Transgressive Fiction

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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.

Lionel Shriver, Checker and the Derailleurs

A lot of people get so hung up on what they can’t have that they don’t think for a second about whether they really want it.

Franz Kafka

The meaning of life is that it stops.

Jim Thompson

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

Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy

Roads are no place for naive chickens dreaming of nirvana.

Aleister Crowley, Moonchild

May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall!

Arthur Nersesian, 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

Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

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

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.

Blake Butler, Scorch Atlas

Overhead the sky was melting, the cracked cream color rubbing off in cogs of brine.The fields far ahead of me in endless pudding, studded here and there with what had been: homes and houses, hair and heirlooms, habits, hallways, hauntings, hope.

Joan Didion

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.

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.

Jim Carroll, The Petting Zoo

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

Paul Auster, Oracle Night

It always stimulates me to discover new examples of my own prejudice and stupidity, to realize that I don’t know half as much as I think I do.

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.

Marquis de Sade

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

Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

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

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, Under Western Eyes

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

Arthur Koestler

Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

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

Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.

Marquis de Sade

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

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.

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.

Blake Butler, There Is No Year

Email servers learned to laugh.

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

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

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.

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.

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 Koestler, Darkness at Noon

History had a slow pulse; man counted in years, history in generations

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.

Paul Auster, Invisible

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

M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine

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

Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

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

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.

Niccolò Machiavelli

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

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.

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

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

Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me

A weed is a plant out of place.

Franz Kafka

All language is but a poor translation.

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.

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.

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

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

Arthur Nersesian, Dogrun

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

Chuck Klosterman

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

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?

Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun

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

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

We live as we dream–alone….

Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth

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

Blake Butler

black beyond black

Paul Neilan

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

Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human

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

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, Heart of Darkness

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

Paul Auster

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

Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG

She was like a redneck Yoko Ono.

David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four

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

Franz Kafka

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

Stephen Graham Jones, After the People Lights Have Gone Off

But at some point you have to just decide that if a bear’s going to eat you, a bear’s going to eat you, and then you go about your day.

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

It’s like someone who prays every night saying God’s a good listener. Just because you’re talking to us doesn’t mean we’re listening. With me and God, you never really know.

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.

Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth

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

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.

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

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

Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels

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

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.

Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend

Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.

Will Self, Grey Area

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

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.

Will Christopher Baer

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

Franz Kafka

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

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

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

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

Disappear, she says. I love that word.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.

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.

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.

Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Children live in the same world we do. To kid ourselves that we can shelter them from it isn’t just naive it’s a vanity.

Joseph Conrad, The Secret Sharer and other stories

Let them think what they liked, but I didn’t mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank — but that’s not the same thing.

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.

Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man

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

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

Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands

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

Marquis de Sade

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

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

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

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.

Megan Abbott, Dare Me

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

Aleister Crowley, Magick: Liber ABA: Book 4

One would go mad if one took the Bible seriously; but to take it seriously one must be already mad.

Will Self

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

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

Sitting on my stool I thought of a bumper sticker: “If Mean People Suck, Why Isn’t My Dick In Your Mouth?

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.

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.

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

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

Megan Abbott

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

Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory

Hate is a lack of imagination.

Franz Kafka

Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.

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.

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

And my life went to pieces, like a love letter in the rain.

A C Weisbecker

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

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

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

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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

George Orwell, Animal Farm

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

Georges Bataille, Violent Silence

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

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

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

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

Ryū Murakami

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

George Orwell, 1

Big Brother is Watching You.

Alissa Nutting, Tampa

There was something repulsive (and revealing) about talking on a cell phone while handling garbage. Why did anyone pretend human relationships had value?

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.

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, Brave New World

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

Albert Camus

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

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.

Philip K Dick, VALIS

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

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.

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

George Orwell

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

George Orwell, Animal Farm

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

William Golding, 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.

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.

Allen Ginsberg

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

Kurt Vonnegut

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

William Golding

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

Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background

Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.

George Orwell, 1984

Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.

Dennis Cooper, Frisk

Human bodies are such garbage bags.

Iain Banks, Use of Weapons

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

Jim Carroll, Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems

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

Poppy Z Brite

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Jim Carroll

Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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

George Orwell

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

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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

Knut Hamsun, Hunger

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

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.

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

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

Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

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

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.

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.

Georges Bataille

In what will survive meI am in harmonywith my annihilation.

Aldous Huxley

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

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.

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.

Allen Ginsberg

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

Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

Kathy Acker

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

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Logic is what the devil likes most.

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.

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

The problem with introspection is that it has no end.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?

Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York

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

James Joyce

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

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.

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.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Aldous Huxley

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

Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.

Kelly Braffet, Last Seen Leaving

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

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

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

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.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

Georges Bataille, Eroticism: Death and Sensuality

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

J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey

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

Georges Bataille

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

Nick Cave

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

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.

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.

George Orwell

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

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.

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.

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.

Martin Amis, Other People

When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable

D H Lawrence

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

Georges Bataille

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

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.

George Orwell, 1984

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.

Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly

I have seen myself backward.

Martin Amis, London Fields

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

Kelly Braffet, Save Yourself

Hate can be just as intimate as love.

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.

George Orwell, 1984

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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

Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

None of us really has anything to lose. That makes it easier to give away.

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.

George Orwell

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

William S Burroughs

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

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

Edit | Delete J G Ballard, The Day of Creation

Sooner or later, everything turns into television.

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.

Donna Tartt, The Secret History

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

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.

Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last

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

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.

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

I don’t want to die without any scars.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

Irvine Welsh, Porno

You can’t lie to your soul.

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.

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

When life sucks, throw yourself into art.

J G Ballard

I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Denis Johnson

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

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

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

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

Greg Levin, The Exit Man

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

Denis Johnson, Tree of Smoke

She had nothing in this world but her two hands and her crazy love for Jesus, who seemed, for his part, never to have heard of her.

William S Burroughs

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

Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

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

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

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.

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.

Irvine Welsh

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

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.

Hunter S Thomson

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

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

Greg Levin, The Exit Man

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

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.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

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.

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.

Douglas Coupland

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

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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

J G Ballard

Unhappy parents teach you a lesson that lasts a lifetime.

R D Ronald

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

Katherine Dunn, Geek Love

The truth is always an insult or a joke, lies are generally tastier. We love them. The nature of lies is to please. Truth has no concern for anyone’s comfort

R D Ronald, 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.

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

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

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

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

J G Ballard

Civilised life, you know, is based on a huge number of illusions in which we all collaborate willingly. The trouble is we forget after a while that they are illusions and we are deeply shocked when reality is torn down around us.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

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

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

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

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

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, In Wolves Clothing

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

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

The only value of wasted time is knowledge.

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.

R D Ronald

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

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.

Gillian Flynn, Dark Places

I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.

Anaïs Nin

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

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

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.

Irvine Welsh

I’m not running away, I’m moving on.

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.

Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria

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

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.

J G Ballard

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

William S Burroughs

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

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.

Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger

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

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.

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.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn’t believe in that. Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them. It didn’t even know they were there.

William S Burroughs

I don’t care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do. The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it.

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.

Anthony Burgess, Homage To QwertYuiop: Essays

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

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.

Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero

Disappear here

Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction

No one ever likes the right person.

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

Stay away from the ones you love too much. Those are the ones who will kill you.

Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire

We are most artistically caged.

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.

Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief

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

Italo Calvino

Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness.

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

J G Ballard, Running Wild

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

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.

Henry Miller

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Anaïs Nin

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

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.

R D Ronald

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

D H Lawrence

Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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.

Allen Ginsberg

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

Alissa Nutting, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls

I was like a turd inside someone who’d accidentally swallowed an engagement ring: I was nothing, yet I carried something uniquely special.

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

Allen Ginsberg

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

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.

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.

Poppy Z Brite

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

George Orwell, 1984

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.

George Orwell

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

Knut Hamsun, Hunger

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

Iain Banks, Use of Weapons

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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

Jim Carroll

Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.

Allen Ginsberg

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

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.

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.

Albert Camus

Live to the point of tears.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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

Ray Bradbury

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

Nick Cave, And the Ass Saw the Angel

Listen, ah don’t wanna speak ill of the dead but have ah told you that mah mother was a great whopping whale of a cunt? Well she was precisely that – a great whopping whale of a hog’s cunt with a dirty maggot for a brain.

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

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.

Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in High School

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

George Orwell, 1984

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

Philip K Dick, VALIS

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

George Orwell

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

Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background

Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.

Iain Banks

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

Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Mothers are all slightly insane.

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.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

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.

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.

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, Pussy, King of the Pirates

Dreams are manifestations of identities.

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

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

Matthew Stokoe, High Life

I’d done it, I’d crossed the line between accepted behavior and behavior most of the population would consider a lynching offense, and that morning I felt as real as any of the men in the Escape commercials. It had been dirty and nasty but I wanted more.

Philip K Dick

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’.

Ian McEwan, Atonement

She lay in the dark and knew everything.

Aldous Huxley

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

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.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

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.

Ryū Murakami

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

Philip K Dick

The problem with introspection is that it has no end.

D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

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

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.

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.

J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey

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

Will Self

Schadenfreude is so nutritious.

George Orwell

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

Georges Bataille

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

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.

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.

William Golding

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

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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

Aldous Huxley

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

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.

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

In the face of pain there are no heroes.

James Joyce

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

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

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

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.

Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack

Logic is what the devil likes most.

Georges Bataille, Eroticism: Death and Sensuality

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

Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly

I have seen myself backward.

Georges Bataille

In what will survive meI am in harmonywith my annihilation.

Allen Ginsberg

I know too much and not enough

Ian McEwan, Atonement

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

Richard Bachman, Thinner

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

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.

Philip K Dick

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

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.

George Orwell, 1984

Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.

George Orwell, 1984

Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.

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.

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

Georges Bataille

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

Kurt Vonnegut

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays

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

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

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

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.

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.

J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey

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

Richard Bachman, Rage

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

Albert Camus

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

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

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.

Georges Bataille, Violent Silence

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

Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

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

.

Greg Levin, The Exit Man

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

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.

William S Burroughs

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

Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet

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

Greg Levin, Sick to Death

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

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.

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.

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.

Anaïs Nin

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

Anaïs Nin

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

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Hunter S Thomson

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

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?

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.

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

When life sucks, throw yourself into art.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.

Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook

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.

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.

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

I have to return some videotapes

R D Ronald

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

Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream

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

R D Ronald

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

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.

Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects

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

Edit | Delete J G Ballard, The Day of Creation

Sooner or later, everything turns into television.

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.

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.

Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

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

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

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

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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

J G Ballard

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

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.

Henry Miller

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

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

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

Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook

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

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.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

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.

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

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

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.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

Stay away from the ones you love too much. Those are the ones who will kill you.

Denis Johnson, Already Dead

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

Denis Johnson, Tree of Smoke

She had nothing in this world but her two hands and her crazy love for Jesus, who seemed, for his part, never to have heard of her.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

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.

Henry Miller

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

Bret Easton Ellis

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.

R D Ronald

I’m the biggest critic of my own work, but sometimes you nail a chapter so good that you have to take a step back and admire that bitch.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

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.

Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief

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

Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Anthony Burgess, Homage To QwertYuiop: Essays

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

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).

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

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.

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.

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

Sylvia Plath

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

Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

I have found God, but he is insufficient.

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.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

Charles Bukowski

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

Henry Miller, The Books in My Life

A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.

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.

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

Irvine Welsh

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

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.

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

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

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.

Hunter S Thomson

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

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.

Charles Bukowski

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

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.

Patrick Süskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

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

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.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

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.

R D Ronald

Nothing says Christmas better than familicide and anaphylactic shock.

Anaïs Nin

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

Katherine Dunn, Geek Love

I get glimpses of the horror of normalcy. Each of these innocents on the street is engulfed by a terror of their own ordinariness. They would do anything to be unique.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

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

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.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

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

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.

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

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

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