Transgressive Fiction

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Niccolò Machiavelli
Never was anything great achieved without danger.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas
Which do you prefer, she says. Sex or Violence?I try to smile. What’s the difference, really.
Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man
Give up all hope, all illusion, all desire..I’ve tried. I’ve tried and still I desire, I still desire not to desire and hope to be without hope and have the illusion I can be without illusions..Give up, I say. Give up everything, including the desire to be saved.
Franz Kafka
Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth
Well if being related by internet marriage is family, I suppose we are.
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.
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.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.
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!
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, Manhattan Loverboy
The masses-I love em-they rush for red lights, risking everything to capture a few seconds, only to get home and waste their lives.
Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy
The story is not in the words; it’s in the struggle.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild
I’m a poet, and I like my lies the way my mother used to make them.
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.
Joan Didion, On Self-Respect
Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself.
Arthur Koestler
The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.
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.
Marquis de Sade
Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.
Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man
We got married: society’s solution to loneliness, lust and laundry.
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.
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.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me
If it hadn’t been what it was, it would’ve been beautiful.
Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human
What did he mean by “society”? The plural of human beings?
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.
Franz Kafka
I am in chains. Don’t touch my chains.
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.
Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes
The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.
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?
Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries
they’re fucking up minds they do not own.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas
Disappear, she says. I love that word.
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.
Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands
It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes
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.
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Though surely to avoid attachments for fear of loss is to avoid life.
Franz Kafka
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.
Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy
Roads are no place for naive chickens dreaming of nirvana.
Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy
In other words: It seems to me that I will always be happy in the place where I am not. Or, more bluntly: Wherever I am not is the place where I am myself. Or else, taking the bull by the horns: Anywhere out of the world.
M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine
And if all womankind banded together and took the male path, the world would turn into one huge brothel.
Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto
Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.
Chuck Klosterman
People who talk about their dreams are actually trying to tell you things about themselves they’d never admit in normal conversation.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories
It takes more than one kick in the pants to reverse a lifetime of unplanned apathy.
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.
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.
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.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories
If stealing a few saltshakers was wrong I didn’t want to be right.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.
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.
Joan Didion
You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.
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
Blake Butler
black beyond black
David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four
Uncle Eric holding court, proud the only time he ever left Yorkshire was to kill Germans.
Joseph Conrad, Chance
Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.
Graham Greene
Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector.
Megan Abbott, You Will Know Me
Because there’s a hundred ways sex can ruin you but there’s no end to the ways love can.
Marquis de Sade
Either kill me or take me as I am, because I’ll be damned if I ever change.
Blake Butler, Scorch Atlas
Overhead the sky was melting, the cracked cream color rubbing off in cogs of brine.The fields far ahead of me in endless pudding, studded here and there with what had been: homes and houses, hair and heirlooms, habits, hallways, hauntings, hope.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.
Jim Thompson
Life is a bucket of shit with a barbed wire handle.
Jim Carroll
You see, you just don’t knowI’m here to give you my heartAnd you want some fashion show
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.
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.
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.
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.
Franz Kafka
I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.
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.
Arthur Koestler
Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.
Aleister Crowley, Magick: Liber ABA: Book 4
The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and wilfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.
Lionel Shriver, Checker and the Derailleurs
A lot of people get so hung up on what they can’t have that they don’t think for a second about whether they really want it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Sorrow is like the ocean and sometimes I wish my heart would stop.
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.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas
And my life went to pieces, like a love letter in the rain.
Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG
Do you understand why I prefer you to have a toy gun?
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.
Franz Kafka
Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth
She only wears black now and she’s umm; well she’s threatening to become a vampire.
Marquis de Sade
In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice.
Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels
If you’re not a beautiful monster, then you’re a villager
Franz Kafka
The meaning of life is that it stops.
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.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild
May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall!
Arthur 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.
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 Nersesian, Mesopotamia
Stressful jobs, loveless marriages, bad food-most people kill themselves slowly every day.
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.
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.
George Orwell, 1984
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
Knut Hamsun, Hunger
…I will exile my thoughts if they think of you again, and I will rip my lips out if they say your name once more. Now if you do exist, I will tell you my final word in life or in death, I tell you goodbye.
Aldous Huxley
You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.
Allen Ginsberg
Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.
James Joyce, Ulysses
History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
Poppy Z Brite, Wormwood: A Collection of Short Stories
You hold onto what you have; you do not give it up easily, even when you know it is poisoning you.
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?
Richard Bachman, Rage
That was Dad’s life, and I was the birdshit on his windshield.
Jim Carroll, Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems
I’ll Die For Your Sins If You Live For mine.
George Orwell, 1984
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
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.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
Georges Bataille
In what will survive meI am in harmonywith my annihilation.
George Orwell, 1984
Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.
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.
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.
Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York
I had a hunger for things I knew realistically I didn’t actually care for.
Kelly Braffet, Save Yourself
Hate can be just as intimate as love.
George Orwell, 1984
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
Nick Cave
People think I’m a miserable sod but it’s only because I get asked such bloody miserable questions.
Aldous Huxley
There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.
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.
Philip K Dick
The true measure of a man is not his intelligence or how high he rises in this freak establishment. No, the true measure of a man is this: how quickly can he respond to the needs of others and how much of himself he can give.
Poppy Z Brite
The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.
Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background
Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.
Martin Amis, Other People
When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable
Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach
It is shaming sometimes, how the body will not, or cannot, lie about emotions.
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.
Dennis Cooper, The Marbled Swarm
Why is it I feel a new nostalgia for the era of the guillotine?
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.
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.
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.
George Orwell, 1984
The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
It’s an universal law– intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.
Will Self
I’m going to end up like one of those old weirdos who lives in a network of tunnels burrowed through trash – yet I do not fear this.
Iain Banks
It’s a library, only the stupid or the evil are afraid of those
George Orwell, Animal Farm
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
Allen Ginsberg
I know too much and not enough
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
If faces were different when lit from above or below — what was a face? What was anything?
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
My yesterdays walk with me. They keep step, they are gray faces that peer over my shoulder.
Poppy Z Brite
Why bother? I was right all along: the second you make yourself vulnerable to someone, they start drawing blood.
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.
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.
Kurt Vonnegut
Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack
Logic is what the devil likes most.
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.
Albert Camus
Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?
Richard Bachman, Roadwork
All places are the same unless your mind changes. There’s no magic place to get your mind right. If you feel like shit, everything you see looks like shit.
Ray Bradbury
You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
George Orwell
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
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.
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.
James Joyce
Shut your eyes and see.
Lauren Sapala, Between the Shadow and Lo
Most people don’t like to admit that vaginas have economic value, but they’re one of our most valuable natural resources.
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.
Georges Bataille
I don’t want your love unless you know i am repulsive, and love me even as you know it.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.
Ryū Murakami
She’s like smoke:you think you’re seeing her clearly enough, but when you reach for her there’s nothing there
Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack
Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.
Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in High School
Love goes away when your mind goes away and then you’re someone else.
Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
Knut Hamsun, Hunger
Truth is neither objectivity nor the balanced view; truth is a selfless subjectivity.
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
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.
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.
Jack Kerouac
Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.
Allen Ginsberg
I really believe, or want to believe, really I am nuts, otherwise I’ll never be sane.
George Orwell
In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
Kathy Acker
For the poet, the world is word. Words. Not that precisely. Precisely: the world and words fuck each other.
Richard Bachman, The Long Walk
None of us really has anything to lose. That makes it easier to give away.
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.
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.
George Orwell, 1984
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
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.
George Orwell
Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
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.
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.
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.
Kathy Acker
If you ask me what I want, I’ll tell you. I want everything.
Allen Ginsberg
Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.
Richard Bachman, Rage
Lunacy is when you can’t see the seams where they stitched the world together anymore.
Martin Amis, London Fields
And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look and feel like shit.
William Golding
Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.
Albert Camus
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
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
If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.
Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge
Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.
Will Self
Schadenfreude is so nutritious.
Alissa Nutting, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls
I was like a turd inside someone who’d accidentally swallowed an engagement ring: I was nothing, yet I carried something uniquely special.
George Orwell
The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.
Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays
After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Dennis Cooper, Frisk
Human bodies are such garbage bags.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Mothers are all slightly insane.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
How nice — to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.
Will Self
A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?
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.
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.
Henry Miller, The Books in My Life
A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.
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.
Irvine Welsh
I’m not running away, I’m moving on.
J G Ballard, Crash
After being bombarded endlessly by road-safety propaganda it was almost a relief to find myself in an actual accident.
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.
Edit | Delete J G Ballard, The Day of Creation
Sooner or later, everything turns into television.
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.
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.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
Every grain of experience is food for the greedy growing soul of the artist.
R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree
Sometimes truths are what we run from, and sometimes they are what we seek.
Charles Bukowski, Post Office
I wanted the whole world or nothing.
Hunter S Thomson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman
A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.
Chuck Palahniuk, Diary
We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.
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.
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
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.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground
I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.
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.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.
Monica Drake, Clown Girl
The Buddhists say if you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, that’s not the one. When you meet your ‘soul mate’ you’ll feel calm. No anxiety, no agitation.
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
That’s one of the drawbacks of good narcotics—they often cause you to say cheerful things.
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).
J G Ballard, Running Wild
In a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.
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
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.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
But what I do I do because I like to do.
Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller
What harbor can receive you more securely than a great library?
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.
Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last
You have to die a few times before you can really live.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.
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.
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.
Bret Easton Ellis
Our lives are not all interconnected. That theory is a crock. Some people truly do not need to be here.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.
Monica Drake, Clown Girl
When life sucks, throw yourself into art.
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.
Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects
The face you give the world tells the world how to treat you.
William S Burroughs
Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.
Henry Miller
Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.
Donna Tartt, The Secret History
Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.
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.
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.
Anaïs Nin
We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
I have to return some videotapes
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.
Rupert Thomson, 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
I see what is right and approve, but I do what is wrong.
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.
Henry Miller
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
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.
Anaïs Nin
How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?
Vladimir Nabokov
Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.
Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet
Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony.
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
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.
Henry Miller
To be joyous is to be a madman in a world of sad ghosts.
Sylvia Plath
Is there no way out of the mind?
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.
Irvine Welsh, Porno
You can’t lie to your soul.
Charles Bukowski, Factotum
My ambition is handicapped by laziness
Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird
Let me be, was all I wanted. Be what I am, no matter how I am.
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
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, 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.
R D Ronald
I don’t “lol”. I tried it once but it just didn’t agree with me.
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.
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.
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
In this job, you learn to ignore the urge to comfort those you’re protecting.
Vladimir Nabokov
Our imagination flies — we are its shadow on the earth.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground
Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness.
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.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.
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.
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.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.
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
Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.
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.
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
Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.
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.
J G Ballard, Crash
I wanted to rub the human race in its own vomit, and force it to look in the mirror.
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.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Tampon commercial, detergent commercial, maxi pad commercial, windex commercial – you’d think all women do is clean and bleed.
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.
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.
Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
Eroticize intelligence.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
All I know is this: nobody’s very big in the first place, and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down.
Charles Bukowski
Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
There is no God and we are his prophets.
Anaïs Nin
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
There’s nothing better than being the bad guy. Long enough to do some good.
Kurt Vonnegut
Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
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.
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.
Georges Bataille, Violent Silence
I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.
Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.
Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates
Dreams are manifestations of identities.
Will Self
Schadenfreude is so nutritious.
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.
Knut Hamsun, Hunger
Truth is neither objectivity nor the balanced view; truth is a selfless subjectivity.
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
If faces were different when lit from above or below — what was a face? What was anything?
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.
Kurt Vonnegut
The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick and Colon.
Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Allen Ginsberg
I know too much and not enough
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.
Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach
It is shaming sometimes, how the body will not, or cannot, lie about emotions.
Richard Bachman, The Long Walk
The longer you went without speaking, the harder it gets to break the silence.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?
James Joyce
All Moanday, Tearday, Wailsday, Thumpsday, Frightday, Shatterday.
George Orwell
In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
George Orwell, 1984
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.
George Orwell, 1984
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
Iain Banks
Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Mothers are all slightly insane.
Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge
Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.
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.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.
Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach
This is how the entire course of a life can be changed: by doing nothing.
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.
Martin Amis
The universe is a million billion light-years wide, and every inch of it would kill you if you went there. This is the position of the universe with regards to human life.
George Orwell
Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.
James Joyce
Your battles inspired me – not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.
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.
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.
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.
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, Zen in the Art of Writing
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
William Golding
Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.
Nick Cave, The Death of Bunny Munro
I am damned,’ thinks Bunny Munro in a sudden moment of self-awareness reserved for those who are soon to die.
Will Self
A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.
Albert Camus
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
Kathy Acker
If you ask me what I want, I’ll tell you. I want everything.
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.
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.
Georges Bataille
In what will survive meI am in harmonywith my annihilation.
Nick Cave, And the Ass Saw the Angel
Listen, ah don’t wanna speak ill of the dead but have ah told you that mah mother was a great whopping whale of a cunt? Well she was precisely that – a great whopping whale of a hog’s cunt with a dirty maggot for a brain.
George Orwell, 1984
We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.
Georges Bataille
I don’t want your love unless you know i am repulsive, and love me even as you know it.
Richard Bachman, Rage
That was Dad’s life, and I was the birdshit on his windshield.
Ian McEwan
No one knows anything, really. It’s all rented, or borrowed.
George Orwell, 1984
Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.
J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey
I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.
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
Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.
Kurt Vonnegut
Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.
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.
Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background
Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.
Kathy Acker
For the poet, the world is word. Words. Not that precisely. Precisely: the world and words fuck each other.
Ryū Murakami, Coin Locker Babies
They don’t realise that they’ve changed; they think it’s the world that changed.
George Orwell
The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.
Nick Cave
Inspiration is a word used by people who aren’t really doing anything.
Jim Carroll
Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.
Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York
I had a hunger for things I knew realistically I didn’t actually care for.
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!
William Golding
My yesterdays walk with me. They keep step, they are gray faces that peer over my shoulder.
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.
Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory
Looking at me, you’d never guess I’d killed three people. It isn’t fair.
Allen Ginsberg
Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!
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.
Iain Banks, Use of Weapons
I just think people overvalue argument because they like to hear themselves talk.
Albert Camus
Live to the point of tears.
Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly
I have seen myself backward.
Aldous Huxley
Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.
George Orwell, 1984
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
Ryū Murakami
She’s like smoke:you think you’re seeing her clearly enough, but when you reach for her there’s nothing there
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.
Martin Amis, The Information
He awoke at six, as usual. He needed no alarm clock. He was already comprehensively alarmed.
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.
Albert Camus
Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.
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
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.
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, Lord of the Flies
What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?
Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
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.
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.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.
George Orwell, Animal Farm
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
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
The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.
Knut Hamsun
Love is every bit as violent and dangerous as murder.
Richard Bachman, The Long Walk
None of us really has anything to lose. That makes it easier to give away.
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.
Nick Cave
I’ve always had an obligation to creation, above all.
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.
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.
George Orwell, 1984
If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.
R D Ronald
Anyone who says “Trust me” is the last motherfucker you should ever trust.
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.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.
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.
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.
Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook
It’s taken me years of practice to learn how to act natural.
Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction
No one ever likes the right person.
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 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.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.
Vladimir Nabokov
Our imagination flies — we are its shadow on the earth.
Irvine Welsh, Porno
You can’t lie to your soul.
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.
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–
Denis Johnson
English words are like prisms. Empty, nothing inside, and still they make rainbows.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.
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.
Anthony Burgess
Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.
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.
Charles Bukowski, Factotum
My ambition is handicapped by laziness
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.
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.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.
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.
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).
Patrick Süskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
He succeeded in being considered totally uninteresting. People left him alone. And that was all he wanted.
Anaïs Nin
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
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.
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.
Anaïs Nin
How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?
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.
Irvine Welsh
Some people are easier to love when you don’t have to be around them.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground
I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.
Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
As the expression goes, we spend our youth attaining wealth, and our wealth attaining youth.
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.
William S Burroughs
Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.
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.
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.
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.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
It’s humbling, to become the very thing you once mocked.
J G Ballard
Unhappy parents teach you a lesson that lasts a lifetime.
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.
Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son
I knew every raindrop by its name.
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.
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
Today I plan to smile a lot, only so people who know me will be freaked the fuck out.
Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell
She looked the way a rose petal looks when you crush it between finger and thumb.
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
This faulty light fitting at the front door with the dangerously flickering bulb looks rather festive. Who says I don’t do Christmas?
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
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.
Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire
We are most artistically caged.
Hunter S Thomson
I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.
Donna Tartt, The Secret History
Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.
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.
Anthony Burgess, Homage To QwertYuiop: Essays
To be left alone is the most precious thing one can ask of the modern world.
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.
Charles Bukowski, Barfly
I don’t hate them…I just feel better when they’re not around.
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.
Henry Miller
Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
Stay away from the ones you love too much. Those are the ones who will kill you.
Henry Miller
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
J G Ballard, Crash
I wanted to rub the human race in its own vomit, and force it to look in the mirror.
Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet
Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony.
Hunter S Thomson
Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.
Charles Bukowski, Post Office
I wanted the whole world or nothing.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again.
Vladimir Nabokov
Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.
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.
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.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.
Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son
And therefore I looked down into the great pity of a person’s life on this earth. I don’t mean that we all end up dead, that’s not the great pity. I mean that he couldn’t tell me what he was dreaming, and I couldn’t tell him what was real.
Monica Drake, Clown Girl
The only value of wasted time is knowledge.
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.
Charles Bukowski
The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.
Sylvia Plath
Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.
Italo Calvino
Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
There is no God and we are his prophets.
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.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.
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.
Edit | Delete J G Ballard, The Day of Creation
Sooner or later, everything turns into television.
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.
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.
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.
Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook
…what they show tells you what they want to hide.
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
There’s nothing better than being the bad guy. Long enough to do some good.
Irvine Welsh
I’m not running away, I’m moving on.
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.
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
But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.
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.
R D Ronald
I’m not into this whole “move with the times” thing. I reckon we should just decide on a year and stick with it.
William S Burroughs, 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
Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
Language tethers us to the world; without it we spin like atoms.
Anaïs Nin
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
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.
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.

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