Transgressive Fiction

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Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me

A weed is a plant out of place.

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.

Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory

Hate is a lack of imagination.

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

Disappear, she says. I love that word.

Will Self, Grey Area

How much more lonely and driven is the serial monogamist than the serial killer?

Thomas Pluck, Dark City Lights

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

M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine

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.

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 Neilan

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

Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands

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

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.

Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man

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

Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG

She was like a redneck Yoko Ono.

Arthur Nersesian, The Fuck-Up

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

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, 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.

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.

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.

Joseph Conrad, Chance

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

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

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

David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four

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

Joan Didion

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

Paul Auster

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

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.

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

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

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.

Franz Kafka

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

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

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

Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun

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

Stephen Graham Jones, After the People Lights Have Gone Off

Each moment, the world washes its hands of you, starts all over again. Easy as that. Wonderful as that.

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

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

Chuck Klosterman

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

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.

Franz Kafka

I am a cage, in search of a bird.

Marquis de Sade

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

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.

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.

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.

Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG

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

M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine

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

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.

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.

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.

Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

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

Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me

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

Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth

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

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.

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.

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.

Arthur Nersesian, Dogrun

I lay in bed and watched moments break into phenomenal particles of panic and could actually see the divine crack of God’s ass as he completely turned his back on me.

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

David Peace, The Damned Utd

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

Megan Abbott, The Fever

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

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.

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

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.

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?

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!

Franz Kafka

I am free and that is why I am lost.

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.

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.

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.

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

We live as we dream–alone….

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.

Franz Kafka

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

Marquis de Sade

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

Arthur Nersesian, Mesopotamia

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

Joan Didion, Where I Was From

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

Megan Abbott, Dare Me

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

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.

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.

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.

Franz Kafka

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

Joan Didion, On Self-Respect

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

Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth

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

Jim Carroll, The Petting Zoo

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

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

It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure

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.

Franz Kafka, The Trial

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

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.

Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

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

Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy

Roads are no place for naive chickens dreaming of nirvana.

Megan Abbott, Dare Me

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

Blake Butler, There Is No Year

Email servers learned to laugh.

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.

Megan Abbott, Dare Me

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

Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth

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

Arthur Koestler

Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.

Megan Abbott

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

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.

Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon

The principle that the end justifies the means is and remains the only rule of political ethics; anything else is just a vague chatter and melts away between one’s fingers.

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

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

Arthur Koestler

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

Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend

Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.

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.

Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes

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

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

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

Dennis Cooper, The Marbled Swarm

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

Philip K Dick, Martian Time-Slip

I’m not much but I’m all I have.

Ian McEwan, Atonement

She lay in the dark and knew everything.

William Golding, Pincher Martin

Worse than madness. Sanity.

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.

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.

Allen Ginsberg

I know too much and not enough

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.

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.

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

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.

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.

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.

George Orwell

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

James Joyce

Shut your eyes and see.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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

Martin Amis, Other People

When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable

Jim Carroll

Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

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.

J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey

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

Will Self

Schadenfreude is so nutritious.

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.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Iain Banks

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

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.

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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!

Albert Camus

Live to the point of tears.

Kathy Acker

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

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, Mother Night

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

George Orwell

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

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.

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.

Albert Camus

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

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

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

Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Mothers are all slightly insane.

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.

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.

Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

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

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.

Kurt Vonnegut

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

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Kelly Braffet, Save Yourself

Hate can be just as intimate as love.

Albert Camus

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

Aldous Huxley

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

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.

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.

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.

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

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

Martin Amis, London Fields

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

D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

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

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’.

Richard Bachman, Rage

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

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

Albert Camus

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

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.

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.

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.

Richard Bachman, Thinner

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

Nick Cave

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

George Orwell, 1984

Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.

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.

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

And so it goes…

George Orwell

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

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.

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.

Jack Kerouac

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

D H Lawrence

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background

Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.

Ian McEwan

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

Georges Bataille

The need to go astray, to be destroyed, is an extremely private, distant, passionate, turbulent truth.

James Joyce

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

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.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

Kathy Acker

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

George Orwell, 1

Big Brother is Watching You.

Ray Bradbury

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

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.

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.

Kurt Vonnegut

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

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero

Disappear here

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

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

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.

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.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

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

Rupert Thomson, The 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.

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.

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

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.

Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire

We are most artistically caged.

Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet

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

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

When life sucks, throw yourself into art.

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.

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.

Katherine Dunn, Geek Love

I have been a believer in the magic of language since, at a very early age, I discovered that some words got me into trouble and others got me out.

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.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria

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

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Sylvia Plath

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

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Bret Easton Ellis

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

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.

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.

William S Burroughs

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Diary

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

Anaïs Nin

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

R D Ronald

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

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

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

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

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

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.

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.

Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last

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

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.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

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–

Charles Bukowski, Factotum

My ambition is handicapped by laziness

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

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

Rupert Thomson, Dreams of Leaving

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

Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

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

J G Ballard

Unhappy parents teach you a lesson that lasts a lifetime.

Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook

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

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

J G Ballard

Fiction is a branch of neurology: the scenarios of nerve and blood vessels are the written mythologies of memory and desire.

Anthony Burgess

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

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.

Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief

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

Hunter S Thomson

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

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

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

R D Ronald

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

Charles Bukowski

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

R D Ronald

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

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

Denis Johnson

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

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.

Hunter S Thomson

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

Irvine Welsh

I’m not running away, I’m moving on.

Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

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

Irvine Welsh

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

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.

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.

Greg Levin, The Exit Man

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

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

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.

Douglas Coupland

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

Henry Miller

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

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

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

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.

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.

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

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

Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son

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

R D Ronald

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

Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

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.

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

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

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

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.

Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger

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

J G Ballard, Crash

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

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.

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.

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.

William S Burroughs

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

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

The only value of wasted time is knowledge.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

Hunter S Thomson

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

I don’t want to die without any scars.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

James Joyce

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

Jack Kerouac

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

George Orwell, 1984

Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.

Richard Bachman, Rage

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

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.

Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

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

Jim Carroll

Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.

Knut Hamsun

Love is every bit as violent and dangerous as murder.

D H Lawrence

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Albert Camus

Live to the point of tears.

James Joyce

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

George Orwell, Animal Farm

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

Ian McEwan, Atonement

It wasn’t only wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it was confusion and misunderstanding; above all, it was the failure to grasp the simple truth that other people are as real as you.

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

Kathy Acker

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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

Aldous Huxley

Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.

George Orwell, 1984

In the face of pain there are no heroes.

George Orwell, 1984

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

Ian McEwan, Saturday

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

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.

Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates

Dreams are manifestations of identities.

Allen Ginsberg

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

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.

George Orwell, 1984

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

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

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.

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.

William Golding

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

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

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

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.

Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in High School

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

Nick Cave

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

James Joyce

Shut your eyes and see.

Iain Banks

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

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

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

Albert Camus

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

Dennis Cooper, Frisk

Human bodies are such garbage bags.

Kurt Vonnegut

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

Ray Bradbury

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

Kathy Acker

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

Georges Bataille

In what will survive meI am in harmonywith my annihilation.

Will Self

Schadenfreude is so nutritious.

Jim Carroll, Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Poppy Z Brite, Wormwood: A Collection of Short Stories

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

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

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.

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.

William Golding, Pincher Martin

Worse than madness. Sanity.

Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory

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

Richard Bachman, Thinner

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

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

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.

Ray Bradbury

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

Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

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.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

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!

Iain Banks

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

Richard Bachman, Rage

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

Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays

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

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.

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’.

George Orwell

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

Kelly Braffet, Last Seen Leaving

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

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, VALIS

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

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.

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

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

Will Self

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

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

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.

Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

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

Iain Banks, Use of Weapons

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

George Orwell

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

Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York

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

Philip K Dick, Martian Time-Slip

I’m not much but I’m all I have.

Martin Amis, The Information

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

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?

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.

Poppy Z Brite

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

Nick Cave

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

Georges Bataille, Violent Silence

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

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Mothers are all slightly insane.

Dennis Cooper, The Marbled Swarm

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

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.

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.

.

Anaïs Nin

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

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.

J G Ballard

Fiction is a branch of neurology: the scenarios of nerve and blood vessels are the written mythologies of memory and desire.

Charles Bukowski, Barfly

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

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

When life sucks, throw yourself into art.

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.

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.

Denis Johnson

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

Charles Bukowski

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

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

I have to return some videotapes

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.

Irvine Welsh

I’m not running away, I’m moving on.

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.

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.

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.

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, A Clockwork Orange

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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

Sylvia Plath

Is there no way out of the mind?

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, 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.

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

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.

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.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

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.

Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook

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

Bret Easton Ellis

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

Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook

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

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

There is no God and we are his prophets.

Chuck Palahniuk, Diary

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

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Patrick Süskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

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

Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last

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

Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

I have found God, but he is insufficient.

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.

Denis Johnson, Already Dead

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

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.

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.

Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief

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

J G Ballard, Running Wild

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

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

William S Burroughs

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

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.

Katherine Dunn, Geek Love

I have been a believer in the magic of language since, at a very early age, I discovered that some words got me into trouble and others got me out.

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.

R D Ronald

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

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?

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).

Henry Miller

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

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 Five Gates of Hell

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

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.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

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

Hunter S Thomson

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

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.

Douglas Coupland

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

Charles Bukowski

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

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.

J G Ballard, Crash

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

Chuck Palahniuk, 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.

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.

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.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate. Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

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

Sylvia Plath

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream

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

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

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.

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

I don’t want to die without any scars.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

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.

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

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.

Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction

No one ever likes the right person.

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.

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.

Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.

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