Transgressive Fiction

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David Peace, The Damned Utd

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

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.

Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG

She was like a redneck Yoko Ono.

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

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

Franz Kafka

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

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.

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, No Longer Human

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

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.

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.

Blake Butler, There Is No Year

Email servers learned to laugh.

M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine

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

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?

Jim Carroll, The Petting Zoo

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

Lauren Sapala, Between the Shadow and Lo

I told most people I was an alcoholic if they asked and some if they didn’t. I figured everyone deserved a fair chance to cut and run at the very beginning.

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.

Megan Abbott, Dare Me

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy

Kugel was a firm believer that death was not always a bad thing – that life often reached such levels of crapitude that dying was preferable to living.

Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels

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

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

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

Marquis de Sade

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

Paul Auster, Invisible

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

Will Christopher Baer

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

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.

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, Heart of Darkness

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

Megan Abbott

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

Jim Thompson

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

Franz Kafka

I am a cage, in search of a bird.

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.

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.

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

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

Franz Kafka

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

Joseph Conrad, Chance

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

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.

Joan Didion, On Self-Respect

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

Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

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

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.

Franz Kafka

I am free and that is why I am lost.

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.

Arthur Nersesian, Mesopotamia

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

Will Self

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

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

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

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.

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.

Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

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

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

I am so stupid, so easily fooled. It’s really almost funny. If I could lift a finger I would gladly kill myself.

Franz Kafka

The meaning of life is that it stops.

Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

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

Arthur Nersesian, Manhattan Loverboy

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

Aleister Crowley, 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.

Franz Kafka

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

Megan Abbott, Dare Me

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

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.

Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human

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

Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy

…the greatest source of misery in the world, the greatest cause of anguish and hatred and sadness and death, was neither disease nor race nor religion. It was hope.

Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG

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

M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine

Finally, when all was said and done, the certainty (so often experienced, yet always new) that female charms, the kind that inflame the senses, are no more than kitchen smells: they tease you when you’re hungry and disgust you when you’ve had your fill.

Arthur Nersesian, The Fuck-Up

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

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?

Paul Neilan

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

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.

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.

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.

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

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

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.

Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

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

Marquis de Sade

Fuck! Is one expected to be a gentleman when one is stiff?

Niccolò Machiavelli

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

Arthur Koestler

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

Aleister Crowley, Moonchild

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

Franz Kafka

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

David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four

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

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

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

A C Weisbecker

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

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.

Marquis de Sade

It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure

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

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth

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

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

Disappear, she says. I love that word.

Franz Kafka, The Trial

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

Paul Auster

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

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

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

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.

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

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

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.

Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man

I hated myself and the world because I had failed to face and accept the limitations of my self and of life. In literature this refusal is called romanticism; in psychology, neurosis.

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.

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.

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.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

James Joyce

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

Christa Faust

I hate malls. They’re like strip clubs for women. All tease and sparkle and the empty promise that if you just drop enough cash, somehow you’ll be fulfilled.

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

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

Philip K Dick, Martian Time-Slip

I’m not much but I’m all I have.

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.

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

Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in High School

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

Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly

I have seen myself backward.

George Orwell

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

D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

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

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.

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

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.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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

Ian McEwan, Atonement

She lay in the dark and knew everything.

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

And so it goes…

Jim Carroll, Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems

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

James Joyce

Shut your eyes and see.

Philip K Dick, VALIS

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

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.

Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Jack Kerouac

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

Richard Bachman, Thinner

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?

Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays

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

Will Self

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

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.

Ryū Murakami

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

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

Ian McEwan, The Cement Garden

Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short and wear shirts and boots because it’s okay to be a boy; for girls it’s like promotion. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, according to you, because secretly you believe that being a girl is degrading.

Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

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

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

Dennis Cooper, Frisk

Human bodies are such garbage bags.

Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background

Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.

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.

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.

Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York

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

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, 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.

Poppy Z Brite

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

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

Ryū Murakami, Coin Locker Babies

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

Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.

James Joyce

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

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

George Orwell, Animal Farm

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

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?

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Mothers are all slightly insane.

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.

Kelly Braffet, Save Yourself

Hate can be just as intimate as love.

George Orwell

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

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

In what will survive meI am in harmonywith my annihilation.

Ray Bradbury

Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.

Knut Hamsun

Love is every bit as violent and dangerous as murder.

Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates

Dreams are manifestations of identities.

Knut Hamsun, Hunger

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

Georges Bataille

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

Martin Amis, London Fields

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

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’.

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

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

Kurt Vonnegut

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

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

Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory

Sometimes the thoughts and feelings I had didn’t really agree with each other, so I decided I must be lots of different people inside my brain.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

Aldous Huxley

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

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, 1984

Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.

Albert Camus

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

Allen Ginsberg

I know too much and not enough

Richard Bachman, Rage

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

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.

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!

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.

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.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory

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

Kathy Acker

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

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

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

Albert Camus

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

George Orwell, 1

Big Brother is Watching 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.

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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

Nick Cave

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

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

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

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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

R D Ronald, The Zombie Room

Decker smiled and shrugged off their laughter. The humour was only barbed if you sat on the outside, and now he was one of them.

Henry Miller

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

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

Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook

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

Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire

We are most artistically caged.

Vladimir Nabokov

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

J G Ballard, Crash

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

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

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.

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Henry Miller

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

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?

William S Burroughs

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

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

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

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.

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

The only value of wasted time is knowledge.

Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria

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

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

I don’t want to die without any scars.

Douglas Coupland

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

Charles Bukowski, Post Office

I wanted the whole world or nothing.

Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects

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

Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting

By definition, you have to live until you die. Better to make that life as complete and enjoyable an experience as possible, in case death is shite, which I suspect it will be.

William S Burroughs

There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve.

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

The fig tree had dropped its fruit all over the ground. Ripe figs lay in the dust, exploded, bloody, as if the sky had rained organs.

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.

Vladimir Nabokov

Let all of life be an unfettered howl. Like the crowd greeting the gladiator. Don’t stop to think, don’t interrupt the scream, exhale, release life’s rapture.

Irvine Welsh

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

J G Ballard, Crash

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

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.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

I can’t remember if I took an oxy during the flight, so I eat two. They pair nicely with the scotch. It’s good to be home.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

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.

Vladimir Nabokov

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

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.

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, Tropic of Cancer

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

R D Ronald

Nothing says Christmas better than familicide and anaphylactic shock.

Chuck Palahniuk, Choke

What I want is to be needed. What I need is to be indispensable to somebody. Who I need is somebody that will eat up all my free time, my ego, my attention. Somebody addicted to me. A mutual addiction.

Henry Miller

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

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.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

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.

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.

Greg Levin, Sick to Death

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

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

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

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

Anaïs Nin

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

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

Henry Miller, The Books in My Life

A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

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.

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.

R D Ronald

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

Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief

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

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.

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

I have to return some videotapes

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

That’s why Twinkle likes the place so much, Scott thought, looking around at the faded wood veneer tables, and the faded souls drinking at them. Misery was soaked through the place like the old beer soaked through its carpets.

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.

Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction

What does that mean know me, know me, nobody ever knows anybody else, ever! You will never know me.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

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

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.

Anthony Burgess, Homage To QwertYuiop: Essays

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

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

There is no God and we are his prophets.

Anthony Burgess

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

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

R D Ronald

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

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

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

Charles Bukowski, Factotum

My ambition is handicapped by laziness

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Anaïs Nin

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

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

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

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.

Hunter S Thomson

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Vladimir Nabokov

Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

Aldous Huxley

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

Ryū Murakami

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

Albert Camus

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

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

Thus it is that no cruelty whatsoever passes by without impact. Thus it is that we always pay dearly for chasing after what is cheap.

Ian McEwan

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

Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

James Joyce

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

Jim Carroll, Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems

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

Georges Bataille

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

Kurt Vonnegut

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

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

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

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.

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

Will Self

Schadenfreude is so nutritious.

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?

Dennis Cooper, Closer

Dan thought of love as defined by books, cobwebbed and hidden from view by the past. Too bad a love like that didn’t actually exist. In the twentieth century one had to fake it.

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.

Jim Carroll

Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.

George Orwell, 1

Big Brother is Watching You.

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.

Iain Banks, Use of Weapons

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

Knut Hamsun, Hunger

…I will exile my thoughts if they think of you again, and I will rip my lips out if they say your name once more. Now if you do exist, I will tell you my final word in life or in death, I tell you goodbye.

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.

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

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

Albert Camus

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

George Orwell, 1984

Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.

Nick Cave

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

Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates

Dreams are manifestations of identities.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Martin Amis, The Information

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

Philip K Dick, VALIS

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

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Logic is what the devil likes most.

Kurt Vonnegut

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?

Poppy Z Brite

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

Will Self

I’m going to end up like one of those old weirdos who lives in a network of tunnels burrowed through trash – yet I do not fear this.

Ryū Murakami, Coin Locker Babies

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

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

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

Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point

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

William Golding

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

D H Lawrence, The Complete Poems

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.

Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background

Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.

Ian McEwan, Atonement

She lay in the dark and knew everything.

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.

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.

Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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

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

D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

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

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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

Poppy Z Brite

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

Iain Banks

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

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.

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.

Georges Bataille, Eroticism: Death and Sensuality

Beauty is desired in order that it may be befouled; not for its own sake, but for the joy brought by the certainty of profaining it.

J D Salinger, 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.

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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.

Ray Bradbury

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory

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

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.

Richard Bachman, Rage

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

Philip K Dick, Martian Time-Slip

I’m not much but I’m all I have.

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.

Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.

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.

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.

George Orwell, 1984

In the face of pain there are no heroes.

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.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Kelly Braffet, Save Yourself

Hate can be just as intimate as love.

George Orwell, 1984

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

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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

Kathy Acker

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

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.

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.

Kelly Braffet, Last Seen Leaving

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

William Golding

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

Georges Bataille, Violent Silence

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

George Orwell

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

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!

Jack Kerouac

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

James Joyce

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

Aldous Huxley

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

J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey

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

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.

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.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Mothers are all slightly insane.

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.

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.

Charles Bukowski, Post Office

I wanted the whole world or nothing.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

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.

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.

Denis Johnson

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

R D Ronald

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

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

The only value of wasted time is knowledge.

Charles Bukowski, Factotum

My ambition is handicapped by laziness

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

The craggy lines that made up the character in his face now seemed like scars of defeat, inflicted on him over time.

Anaïs Nin

Ordinary life does not interest me.

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.

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

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

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.

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.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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

Sylvia Plath

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

Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet

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

Violet Levoit, I Miss The World

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

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

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.

William S Burroughs

There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve.

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

Eroticize intelligence.

Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream

He didn’t know what was defeating him, but he sensed it was something he could not cope with, something that was far beyond his power to control or even at this point in time comprehend.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

I say I’m fine. I tell him I’ll be back to my old self once we’re getting handcuffed in Phnom Penh.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Douglas Coupland

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

Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook

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

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

Greg Levin, The Exit Man

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

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.

Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction

No one ever likes the right person.

Hunter S Thomson

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

Sylvia Plath

Is there no way out of the mind?

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.

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

That’s why Twinkle likes the place so much, Scott thought, looking around at the faded wood veneer tables, and the faded souls drinking at them. Misery was soaked through the place like the old beer soaked through its carpets.

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.

Italo Calvino

Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness.

Charles Bukowski, Barfly

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

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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

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.

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?

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.

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.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

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

Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief

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

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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

Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream

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.

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.

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

Hunter S Thomson

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

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, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

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

Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting

By definition, you have to live until you die. Better to make that life as complete and enjoyable an experience as possible, in case death is shite, which I suspect it will be.

Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

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

Irvine Welsh, Porno

You can’t lie to your soul.

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

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

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.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.

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.

William S Burroughs

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

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.

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.

Anaïs Nin

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

J G Ballard

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

J G Ballard

Unhappy parents teach you a lesson that lasts a lifetime.

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Denis Johnson, Already Dead

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

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.

William S Burroughs

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Irvine Welsh

I’m not running away, I’m moving on.

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

R D Ronald

Nothing says Christmas better than familicide and anaphylactic shock.

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

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

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.

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, In Wolves Clothing

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

Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects

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

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.

William S Burroughs

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

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

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

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

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

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.

Donna Tartt, The Secret History

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

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

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

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