Transgressive Fiction

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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.
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.
Chuck Klosterman
People who talk about their dreams are actually trying to tell you things about themselves they’d never admit in normal conversation.
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!
Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy
The story is not in the words; it’s in the struggle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A C Weisbecker, Cosmic Banditos
Either the present part of the story slowed down a bit and waited for the past part to catch up, or the past part speeded up and overtook the present part.
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.
Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man
I hated myself and the world because I had failed to face and accept the limitations of my self and of life. In literature this refusal is called romanticism; in psychology, neurosis.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me
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.
Blake Butler
black beyond black
Megan Abbott
When you have nothing inside you, you feel everything more, and feel you can control it all.
Franz Kafka
I am a cage, in search of a bird.
Franz Kafka
I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.
Arthur Koestler
Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.
Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me
A weed is a plant out of place.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.
Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man
We got married: society’s solution to loneliness, lust and laundry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me
There’s something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls.
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth
Well if being related by internet marriage is family, I suppose we are.
Franz Kafka
I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.
Franz Kafka
I am in chains. Don’t touch my chains.
Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands
It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes
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.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.
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.
Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human
The weak fear happiness itself. They can harm themselves on cotton wool. Sometimes they are wounded even by happiness
Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy
Roads are no place for naive chickens dreaming of nirvana.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas
And my life went to pieces, like a love letter in the rain.
Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes
The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.
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.
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.
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.
Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries
they’re fucking up minds they do not own.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.
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.
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.
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.
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
It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin
It’s far less important to me to be liked these days than to be understood.
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.
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.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.
Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend
Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.
Will Christopher Baer
Sorrow is like the ocean and sometimes I wish my heart would stop.
Paul Auster, Invisible
You’re too good for this world, and because of that the world will eventually crush you.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories
If stealing a few saltshakers was wrong I didn’t want to be right.
Graham Greene, The End of the Affair
It’s a strange thing to discover and to believe that you are loved when you know that there is nothing in you for anybody but a parent or a God to love.
Arthur Nersesian, The Fuck-Up
As the components of your life are stripped away, after all the ambitions and hopes vaporize, you reach a self-reflective starkness– the repetitious plucking of a single overwound string.
Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies
All men contain several men inside them, and most of us bounce from one self to another without ever knowing who we are.
Joseph Conrad, Chance
Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.
Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me
There are things that have to be forgotten if you want to go on living.
David Peace, The Damned Utd
You wake up and for those few seconds, minutes, you forget; forget you are injured; forget you are finished.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories
Whenever I’m leaving I get sentimental for that nostalgia I know I won’t have the next day.
Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels
If you’re not a beautiful monster, then you’re a villager
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
Jim Carroll, The Petting Zoo
Back then, Billy imagined that drops of rain were unanswered prayers falling back to earth.
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, Diary of a Drug Fiend
Every one interprets everything in terms of his own experience. If you say anything which does not touch a precisely similar spot in another man’s brain, he either misunderstands you, or doesn’t understand you at all.
Franz Kafka
The meaning of life is that it stops.
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.
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.
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.
Lauren Sapala, Between the Shadow and Lo
Better than drugs that don’t last and more solid than gold, vaginas allow women to move about unmolested, in a way that men can only dream of.
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.
Paul Neilan
Nobody knows how to just shut the fuck up and look out the window anymore.
Jim Thompson
Life is a bucket of shit with a barbed wire handle.
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.
Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon
History had a slow pulse; man counted in years, history in generations
Will Self
Here we meet, on the page, naked and unadorned: shorn of class, race, gender, sexual identity, age and nationality.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
We live as we dream–alone….
Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human
What did he mean by “society”? The plural of human beings?
Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun
This I want to believe implicitly: Man was born for love and revolution.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me
Love is a kind of killing, Addy,” she says. “Don’t you know that?
Marquis de Sade
Fuck! Is one expected to be a gentleman when one is stiff?
Niccolò Machiavelli
Never was anything great achieved without danger.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Franz Kafka
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.
Marquis de Sade
In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice.
Paul Auster
You can’t put your feet on the ground until you’ve touched the sky.
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.
Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG
She was like a redneck Yoko Ono.
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.
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.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
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.
Georges Bataille, Violent Silence
I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.
Christa Faust
I hate malls. They’re like strip clubs for women. All tease and sparkle and the empty promise that if you just drop enough cash, somehow you’ll be fulfilled.
George Orwell, 1
Big Brother is Watching You.
George Orwell
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
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.
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.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Mothers are all slightly insane.
James Joyce, Ulysses
History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly
I have seen myself backward.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?
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.
Albert Camus
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
Iain Banks
Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot
George Orwell, 1984
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
James Joyce
Your battles inspired me – not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.
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.
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.
Nick Cave
I’ve always had an obligation to creation, above all.
Ryū Murakami, Coin Locker Babies
They don’t realise that they’ve changed; they think it’s the world that changed.
Allen Ginsberg
I know too much and not enough
Aldous Huxley
There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.
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.
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
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack
Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.
Allen Ginsberg
Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!
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.
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
Poppy Z Brite
Why bother? I was right all along: the second you make yourself vulnerable to someone, they start drawing blood.
Albert Camus
Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?
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.
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.
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.
George Orwell, 1984
Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.
Richard Bachman, Rage
Lunacy is when you can’t see the seams where they stitched the world together anymore.
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.
Kathy Acker
If you ask me what I want, I’ll tell you. I want everything.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
And so it goes…
Aldous Huxley
The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.
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.
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.
George Orwell, 1984
Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
George Orwell, 1984
The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.
George Orwell, 1984
Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.
George Orwell, 1984
If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.
J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey
I’m sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.
Dennis Cooper, Frisk
Human bodies are such garbage bags.
Kathy Acker
For the poet, the world is word. Words. Not that precisely. Precisely: the world and words fuck each other.
Albert Camus
Don’t walk in front of me… I may not followDon’t walk behind me… I may not leadWalk beside me… just be my friend
George Orwell, 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.
Aldous Huxley
You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.
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.
Knut Hamsun
Love is every bit as violent and dangerous as murder.
Kathy Acker, Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia
Everytime you read, you are walking among the dead, and, if you are listening, you just might hear prophecies.
Albert Camus
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
James Joyce, Ulysses
A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
Follow me, reader! Who told you that there is no true, faithful, eternal love in this world! May the liar’s vile tongue be cut out! Follow me, my reader, and me alone, and I will show you such a love!
Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background
Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.
George Orwell, 1984
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
Jack Kerouac
Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.
Dennis Cooper, The Marbled Swarm
Why is it I feel a new nostalgia for the era of the guillotine?
George Orwell, 1984
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
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.
James Joyce, Ulysses
Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.
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
The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.
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.
Ian McEwan, Atonement
She lay in the dark and knew everything.
Philip K Dick
If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.
Martin Amis, London Fields
And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look and feel like shit.
George Orwell, 1984
If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.
Nick Cave
People think I’m a miserable sod but it’s only because I get asked such bloody miserable questions.
D H Lawrence
For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.
Georges Bataille
I don’t want your love unless you know i am repulsive, and love me even as you know it.
Martin Amis, The Information
He awoke at six, as usual. He needed no alarm clock. He was already comprehensively alarmed.
George Orwell, Animal Farm
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
George Orwell, 1984
Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.
Ian McEwan
No one knows anything, really. It’s all rented, or borrowed.
George Orwell
In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
Allen Ginsberg
Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.
Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
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.
Jim Carroll
Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.
Poppy Z Brite, Wormwood: A Collection of Short Stories
You hold onto what you have; you do not give it up easily, even when you know it is poisoning you.
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.
Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach
It is shaming sometimes, how the body will not, or cannot, lie about emotions.
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.
Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.
Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays
After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
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.
Will Self
A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.
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’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot.
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.
Kurt Vonnegut
Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
If faces were different when lit from above or below — what was a face? What was anything?
Georges Bataille
The need to go astray, to be destroyed, is an extremely private, distant, passionate, turbulent truth.
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.
Greg Levin, Sick to Death
We’d be dead. Big deal. Death’s not such a long drop these days. Not for us.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.
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.
William S Burroughs
In the U.S. you have to be a deviant or die of boredom.
Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
Eroticize intelligence.
Vladimir Nabokov
Let all of life be an unfettered howl. Like the crowd greeting the gladiator. Don’t stop to think, don’t interrupt the scream, exhale, release life’s rapture.
Gillian Flynn, Dark Places
I 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.
Denis Johnson, Already Dead
I make the road. I draw the map. Nothing just happens to me…I’m the one happening.
Henry Miller, The Books in My Life
A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
Stay away from the ones you love too much. Those are the ones who will kill you.
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.
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.
William S Burroughs
Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.
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.
Monica Drake, Clown Girl
The only value of wasted time is knowledge.
Greg Levin, The Exit Man
She had become an integral part of my life—just not the part with all the death.
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.
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 Bell Jar
If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.
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.
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.
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
But what I do I do because I like to do.
Vladimir Nabokov
Our imagination flies — we are its shadow on the earth.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
There’s a difference between really loving someone and loving the idea of her.
Charles Bukowski
Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.
Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird
Let me be, was all I wanted. Be what I am, no matter how I am.
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.
J G Ballard, Running Wild
In a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom.
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.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
This is your life and its ending one moment at a time.
Hunter S Thomson
I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.
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.
Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream
He didn’t know what was defeating him, but he sensed it was something he could not cope with, something that was far beyond his power to control or even at this point in time comprehend.
R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree
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.
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.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
There is no God and we are his prophets.
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
Bret Easton Ellis
Our lives are not all interconnected. That theory is a crock. Some people truly do not need to be here.
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.
Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream
I suspect there will never be a requiem for a dream, simply because it will destroy us before we have the opportunity to mourn it’s passing.
R D Ronald, 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.
Monica Drake, Clown Girl
When life sucks, throw yourself into art.
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, 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.
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.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
They can’t tell so much about you if you got your eyes closed.
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.
Hunter S Thomson
Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.
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?
Chuck Palahniuk, Diary
We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.
Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
The truth is always an insult or a joke, lies are generally tastier. We love them. The nature of lies is to please. Truth has no concern for anyone’s comfort
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis
We’re waiting for a glance or a word, some acknowledgement that we are here.
Charles Bukowski, Barfly
I don’t hate them…I just feel better when they’re not around.
R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree
We were left with nothing because of a love like acid that ate its way through our entire family.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.
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.
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.
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).
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.
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, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
As the expression goes, we spend our youth attaining wealth, and our wealth attaining youth.
Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief
I don’t deserve a soul, yet I still have one. I know because it hurts.
Anaïs Nin
We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
A lot of people lacked that gift: knowing when to fuck off.
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.
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.
Sylvia Plath
Is there no way out of the mind?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Henry Miller
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
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.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.
Douglas Coupland
I don’t think anyone ever gets over anything in life; they merely get used to it.
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.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground
Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness.
Charles Bukowski
The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.
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.
Charles Bukowski, Post Office
I wanted the whole world or nothing.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.
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.
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.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do?
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.
Irvine Welsh, Porno
You can’t lie to your soul.
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.
Henry Miller
What’s a fuck when what I want is love?
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, American Psycho
All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.
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.
Georges Bataille, Violent Silence
I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.
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.
George Orwell
The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.
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.
Aldous Huxley
There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.
Ryū Murakami
She’s like smoke:you think you’re seeing her clearly enough, but when you reach for her there’s nothing there
Knut Hamsun, Hunger
Truth is neither objectivity nor the balanced view; truth is a selfless subjectivity.
D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover
A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.
Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York
I had a hunger for things I knew realistically I didn’t actually care for.
Kathy Acker
For the poet, the world is word. Words. Not that precisely. Precisely: the world and words fuck each other.
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.
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.
Aldous Huxley
Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.
Richard Bachman, The Long Walk
Crowd was to be pleased. Crowd was to be worshipped and feared. Ultimately, Crowd was to be made sacrifice unto.
Kurt Vonnegut
Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.
Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory
Looking at me, you’d never guess I’d killed three people. It isn’t fair.
Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays
After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Albert Camus
Live to the point of tears.
Jim Carroll, Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems
I’ll Die For Your Sins If You Live For mine.
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
We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?
George Orwell, 1984
If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.
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.
Allen Ginsberg
Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.
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.
Allen Ginsberg
Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
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.
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.
Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly
I have seen myself backward.
Georges Bataille
In what will survive meI am in harmonywith my annihilation.
Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
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
Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack
Logic is what the devil likes most.
Georges Bataille
The need to go astray, to be destroyed, is an extremely private, distant, passionate, turbulent truth.
Will Self
A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.
George Orwell, 1984
If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.
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.
Kathy Acker, Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia
Everytime you read, you are walking among the dead, and, if you are listening, you just might hear prophecies.
Georges Bataille
I don’t want your love unless you know i am repulsive, and love me even as you know it.
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.
William Golding
Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.
Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach
This is how the entire course of a life can be changed: by doing nothing.
George Orwell, 1984
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.
Richard Bachman, Thinner
The definition of an asshole is a guy who doesn’t believe what he’s seeing.
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
Kathy Acker
If you ask me what I want, I’ll tell you. I want everything.
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.
George Orwell, 1984
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey
I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.
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.
Jack Kerouac
Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.
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.
Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
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.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
How nice — to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.
Dennis Cooper, Closer
Dan thought of love as defined by books, cobwebbed and hidden from view by the past. Too bad a love like that didn’t actually exist. In the twentieth century one had to fake it.
William Golding, Pincher Martin
Worse than madness. Sanity.
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.
Nick Cave
Inspiration is a word used by people who aren’t really doing anything.
George Orwell, Animal Farm
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
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.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.
Ryū Murakami, In the Miso Soup
Parents, teachers, government – they all teach you how to live the dreary , deadening life of a slave, but nobody teaches you how to live normally.
Dennis Cooper, Frisk
Human bodies are such garbage bags.
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.
George Orwell
In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
Dennis Cooper, The Marbled Swarm
Why is it I feel a new nostalgia for the era of the guillotine?
Poppy Z Brite
Why bother? I was right all along: the second you make yourself vulnerable to someone, they start drawing blood.
Richard Bachman, The Long Walk
The longer you went without speaking, the harder it gets to break the silence.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
If faces were different when lit from above or below — what was a face? What was anything?
Ian McEwan, 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.
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.
Nick Cave
I’ve always had an obligation to creation, above all.
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.
D H Lawrence
For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.
Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach
It is shaming sometimes, how the body will not, or cannot, lie about emotions.
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.
Christa Faust
I hate malls. They’re like strip clubs for women. All tease and sparkle and the empty promise that if you just drop enough cash, somehow you’ll be fulfilled.
Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
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.
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!
George Orwell, 1984
We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.
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
You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
George Orwell, 1984
Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.
George Orwell, 1984
Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.
George Orwell, 1984
Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.
Ray Bradbury
We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
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.
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.
Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack
Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.
Poppy Z Brite
The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.
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.
Philip K Dick, VALIS
It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.
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.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.
Irvine Welsh
I’m not running away, I’m moving on.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vladimir Nabokov
Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.
Sylvia Plath
Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.
R D Ronald
I don’t “lol”. I tried it once but it just didn’t agree with me.
William S Burroughs
In the U.S. you have to be a deviant or die of boredom.
Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
Language tethers us to the world; without it we spin like atoms.
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.
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.
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.
Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria
The time flies. The time flies feed on rotting clocks.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.
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.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
I see what is right and approve, but I do what is wrong.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
Every grain of experience is food for the greedy growing soul of the artist.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
I don’t want to die without any scars.
Rupert Thomson, The Insult
There’s love and everybody talks about it, but not all of us come close to it – or, if we do, it’s not in the expected way.
Penelope Lively, How it all Began
When you are able to be with a person and there is no need to talk, something has happened.
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.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.
Monica Drake, Clown Girl
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.
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.
J G Ballard, Crash
I wanted to rub the human race in its own vomit, and force it to look in the mirror.
Edit | Delete J G Ballard, The Day of Creation
Sooner or later, everything turns into television.
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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–
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.
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.
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.
Douglas Coupland
I don’t think anyone ever gets over anything in life; they merely get used to it.
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?
Greg Levin, Sick to Death
He never praised me whenever I’d hit a home run in little league, but I kill a few people and all of the sudden I’m his idol.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.
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.
J G Ballard, Crash
After being bombarded endlessly by road-safety propaganda it was almost a relief to find myself in an actual accident.
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
Stay away from the ones you love too much. Those are the ones who will kill you.
R D Ronald
Today I plan to smile a lot, only so people who know me will be freaked the fuck out.
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.
William S Burroughs
Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.
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.
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.
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis
We’re waiting for a glance or a word, some acknowledgement that we are here.
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
Anaïs Nin
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.
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.
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.
Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero
Disappear here
Henry Miller
What’s a fuck when what I want is love?
Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire
We are most artistically caged.
Henry Miller
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
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.
Bret Easton Ellis
Our lives are not all interconnected. That theory is a crock. Some people truly do not need to be here.
Italo Calvino
Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
This is your life and its ending one moment at a time.
Irvine Welsh
Some people are easier to love when you don’t have to be around them.
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).
Chuck Palahniuk, Diary
We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.
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.
Charles Bukowski, Factotum
My ambition is handicapped by laziness
Charles Bukowski
We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
But what I do I do because I like to do.
R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree
Sometimes truths are what we run from, and sometimes they are what we seek.
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.
Anaïs Nin
Ordinary life does not interest me.
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.
Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria
Everything in the universe is everything else. A man is a killer is a saint is a monkey is a cockroach is a goldfish is a whale, and the Devil is just the angel who asked for More.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.
Monica Drake, Clown Girl
I asked the cardiologist why an electrocardiogram was called an EKG, instead of an ECG.He said, “Nazis. Nazis invented the machine.”After he left, I found a napkin on my breakfast tray and wrote that down: EKG = Nazis.
Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell
She looked the way a rose petal looks when you crush it between finger and thumb.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
I have to return some videotapes
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.
Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller
What harbor can receive you more securely than a great library?
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
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.
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
I have found God, but he is insufficient.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
It’s humbling, to become the very thing you once mocked.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
A lot of people lacked that gift: knowing when to fuck off.
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.
Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity
I felt so heavy with love. I could feel it packed inside my chest.
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.
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.
Donna Tartt, The Secret History
I suppose at one time in my life I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell.
Hunter S Thomson
Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.
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.
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.
William S Burroughs
Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.
J G Ballard
Fiction is a branch of neurology: the scenarios of nerve and blood vessels are the written mythologies of memory and desire.
Henry Miller
To be joyous is to be a madman in a world of sad ghosts.

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