Transgressive Fiction

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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.
Graham Greene
Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector.
Graham Greene, The End of the Affair
It’s a strange thing to discover and to believe that you are loved when you know that there is nothing in you for anybody but a parent or a God to love.
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.
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.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.
Marquis de Sade
Fuck! Is one expected to be a gentleman when one is stiff?
Franz Kafka
I am free and that is why I am lost.
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Though surely to avoid attachments for fear of loss is to avoid life.
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.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.
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.
David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four
Uncle Eric holding court, proud the only time he ever left Yorkshire was to kill Germans.
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.
Franz Kafka
Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.
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!
Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend
Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild
I’m a poet, and I like my lies the way my mother used to make them.
Franz Kafka
Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.
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.
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.
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth
… her skills more akin to the baking of macaroons than solving the complexities of the universe.
Paul Neilan
Nobody knows how to just shut the fuck up and look out the window anymore.
Graham Greene, The Ministry of Fear
But it is impossible to go through life without trust; that is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.
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.
Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG
She was like a redneck Yoko Ono.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jim Carroll
You see, you just don’t knowI’m here to give you my heartAnd you want some fashion show
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Joan Didion
You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.
Arthur Koestler, Drinkers of Infinity: Essays 1955-1967
Creative activity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories
It takes more than one kick in the pants to reverse a lifetime of unplanned apathy.
Arthur Nersesian, Mesopotamia
Stressful jobs, loveless marriages, bad food-most people kill themselves slowly every day.
Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies
I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning.
Luke Rhinehart
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.
Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man
It’s the way a man chooses to limit himself that determines his character. A man without habits, consistency, redundancy – and hence boredom – is not human. He’s insane.
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?
Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG
Do you understand why I prefer you to have a toy gun?
Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory
Hate is a lack of imagination.
Franz Kafka
I am in chains. Don’t touch my chains.
Joan Didion, On Self-Respect
Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself.
Arthur Nersesian, Manhattan Loverboy
The masses-I love em-they rush for red lights, risking everything to capture a few seconds, only to get home and waste their lives.
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.
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth
She only wears black now and she’s umm; well she’s threatening to become a vampire.
Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun
This I want to believe implicitly: Man was born for love and revolution.
Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon
History had a slow pulse; man counted in years, history in generations
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth
Well if being related by internet marriage is family, I suppose we are.
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.
Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies
When a person is lucky enough to live inside a story, to live inside an imaginary world, the pains of this world disappear. For as long as the story goes on, reality no longer exists.
Paul Auster
You can’t put your feet on the ground until you’ve touched the sky.
A C Weisbecker
If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.
Tanya Thompson, Assuming Names: A Con Artist’s Masquerade
Do you know the difference between neurotics and psychotics?Neurotics build castles in the sky; psychotics move into them.
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.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me
Love is a kind of killing, Addy,” she says. “Don’t you know that?
M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine
And if all womankind banded together and took the male path, the world would turn into one huge brothel.
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.
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!
Marquis de Sade
Either kill me or take me as I am, because I’ll be damned if I ever change.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories
If stealing a few saltshakers was wrong I didn’t want to be right.
Arthur Koestler
Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.
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.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me
If it hadn’t been what it was, it would’ve been beautiful.
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.
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
Franz Kafka
I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.
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.
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin
It’s far less important to me to be liked these days than to be understood.
Niccolò Machiavelli
I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.
Franz Kafka
All language is but a poor translation.
Will Self, Grey Area
How much more lonely and driven is the serial monogamist than the serial killer?
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
Whenever I’m leaving I get sentimental for that nostalgia I know I won’t have the next day.
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.
Will Christopher Baer
Sorrow is like the ocean and sometimes I wish my heart would stop.
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.
Marquis de Sade
It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure
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.
Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy
Roads are no place for naive chickens dreaming of nirvana.
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.
Joseph Conrad, Chance
Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas
Disappear, she says. I love that word.
Marquis de Sade
Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated.
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.
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.
Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men
You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.
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.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.
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.
Jim Thompson
Life is a bucket of shit with a barbed wire handle.
Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man
We got married: society’s solution to loneliness, lust and laundry.
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.
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.
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.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.
Nick Cave
Inspiration is a word used by people who aren’t really doing anything.
Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack
Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.
George Orwell, 1984
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
Albert Camus
Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?
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.
Iain Banks, Use of Weapons
I just think people overvalue argument because they like to hear themselves talk.
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.
Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
Nick Cave
I’ve always had an obligation to creation, above all.
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.
James Joyce, Ulysses
Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.
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.
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
Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
George Orwell, 1
Big Brother is Watching You.
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.
Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates
Dreams are manifestations of identities.
Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York
I had a hunger for things I knew realistically I didn’t actually care for.
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.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?
Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly
I have seen myself backward.
D H Lawrence
For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.
Richard Bachman, Rage
That was Dad’s life, and I was the birdshit on his windshield.
George Orwell, 1984
Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.
Kelly Braffet, Save Yourself
Hate can be just as intimate as love.
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’.
Jack Kerouac
Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.
George Orwell, 1984
Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.
Jim Carroll, Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems
I’ll Die For Your Sins If You Live For mine.
Allen Ginsberg
Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!
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.
Knut Hamsun
Love is every bit as violent and dangerous as murder.
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.
Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach
It is shaming sometimes, how the body will not, or cannot, lie about emotions.
George Orwell
The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.
William Golding
Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.
George Orwell, 1984
Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.
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.
Kelly Braffet, Last Seen Leaving
All he would say was that sometimes you have to burn it down and start over.
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.
George Orwell, 1984
If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.
Martin Amis, Other People
When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
It’s an universal law– intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.
Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays
After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
James Joyce, Ulysses
A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.
J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey
I’m sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.
Will Self
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.
Kurt Vonnegut
Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.
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!
Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach
This is how the entire course of a life can be changed: by doing nothing.
Philip K Dick, VALIS
There exists, for everyone, a sentence – a series of words – that has the power to destroy you. Another sentence exists, another series of words, that could heal you. If you’re lucky you will get the second, but you can be certain of getting the first.
Ian McEwan
No one knows anything, really. It’s all rented, or borrowed.
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
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.
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.
Poppy Z Brite
The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.
Will Self
Schadenfreude is so nutritious.
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.
George Orwell, 1984
The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.
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.
Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
Richard Bachman, The Long Walk
The longer you went without speaking, the harder it gets to break the silence.
Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
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
Iain Banks
Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
If faces were different when lit from above or below — what was a face? What was anything?
Will Self
A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.
George Orwell
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
Ian McEwan, Atonement
She lay in the dark and knew everything.
Albert Camus
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
George Orwell, 1984
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
James Joyce
All Moanday, Tearday, Wailsday, Thumpsday, Frightday, Shatterday.
Richard Bachman, The Long Walk
None of us really has anything to lose. That makes it easier to give away.
George Orwell
Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
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.
Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Aldous Huxley
There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.
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.
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.
Albert Camus
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
Richard Bachman, Rage
Lunacy is when you can’t see the seams where they stitched the world together anymore.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?
Allen Ginsberg
Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.
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.
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.
George Orwell
In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
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.
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.
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.
Ryū Murakami
Everybody wants to talk about themselves, and everybody wants to hear everybody else’s story, so we take turns playing reporter and celebrity.
Poppy Z Brite
Why bother? I was right all along: the second you make yourself vulnerable to someone, they start drawing blood.
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.
Ian McEwan, Atonement
It wasn’t only wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it was confusion and misunderstanding; above all, it was the failure to grasp the simple truth that other people are as real as you.
George Orwell, 1984
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
George Orwell, 1984
If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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, A Clockwork Orange
We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.
Greg Levin, The Exit Man
Suicide should come with a warning label: ‘Do not try this alone.’
Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria
The time flies. The time flies feed on rotting clocks.
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
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
Penelope Lively, How it all Began
When you are able to be with a person and there is no need to talk, something has happened.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
There is no God and we are his prophets.
Rupert Thomson, The Insult
You have to do normal things or they don’t go away. You have to reassure them. Or they just stand there staring at you, as if you’re a car-crash, or pornography.
Douglas Coupland
I don’t think anyone ever gets over anything in life; they merely get used to it.
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.
Henry Miller
Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate, or despise, serves to defeat us in the end.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
This is your life and its ending one moment at a time.
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
In this job, you learn to ignore the urge to comfort those you’re protecting.
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.
William S Burroughs
A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on. A psychotic is a guy who’s just found out what’s going on.
J G Ballard
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.
Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell
That’s what birthdays were. Days when you found out where you stood. Who was on your side and who wasn’t. Nothing to do with how old you were.
Rupert Thomson, Dreams of Leaving
Her smiles were blurred, as if seen from a moving train. Her eyes always creased at the edges by dreams of leaving.
Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook
It’s taken me years of practice to learn how to act natural.
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.
Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire
We are most artistically caged.
Italo Calvino
Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness.
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.
R D Ronald
Anyone who says “Trust me” is the last motherfucker you should ever trust.
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.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
But what I do I do because I like to do.
Anaïs Nin
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
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.
Anaïs Nin
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
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–
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.
Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
Eroticize intelligence.
Sylvia Plath
Is there no way out of the mind?
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
That’s one of the drawbacks of good narcotics—they often cause you to say cheerful things.
R D Ronald
Today I plan to smile a lot, only so people who know me will be freaked the fuck out.
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.
Rupert Thomson, Secrecy
Perhaps there comes a time in your life when you lose the ability to command attention, when the world starts to ignore you because it no longer believes you can have much of an effect on it.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.
William S Burroughs
In the U.S. you have to be a deviant or die of boredom.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
I have to return some videotapes
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.
Vladimir Nabokov
Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.
J G Ballard, Crash
After being bombarded endlessly by road-safety propaganda it was almost a relief to find myself in an actual accident.
R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree
Sometimes truths are what we run from, and sometimes they are what we seek.
Charles Bukowski
Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.
Chuck Palahniuk, Diary
We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.
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.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do?
Hunter S Thomson
Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.
Irvine Welsh, Porno
You can’t lie to your soul.
Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects
The face you give the world tells the world how to treat you.
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.
Charles Bukowski, Factotum
My ambition is handicapped by laziness
Anthony Burgess
Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
There’s a difference between really loving someone and loving the idea of her.
Irvine Welsh
I’m not running away, I’m moving on.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.
Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity
I felt so heavy with love. I could feel it packed inside my chest.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground
Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness.
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.
Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird
Let me be, was all I wanted. Be what I am, no matter how I am.
Denis Johnson
English words are like prisms. Empty, nothing inside, and still they make rainbows.
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.
Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
As the expression goes, we spend our youth attaining wealth, and our wealth attaining youth.
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
Stay away from the ones you love too much. Those are the ones who will kill you.
Edit | Delete J G Ballard, The Day of Creation
Sooner or later, everything turns into television.
Hunter S Thomson
I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.
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.
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.
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.
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
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground
I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.
Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
I get glimpses of the horror of normalcy. Each of these innocents on the street is engulfed by a terror of their own ordinariness. They would do anything to be unique.
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.
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.
Douglas Coupland, Hey Nostradamus
In the end, I think the relationships that survive in this world are the ones where two people can finish each other’s sentences. Forget drama and torrid sex and the clash of opposites. Give me banter any day of the week.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.
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.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.
Matthew Stokoe, Cows
The Guernsey’s eyes were deep and brown and Steven knew that the curl of its lips was a small cow smile.
Patrick Süskind, The Pigeon
…he came to the conclusion that you cannot depend on people, and that you can live in peace only if you keep them at arm’s length.
Anthony Burgess, Homage To QwertYuiop: Essays
To be left alone is the most precious thing one can ask of the modern world.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.
William S Burroughs
Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
They can’t tell so much about you if you got your eyes closed.
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.
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.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.
Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream
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.
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.
Monica Drake, Clown Girl
When life sucks, throw yourself into art.
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.
Charles Bukowski, Post Office
I wanted the whole world or nothing.
James Joyce, Ulysses
A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.
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.
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.
Aldous Huxley
You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.
George Orwell, 1984
In the face of pain there are no heroes.
Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey
I’m sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.
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.
Will Self
Schadenfreude is so nutritious.
Richard Bachman, Thinner
The definition of an asshole is a guy who doesn’t believe what he’s seeing.
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.
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.
Kurt Vonnegut
Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.
Georges Bataille
In what will survive meI am in harmonywith my annihilation.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
If faces were different when lit from above or below — what was a face? What was anything?
Kelly Braffet, Save Yourself
Hate can be just as intimate as love.
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.
Philip K Dick, Martian Time-Slip
I’m not much but I’m all I have.
Aldous Huxley
Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.
Allen Ginsberg
I know too much and not enough
Kathy Acker
For the poet, the world is word. Words. Not that precisely. Precisely: the world and words fuck each other.
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.
Martin Amis, Other People
When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable
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.
Philip K Dick
If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.
Poppy Z Brite
The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.
George Orwell, 1984
Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.
Jim Carroll, Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems
I’ll Die For Your Sins If You Live For mine.
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.
Iain Banks
Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot
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.
Allen Ginsberg
Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.
Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York
I had a hunger for things I knew realistically I didn’t actually care for.
Ryū Murakami, Coin Locker Babies
They don’t realise that they’ve changed; they think it’s the world that changed.
George Orwell, 1984
Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.
Albert Camus
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
James Joyce
All Moanday, Tearday, Wailsday, Thumpsday, Frightday, Shatterday.
James Joyce, Ulysses
History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
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
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.
Kathy Acker
If you ask me what I want, I’ll tell you. I want everything.
Kurt Vonnegut, If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young
We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.
Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory
Looking at me, you’d never guess I’d killed three people. It isn’t fair.
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.
William Golding
Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.
George Orwell, 1984
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
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.
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.
D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover
A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.
Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
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.
George Orwell, 1984
Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
I’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot.
Nick Cave
People think I’m a miserable sod but it’s only because I get asked such bloody miserable questions.
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
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
Aldous Huxley
There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.
Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack
Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.
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.
Iain Banks
It’s a library, only the stupid or the evil are afraid of those
George Orwell, 1
Big Brother is Watching You.
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.
Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach
This is how the entire course of a life can be changed: by doing nothing.
Kelly Braffet, Last Seen Leaving
All he would say was that sometimes you have to burn it down and start over.
George Orwell, 1984
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
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.
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.
Allen Ginsberg
I really believe, or want to believe, really I am nuts, otherwise I’ll never be sane.
Will Self
A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.
Poppy Z Brite
Why bother? I was right all along: the second you make yourself vulnerable to someone, they start drawing blood.
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.
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.
Richard Bachman, Rage
Lunacy is when you can’t see the seams where they stitched the world together anymore.
Martin Amis, The Information
He awoke at six, as usual. He needed no alarm clock. He was already comprehensively alarmed.
Ryū Murakami
She’s like smoke:you think you’re seeing her clearly enough, but when you reach for her there’s nothing there
James Joyce
Your battles inspired me – not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.
Jack Kerouac
I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.
Philip K Dick
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’.
Albert Camus
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
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.
Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge
Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.
D H Lawrence
For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.
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.
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.
George Orwell, 1984
If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.
Ian McEwan, Saturday
You can tell a lot from a person’s nails. When a life starts to unravel, they’re among the first to go.
Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack
Logic is what the devil likes most.
Philip K Dick
The problem with introspection is that it has no end.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
Philip K Dick, VALIS
It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.
Albert Camus
Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.
William Golding
My yesterdays walk with me. They keep step, they are gray faces that peer over my shoulder.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
And so it goes…
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.
Georges Bataille, Violent Silence
I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.
George Orwell, 1984
Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.
Charles Bukowski
The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
But what I do I do because I like to do.
Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell
She looked the way a rose petal looks when you crush it between finger and thumb.
Bret Easton Ellis
Our lives are not all interconnected. That theory is a crock. Some people truly do not need to be here.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.
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).
Denis Johnson, Already Dead
I make the road. I draw the map. Nothing just happens to me…I’m the one happening.
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
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.
R D Ronald
Nothing says Christmas better than familicide and anaphylactic shock.
William S Burroughs
Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.
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.
Anaïs Nin
We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.
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.
Henry Miller
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.
Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria
Everything in the universe is everything else. A man is a killer is a saint is a monkey is a cockroach is a goldfish is a whale, and the Devil is just the angel who asked for More.
Chuck Palahniuk, Diary
We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.
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.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.
Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller
What harbor can receive you more securely than a great library?
Hunter S Thomson
Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.
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
That’s one of the drawbacks of good narcotics—they often cause you to say cheerful things.
Douglas Coupland
I don’t think anyone ever gets over anything in life; they merely get used to it.
Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird
Let me be, was all I wanted. Be what I am, no matter how I am.
J G Ballard
Unhappy parents teach you a lesson that lasts a lifetime.
Rupert Thomson, Dreams of Leaving
Her smiles were blurred, as if seen from a moving train. Her eyes always creased at the edges by dreams of leaving.
Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son
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.
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.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person.
Matthew Stokoe, Cows
The Guernsey’s eyes were deep and brown and Steven knew that the curl of its lips was a small cow smile.
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.
Sylvia Plath
Is there no way out of the mind?
Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
As the expression goes, we spend our youth attaining wealth, and our wealth attaining youth.
Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero
Disappear here
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.
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.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
They can’t tell so much about you if you got your eyes closed.
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.
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.
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
Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook
A person’s life story is equal to what they have plus what they want most in the world, minus what they’re actually willing to sacrifice for it.
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.
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.
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, 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.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.
Italo Calvino
Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness.
J G Ballard, Running Wild
In a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom.
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
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.
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.
Charles Bukowski, Factotum
My ambition is handicapped by laziness
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.
Irvine Welsh
Some people are easier to love when you don’t have to be around them.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.
Monica Drake, Clown Girl
When life sucks, throw yourself into art.
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
In this job, you learn to ignore the urge to comfort those you’re protecting.
Greg Levin, Sick to Death
We’d be dead. Big deal. Death’s not such a long drop these days. Not for us.
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.
Charles Bukowski
Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.
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.
Douglas Coupland, Hey Nostradamus
In the end, I think the relationships that survive in this world are the ones where two people can finish each other’s sentences. Forget drama and torrid sex and the clash of opposites. Give me banter any day of the week.
Greg Levin, 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.
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.
Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook
It’s taken me years of practice to learn how to act natural.
Denis Johnson
English words are like prisms. Empty, nothing inside, and still they make rainbows.
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, Tropic of Cancer
Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.
Donna Tartt, The Secret History
Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.
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.
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.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.
Hunter S Thomson
Sex without love is as hollow and ridiculous as love without sex.
Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son
I knew every raindrop by its name.
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.
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
I have found God, but he is insufficient.
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.
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.
Henry Miller
What’s a fuck when what I want is love?
Violet Levoit, I Miss The World
Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” “9/11.” “I shouldn’t even.” “No, come on.” “9/11 who?” “You swore you’d never forget.
Vladimir Nabokov
Our imagination flies — we are its shadow on the earth.
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.
William S Burroughs
In the U.S. you have to be a deviant or die of boredom.
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.
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.
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–
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.
Sylvia Plath
Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.
Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last
You have to die a few times before you can really live.
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.
Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction
What does that mean know me, know me, nobody ever knows anybody else, ever! You will never know me.
Greg Levin, The Exit Man
She had become an integral part of my life—just not the part with all the death.
R D Ronald
Today I plan to smile a lot, only so people who know me will be freaked the fuck out.
Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction
No one ever likes the right person.
Charles Bukowski, Post Office
I wanted the whole world or nothing.

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