Transgressive Fiction

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Franz Kafka

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

David Peace, The Damned Utd

You wake up and for those few seconds, minutes, you forget; forget you are injured; forget you are finished.

Marquis de Sade

In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice.

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

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

Jim Carroll

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

Will Christopher Baer

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

Paul Auster, Invisible

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

Jim Thompson

Life is a bucket of shit with a barbed wire handle.

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.

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.

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

Arthur Nersesian, The Fuck-Up

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

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.

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.

Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG

Do you understand why I prefer you to have a toy gun?

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.

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.

M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine

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

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?

Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man

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

Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human

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

Arthur Koestler

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

Niccolò Machiavelli

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

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.

Franz Kafka

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

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

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

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.

Megan Abbott, Dare Me

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

Marquis de Sade

It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure

David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four

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

Niccolò Machiavelli

Never was anything great achieved without danger.

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.

Chuck Klosterman

People who talk about their dreams are actually trying to tell you things about themselves they’d never admit in normal conversation.

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

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.

Arthur Koestler, Drinkers of Infinity: Essays 1955-1967

Creative activity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Franz Kafka

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.

Will Self

Here we meet, on the page, naked and unadorned: shorn of class, race, gender, sexual identity, age and nationality.

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

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

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.

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.

Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries

they’re fucking up minds they do not own.

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.

Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend

Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.

Franz Kafka

All language is but a poor translation.

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.

Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

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

Arthur Koestler

Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.

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.

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.

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.

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

It takes more than one kick in the pants to reverse a lifetime of unplanned apathy.

Franz Kafka

I am free and that is why I am lost.

Blake Butler

black beyond black

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.

Paul Auster

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

Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun

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

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.

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.

Joseph Conrad, Chance

Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.

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.

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.

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

Disappear, she says. I love that word.

Marquis de Sade

Either kill me or take me as I am, because I’ll be damned if I ever change.

A C Weisbecker

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

Paul Neilan

Nobody knows how to just shut the fuck up and look out the window anymore.

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.

Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me

A weed is a plant out of place.

Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

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

Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon

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

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

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

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.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

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

Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me

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

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

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

Franz Kafka

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

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.

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka, The Trial

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

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.

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!

Franz Kafka

I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.

Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels

If you’re not a beautiful monster, then you’re a villager

Aleister Crowley, Moonchild

I’m a poet, and I like my lies the way my mother used to make them.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

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

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

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

Megan Abbott

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

Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes

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

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.

Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory

Hate is a lack of imagination.

Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human

Whenever I was asked what I wanted my first impulse was to answer “Nothing.” The thought went through my mind that it didn’t make any difference, that nothing was going to make me happy.

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.

Franz Kafka

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.

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.

Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

James Joyce

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

Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates

Dreams are manifestations of identities.

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

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.

George Orwell, 1984

In the face of pain there are no heroes.

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.

Albert Camus

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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!

Knut Hamsun

Love is every bit as violent and dangerous as murder.

Kurt Vonnegut

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

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.

Martin Amis, London Fields

And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look and feel like shit.

George Orwell, 1984

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

Will Self

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

Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory

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

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

And so it goes…

J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey

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

Kurt Vonnegut

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

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.

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.

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’.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Albert Camus

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

William Golding

Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.

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.

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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

Ray Bradbury

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

Knut Hamsun, Hunger

Truth is neither objectivity nor the balanced view; truth is a selfless subjectivity.

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.

Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

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.

Philip K Dick

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

D H Lawrence

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

Albert Camus

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

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.

Allen Ginsberg

I know too much and not enough

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?

D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

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

Ray Bradbury

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

Georges Bataille

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

Poppy Z Brite, Wormwood: A Collection of Short Stories

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

George Orwell

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

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.

Will Self

Schadenfreude is so nutritious.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

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.

Dennis Cooper, Frisk

Human bodies are such garbage bags.

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.

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.

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.

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.

Martin Amis, The Information

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

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.

Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.

Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Kathy Acker, Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia

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

Ryū Murakami

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.

Iain Banks

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

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.

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.

Nick Cave

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

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

Live to the point of tears.

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

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

Richard Bachman, Rage

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

Aldous Huxley

Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.

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

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.

George Orwell

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

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

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

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.

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.

Allen Ginsberg

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

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

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

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

Aldous Huxley

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

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background

Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.

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.

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

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.

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.

Nick Cave

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

George Orwell, 1

Big Brother is Watching You.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

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

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.

J G Ballard, Crash

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

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.

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.

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, 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.

Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son

I knew every raindrop by its name.

Gillian Flynn, Dark Places

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

Greg Levin, Sick to Death

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

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.

Irvine Welsh

I’m not running away, I’m moving on.

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.

Charles Bukowski, Factotum

My ambition is handicapped by laziness

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

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.

Sylvia Plath

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

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.

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

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last

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

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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

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.

Anaïs Nin

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

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

Unhappy parents teach you a lesson that lasts a lifetime.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

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

Italo Calvino, 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.

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.

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

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

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.

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.

William S Burroughs

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

Anaïs Nin

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

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Diary

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

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.

Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero

Disappear here

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.

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

The only value of wasted time is knowledge.

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.

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

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.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

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

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

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.

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

When life sucks, throw yourself into art.

Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

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

Charles Bukowski, Barfly

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

Douglas Coupland, Life After God

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

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

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.

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.

Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria

The time flies. The time flies feed on rotting clocks.

Sylvia Plath

Is there no way out of the mind?

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.

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

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

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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

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.

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.

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.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

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

Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects

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

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.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

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

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

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

Anaïs Nin

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

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

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.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

The world is on fire; time is a bomb.Ten thousand years are not enoughWhen so much remains to be done

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

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

William S Burroughs

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

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.

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.

Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger

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

Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief

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

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, 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.

Hunter S Thomson

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

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

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

Henry Miller, The Books in My Life

A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.

Donna Tartt, The Secret History

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

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.

Greg Levin, The Exit Man

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

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.

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

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

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?

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

Eroticize intelligence.

R D Ronald

Nothing says Christmas better than familicide and anaphylactic shock.

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.

Nick Cave

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

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.

D H Lawrence

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

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, Animal Farm

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

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

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

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.

Georges Bataille

In what will survive meI am in harmonywith my annihilation.

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.

Poppy Z Brite

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

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.

Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

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

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

Ray Bradbury

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

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.

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, 1

Big Brother is Watching You.

Ian McEwan

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

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.

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

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.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Mothers are all slightly insane.

William Golding

Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.

Philip K Dick, VALIS

It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.

Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

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

Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.

Poppy Z Brite

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

Albert Camus

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

Martin Amis, London Fields

And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look and feel like shit.

Iain Banks

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

Kathy Acker

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

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.

Allen Ginsberg

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

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.

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.

Kathy Acker

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

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

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

James Joyce

Shut your eyes and see.

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.

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.

George Orwell

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

Dennis Cooper, Frisk

Human bodies are such garbage bags.

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.

Jim Carroll

Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.

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, Franny and Zooey

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

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’.

Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in High School

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

Kurt Vonnegut

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

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

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.

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.

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.

Iain Banks

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

Georges Bataille, Violent Silence

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

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

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

Ian McEwan, Atonement

She lay in the dark and knew everything.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

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

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.

William Golding, Pincher Martin

Worse than madness. Sanity.

Kelly Braffet, Save Yourself

Hate can be just as intimate as love.

George Orwell, 1984

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

Albert Camus

Live to the point of tears.

George Orwell

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

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.

Kathy Acker, Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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

Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background

Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.

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, Coin Locker Babies

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

Knut Hamsun, Hunger

Truth is neither objectivity nor the balanced view; truth is a selfless subjectivity.

Kurt Vonnegut

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

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

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!

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.

Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates

Dreams are manifestations of identities.

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.

Albert Camus

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

Albert Camus

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

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.

D H Lawrence

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

Ian McEwan, Saturday

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

Philip K Dick

The problem with introspection is that it has no end.

Georges Bataille

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

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.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger

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

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Diary

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

Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

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

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).

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

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

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.

Anaïs Nin

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

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

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.

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.

Gillian Flynn, Dark Places

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

Penelope Lively, 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

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

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.

Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

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

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

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

R D Ronald

Nothing says Christmas better than familicide and anaphylactic shock.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

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.

Edit | Delete J G Ballard, The Day of Creation

Sooner or later, everything turns into television.

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.

J G Ballard, Crash

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

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.

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.

Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream

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

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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, Sharp Objects

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

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.

Greg Levin, Sick to Death

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

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.

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

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

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.

Douglas Coupland, Life After God

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

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.

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.

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.

Rupert Thomson, The Insult

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

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

I have to return some videotapes

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.

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.

Vladimir Nabokov

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

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

I don’t want to die without any scars.

Denis Johnson

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

Irvine Welsh, Porno

You can’t lie to your soul.

Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son

I knew every raindrop by its name.

Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet

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

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

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.

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.

Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria

The time flies. The time flies feed on rotting clocks.

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.

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.

Greg Levin, Sick to Death

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

Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last

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

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.

Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire

We are most artistically caged.

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

The only value of wasted time is knowledge.

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

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.

William S Burroughs

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

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.

Donna Tartt, The Secret History

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

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Italo Calvino

Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness.

Anthony Burgess, Homage To QwertYuiop: Essays

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

Bret Easton Ellis

Our lives are not all interconnected. That theory is a crock. Some people truly do not need to be here.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

There is no God and we are his prophets.

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.

William S Burroughs

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

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.

Vladimir Nabokov

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

Henry Miller

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

Henry Miller, The Books in My Life

A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

Patrick Süskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Not a visible enthusiasm but a hidden one, an excitement burning with a cold flame.

Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction

No one ever likes the right person.

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.

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

Eroticize intelligence.

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.

Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

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

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?

Anaïs Nin

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

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

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

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.

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