Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” “9/11.” “I shouldn’t even.” “No, come on.” “9/11 who?” “You swore you’d never forget.

Hunter S Thomson

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

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

There is no God and we are his prophets.

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.

Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger

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

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.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

William S Burroughs

I don’t care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do. The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it.

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

I have to return some videotapes

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?

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.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Every grain of experience is food for the greedy growing soul of the artist.

R D Ronald

Nothing says Christmas better than familicide and anaphylactic shock.

Anaïs Nin

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

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.

Denis Johnson, Already Dead

I make the road. I draw the map. Nothing just happens to me…I’m the one happening.

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.

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