Transgressive Fiction

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Marquis de Sade

It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure

Arthur Koestler

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

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.

Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man

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

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.

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.

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.

Jim Thompson

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

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

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.

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.

Marquis de Sade

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

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.

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.

Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

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

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

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

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.

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.

Joan Didion

You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.

Franz Kafka

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

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.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Chuck Klosterman

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

Joan Didion, On Self-Respect

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

Arthur Nersesian, Manhattan Loverboy

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

Paul Auster

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

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.

Blake Butler, There Is No Year

Email servers learned to laugh.

Will Christopher Baer

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

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

We live as we dream–alone….

David Peace, The Damned Utd

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

Franz Kafka

Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

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

Graham Greene

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

Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands

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

Megan Abbott, Dare Me

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

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

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

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.

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.

A C Weisbecker

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

Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy

In other words: It seems to me that I will always be happy in the place where I am not. Or, more bluntly: Wherever I am not is the place where I am myself. Or else, taking the bull by the horns: Anywhere out of the world.

Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG

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

Marquis de Sade

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

Megan Abbott, Dare Me

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

David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four

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

Paul Neilan

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

Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

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

Arthur Koestler

Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.

Niccolò Machiavelli

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

Aleister Crowley, Moonchild

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

Franz Kafka

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

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.

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.

Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies

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

Marquis de Sade

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

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.

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

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.

Paul Auster, Oracle Night

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

Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes

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

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.

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.

Jim Thompson

There are thirty-two ways to write a story, and I’ve used every one, but there is only one plot – things are not as they seem.

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

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.

Arthur Nersesian, Mesopotamia

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

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.

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.

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!

Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy

Roads are no place for naive chickens dreaming of nirvana.

Franz Kafka

The meaning of life is that it stops.

Megan Abbott, You Will Know Me

Because there’s a hundred ways sex can ruin you but there’s no end to the ways love can.

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

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

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

Disappear, she says. I love that word.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth

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

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

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

Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries

they’re fucking up minds they do not own.

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.

Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me

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

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.

Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me

A weed is a plant out of place.

Stephen Graham Jones, The Least of My Scars

Don’t let anybody ever tell you life’s fair. Not as long as I’m in it.

Aleister Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography

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

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.

Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun

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

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.

Allen Ginsberg

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

James Joyce

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

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.

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.

Philip K Dick, VALIS

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

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.

Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York

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

Kathy Acker

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

Iain Banks, Use of Weapons

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

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

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

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

Kurt Vonnegut

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

Knut Hamsun

Love is every bit as violent and dangerous as murder.

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.

Richard Bachman, Rage

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

William Golding, Pincher Martin

Worse than madness. Sanity.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Philip K Dick

The problem with introspection is that it has no end.

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.

William Golding

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

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

It’s an universal law– intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

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

Aldous Huxley

Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.

Kathy Acker

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

Dennis Cooper, Frisk

Human bodies are such garbage bags.

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.

George Orwell, Animal Farm

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

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

George Orwell, 1984

Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.

George Orwell, 1984

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Mothers are all slightly insane.

Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background

Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.

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.

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.

George Orwell, 1984

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?

Martin Amis, Other People

When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable

Albert Camus

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

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

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

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.

Dennis Cooper, The Marbled Swarm

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

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

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.

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.

Ryū Murakami

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

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

Allen Ginsberg

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

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.

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!

James Joyce, Ulysses

Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

And so it goes…

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

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

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.

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.

Albert Camus

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

George Orwell

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

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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

Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

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

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.

Alissa Nutting, Tampa

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

Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

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

Nick Cave

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

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.

William Golding

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

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.

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Logic is what the devil likes most.

Georges Bataille

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

George Orwell

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano

I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.

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.

Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly

I have seen myself backward.

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.

Ryū Murakami, In the Miso Soup

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

George Orwell

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

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.

Jack Kerouac

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

George Orwell, 1984

In the face of pain there are no heroes.

James Joyce

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

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.

Allen Ginsberg

I know too much and not enough

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.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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

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.

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.

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

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

Vladimir Nabokov

Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Greg Levin, Sick to Death

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

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

There is no God and we are his prophets.

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.

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

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.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

Anaïs Nin

Ordinary life does not interest me.

Henry Miller

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

Anaïs Nin

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

Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria

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

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.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

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.

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction

No one ever likes the right person.

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?

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

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

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.

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.

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.

R D Ronald

Nothing says Christmas better than familicide and anaphylactic shock.

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, In Wolves Clothing

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

Vladimir Nabokov

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

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.

Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet

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

Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

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.

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

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

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

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

Hunter S Thomson

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

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

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

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

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

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.

Anthony Burgess

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

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.

Hunter S Thomson

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

enis Johnson, Jesus’ Son

There was a part of her she hadn’t yet allowed to be born because it was too beautiful for this place

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.

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.

Anaïs Nin

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.

Irvine Welsh

I’m not running away, I’m moving on.

Donna Tartt, The Secret History

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

Charles Bukowski

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

R D Ronald

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

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.

Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger

Giving presents is one of the most possessive things we do, did you realize that? It’s the way we keep a hold on other people. Plant ourselves in their lives.

Greg Levin, The Exit Man

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

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

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.

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, Post Office

I wanted the whole world or nothing.

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 Bell Jar

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

Penelope Lively, How it all Began

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

Charles Bukowski

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Diary

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

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

Vladimir Nabokov

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

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.

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, 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.

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–

Bret Easton Ellis

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

Charles Bukowski, Barfly

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

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

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

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.

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.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

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

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.

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

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

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

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

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.

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

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

Ian McEwan

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

Aldous Huxley

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

Albert Camus

Live to the point of tears.

Georges Bataille, Violent Silence

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

Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

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

Kelly Braffet, Save Yourself

Hate can be just as intimate as love.

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.

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.

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.

Albert Camus

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

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.

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

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

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.

George Orwell, 1984

Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Logic is what the devil likes most.

Richard Bachman, Rage

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

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

Richard Bachman, Rage

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

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.

James Joyce

Shut your eyes and see.

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.

George Orwell

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

Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point

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

Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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

William Golding

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

Aldous Huxley

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

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.

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.

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.

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.

William Golding

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

George Orwell

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

D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

Kurt Vonnegut

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

Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.

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.

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.

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.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

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.

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.

Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York

I don’t like him…he makes me feel like he’s going to throw me in a coffin and walk around on top of it.

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.

Ian McEwan, Atonement

She lay in the dark and knew everything.

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.

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.

George Orwell

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

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.

Philip K Dick

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

Martin Amis, Other People

When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable

Iain Banks, Use of Weapons

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

Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates

Dreams are manifestations of identities.

Jim Carroll

Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.

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.

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.

Poppy Z Brite

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

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

Philip K Dick, VALIS

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

George Orwell, 1984

In the face of pain there are no heroes.

Knut Hamsun, Hunger

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

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.

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

Martin Amis, The Information

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

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.

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.

Alissa Nutting, Tampa

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

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.

George Orwell

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

Poppy Z Brite

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

Richard Bachman, Thinner

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

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.

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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

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

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

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

Jack Kerouac

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York

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

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.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly

I have seen myself backward.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Allen Ginsberg

I know too much and not enough

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.

Nick Cave

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

Kurt Vonnegut

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

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

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

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

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.

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.

Charles Bukowski, Barfly

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

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.

Anaïs Nin

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

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, Secrecy

Perhaps there comes a time in your life when you lose the ability to command attention, when the world starts to ignore you because it no longer believes you can have much of an effect on it.

Greg Levin, 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.

Edit | Delete J G Ballard, The Day of Creation

Sooner or later, everything turns into television.

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

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

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

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

Charles Bukowski

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

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.

Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

William S Burroughs

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

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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

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.

Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects

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

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.

Sylvia Plath

Is there no way out of the mind?

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

The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

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

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.

Kola Boof, The Sexy Part of the Bible

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

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

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

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.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

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

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.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

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

William S Burroughs

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

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.

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.

Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last

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

Henry Miller

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

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.

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

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

William S Burroughs

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

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.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

Anaïs Nin

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

R D Ronald

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

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.

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.

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.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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

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.

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.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

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

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

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.

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

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

Irvine Welsh

I’m not running away, I’m moving on.

Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook

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

Hunter S Thomson

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

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

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

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

When life sucks, throw yourself into art.

Donna Tartt, The Secret History

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

Anaïs Nin

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

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

Henry Miller

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

Vladimir Nabokov

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

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.

Anthony Burgess, Homage To QwertYuiop: Essays

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

Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son

I knew every raindrop by its name.

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.

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

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

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.

Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero

Disappear here

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

Henry Miller, The Books in My Life

A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.

R D Ronald

Nothing says Christmas better than familicide and anaphylactic shock.

R D Ronald

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

Bret Easton Ellis

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

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

Hubert Selby Jr

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

R D Ronald

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

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.

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.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

There is no God and we are his prophets.

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.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria

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

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