Transgressive Fiction

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Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies
I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning.
Franz Kafka
Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories
The world is your oyster……too bad you’re allergic to shellfish.
Franz Kafka
I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.
Franz Kafka
All language is but a poor translation.
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth
Well if being related by internet marriage is family, I suppose we are.
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Though surely to avoid attachments for fear of loss is to avoid life.
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.
Marquis de Sade
Fuck! Is one expected to be a gentleman when one is stiff?
Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human
The weak fear happiness itself. They can harm themselves on cotton wool. Sometimes they are wounded even by happiness
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.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas
And my life went to pieces, like a love letter in the rain.
Chuck Klosterman
People who talk about their dreams are actually trying to tell you things about themselves they’d never admit in normal conversation.
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.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas
Which do you prefer, she says. Sex or Violence?I try to smile. What’s the difference, really.
Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon
The principle that the end justifies the means is and remains the only rule of political ethics; anything else is just a vague chatter and melts away between one’s fingers.
Franz Kafka
The meaning of life is that it stops.
Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human
What did he mean by “society”? The plural of human beings?
Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend
Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.
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.
Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men
You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.
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?
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me
If it hadn’t been what it was, it would’ve been beautiful.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.
Blake Butler, Three Hundred Million
Blood helicopters chopped across my slim cerebrum like fresh diamonds, rings in screaming on small hands coming awake inside my linings, each after its own way to reach beyond me.
Joan Didion, Where I Was From
I closed the box and put it in a closet.There is no real way to deal with everything we lose.
Will Christopher Baer, Penny Dreadful
A friend is like anything else. A dog, a plant. You ignore them and they tend to die on you.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories
If stealing a few saltshakers was wrong I didn’t want to be right.
Jim Carroll
You see, you just don’t knowI’m here to give you my heartAnd you want some fashion show
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.
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 Thompson
Life is a bucket of shit with a barbed wire handle.
M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine
And if all womankind banded together and took the male path, the world would turn into one huge brothel.
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.
Franz Kafka
I am free and that is why I am lost.
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.
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth
… her skills more akin to the baking of macaroons than solving the complexities of the universe.
Franz Kafka
I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.
Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon
History had a slow pulse; man counted in years, history in generations
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.
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
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild
I’m a poet, and I like my lies the way my mother used to make them.
Arthur Koestler
I went to Communism as one goes to a spring of fresh water, and I left Communism as one clambers out of a poisoned river strewn with the wreckage of flooded cities and the corpses of the drowned.
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.
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.
Jim Thompson
There are thirty-two ways to write a story, and I’ve used every one, but there is only one plot – things are not as they seem.
Paul Auster, Invisible
You’re too good for this world, and because of that the world will eventually crush you.
Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun
This I want to believe implicitly: Man was born for love and revolution.
Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory
Hate is a lack of imagination.
Blake Butler, There Is No Year
Email servers learned to laugh.
Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me
A weed is a plant out of place.
Franz Kafka
Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
We live as we dream–alone….
Joan Didion
You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.
Joan Didion, On Self-Respect
Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself.
Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands
It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth
She only wears black now and she’s umm; well she’s threatening to become a vampire.
A C Weisbecker
If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.
Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries
they’re fucking up minds they do not own.
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.
Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me
I kissed her, a long hard kiss. Because baby didn’t know it, but baby was dead, and in a way I couldn’t have loved her more.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes
The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marquis de Sade
It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas
Disappear, she says. I love that word.
Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels
If you’re not a beautiful monster, then you’re a villager
Arthur Koestler
Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.
Niccolò Machiavelli
Never was anything great achieved without danger.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.
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.
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
Arthur Nersesian, Mesopotamia
Stressful jobs, loveless marriages, bad food-most people kill themselves slowly every day.
David Peace, The Damned Utd
You wake up and for those few seconds, minutes, you forget; forget you are injured; forget you are finished.
Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy
Roads are no place for naive chickens dreaming of nirvana.
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.
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.
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.
Franz Kafka, The Trial
It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.
Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies
When a person is lucky enough to live inside a story, to live inside an imaginary world, the pains of this world disappear. For as long as the story goes on, reality no longer exists.
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.
Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto
Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time.
Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG
Do you understand why I prefer you to have a toy gun?
Niccolò Machiavelli
I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.
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.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
Martin Amis, House of Meetings
Closure is a greasy little word which, moreover, describes a nonexistent condition. The truth, Venus, is that nobody gets over anything.
George Orwell, 1984
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.
Kelly Braffet, Josie and Jack
Nature has a pretty sick sense of humor.
Allen Ginsberg
I really believe, or want to believe, really I am nuts, otherwise I’ll never be sane.
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, Violent Silence
I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.
Will Self
Schadenfreude is so nutritious.
George Orwell, 1984
We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.
Philip K Dick
The problem with introspection is that it has no end.
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.
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.
George Orwell, 1984
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
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.
Kathy Acker
For the poet, the world is word. Words. Not that precisely. Precisely: the world and words fuck each other.
Georges Bataille
In what will survive meI am in harmonywith my annihilation.
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.
D H Lawrence
For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.
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.
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.
Richard Bachman, The Long Walk
The longer you went without speaking, the harder it gets to break the silence.
George Orwell
Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey
I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.
Martin Amis, The Information
He awoke at six, as usual. He needed no alarm clock. He was already comprehensively alarmed.
Iain Banks
It’s a library, only the stupid or the evil are afraid of those
Richard Bachman, Roadwork
All places are the same unless your mind changes. There’s no magic place to get your mind right. If you feel like shit, everything you see looks like shit.
Richard Bachman, Thinner
The definition of an asshole is a guy who doesn’t believe what he’s seeing.
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.
Knut Hamsun
Love is every bit as violent and dangerous as murder.
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.
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.
George Orwell, 1984
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
Kathy Acker
If you ask me what I want, I’ll tell you. I want everything.
Ryū Murakami, In the Miso Soup
Parents, teachers, government – they all teach you how to live the dreary , deadening life of a slave, but nobody teaches you how to live normally.
Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background
Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.
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.
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.
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.
Albert Camus
Live to the point of tears.
Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates
Dreams are manifestations of identities.
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.
Dennis Cooper, The Marbled Swarm
Why is it I feel a new nostalgia for the era of the guillotine?
Ian McEwan
Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion and the beginning of morality
George Orwell
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
James Joyce
Your battles inspired me – not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
And so it goes…
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
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
Iain Banks
Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot
Albert Camus
Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.
Kurt Vonnegut
Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
Jim Carroll, Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems
I’ll Die For Your Sins If You Live For mine.
George Orwell, 1984
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
Martin Amis, London Fields
And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look and feel like shit.
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.
Knut Hamsun, Hunger
…I will exile my thoughts if they think of you again, and I will rip my lips out if they say your name once more. Now if you do exist, I will tell you my final word in life or in death, I tell you goodbye.
Nick Cave
People think I’m a miserable sod but it’s only because I get asked such bloody miserable questions.
Philip K Dick, Martian Time-Slip
I’m not much but I’m all I have.
Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.
George Orwell, 1984
If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.
D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover
A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.
Ray Bradbury
You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
Aldous Huxley
The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?
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.
George Orwell, 1984
Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.
Ian McEwan, Saturday
You can tell a lot from a person’s nails. When a life starts to unravel, they’re among the first to go.
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.
Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge
Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.
Richard Bachman, Rage
Lunacy is when you can’t see the seams where they stitched the world together anymore.
Ian McEwan, Atonement
It wasn’t only wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it was confusion and misunderstanding; above all, it was the failure to grasp the simple truth that other people are as real as you.
Iain Banks, Use of Weapons
I just think people overvalue argument because they like to hear themselves talk.
Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory
Looking at me, you’d never guess I’d killed three people. It isn’t fair.
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.
Allen Ginsberg
I know too much and not enough
George Orwell, 1984
In the face of pain there are no heroes.
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.
George Orwell, 1
Big Brother is Watching You.
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, 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.
Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York
I had a hunger for things I knew realistically I didn’t actually care for.
Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
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.
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.
Jim Carroll
Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.
Jack Kerouac
I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.
Ian McEwan, Atonement
She lay in the dark and knew everything.
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.
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.
Philip K Dick, VALIS
It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.
George Orwell, 1984
The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.
Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach
It is shaming sometimes, how the body will not, or cannot, lie about emotions.
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.
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, Fight Club
This is your life and its ending one moment at a time.
Hunter S Thomson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman
A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.
Rupert Thomson, Secrecy
Perhaps there comes a time in your life when you lose the ability to command attention, when the world starts to ignore you because it no longer believes you can have much of an effect on it.
J G Ballard, Crash
After being bombarded endlessly by road-safety propaganda it was almost a relief to find myself in an actual accident.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.
Anaïs Nin
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
In this job, you learn to ignore the urge to comfort those you’re protecting.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
I don’t want to die without any scars.
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.
Donna Tartt, The Secret History
Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.
Monica Drake, Clown Girl
When life sucks, throw yourself into art.
Sylvia Plath
Is there no way out of the mind?
Monica Drake, The Folly of Loving Life
I thought I was old, back then. I thought I was grown up. I didn’t know all my big mistakes were up ahead of me, still to come. Always.
R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree
Sometimes truths are what we run from, and sometimes they are what we seek.
R D Ronald
Anyone who says “Trust me” is the last motherfucker you should ever trust.
Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last
You have to die a few times before you can really live.
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.
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, The Bell Jar
If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.
Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet
Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony.
Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell
The fig tree had dropped its fruit all over the ground. Ripe figs lay in the dust, exploded, bloody, as if the sky had rained organs.
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
I have to return some videotapes
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).
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.
William S Burroughs
Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.
Vladimir Nabokov
Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.
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.
Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects
The face you give the world tells the world how to treat you.
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.
Italo Calvino
Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness.
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.
Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief
I don’t deserve a soul, yet I still have one. I know because it hurts.
Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction
No one ever likes the right person.
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.
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.
Douglas Coupland
I don’t think anyone ever gets over anything in life; they merely get used to it.
Anaïs Nin
Ordinary life does not interest me.
Charles Bukowski, Post Office
I wanted the whole world or nothing.
Irvine Welsh
Some people are easier to love when you don’t have to be around them.
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.
Charles Bukowski
Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.
J G Ballard, Crash
I wanted to rub the human race in its own vomit, and force it to look in the mirror.
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.
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.
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
That’s one of the drawbacks of good narcotics—they often cause you to say cheerful things.
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.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.
Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
Giving presents is one of the most possessive things we do, did you realize that? It’s the way we keep a hold on other people. Plant ourselves in their lives.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do?
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.
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.
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis
We’re waiting for a glance or a word, some acknowledgement that we are here.
Henry Miller, The Books in My Life
A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.
R D Ronald
I don’t “lol”. I tried it once but it just didn’t agree with me.
Anthony Burgess
Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.
Irvine Welsh
I’m not running away, I’m moving on.
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.
Edit | Delete J G Ballard, The Day of Creation
Sooner or later, everything turns into television.
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–
Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero
Disappear here
Greg Levin, Sick to Death
We’d be dead. Big deal. Death’s not such a long drop these days. Not for us.
Charles Bukowski
The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.
Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria
The time flies. The time flies feed on rotting clocks.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
A lot of people lacked that gift: knowing when to fuck off.
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
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
Vladimir Nabokov
My loathings are simple. stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music. My pleasures are the most intense known to man: writing and butterfly hunting.
Henry Miller
What’s a fuck when what I want is love?
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
I see what is right and approve, but I do what is wrong.
J G Ballard
Fiction is a branch of neurology: the scenarios of nerve and blood vessels are the written mythologies of memory and desire.
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.
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.
Monica Drake, Clown Girl
The only value of wasted time is knowledge.
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.
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
There’s nothing better than being the bad guy. Long enough to do some good.
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis
The world is on fire; time is a bomb.Ten thousand years are not enoughWhen so much remains to be done
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn’t believe in that. Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them. It didn’t even know they were there.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
There’s a difference between really loving someone and loving the idea of her.
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.
Bret Easton Ellis
Our lives are not all interconnected. That theory is a crock. Some people truly do not need to be here.
Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity
I’d rather wear bare skin than raw silk any day.
Henry Miller
To be joyous is to be a madman in a world of sad ghosts.
Vladimir Nabokov
Our imagination flies — we are its shadow on the earth.
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.
Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
Eroticize intelligence.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
All I know is this: nobody’s very big in the first place, and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down.
Hunter S Thomson
Sex without love is as hollow and ridiculous as love without sex.
Denis Johnson
English words are like prisms. Empty, nothing inside, and still they make rainbows.
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.
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.
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.
Philip K Dick
If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.
Ryū Murakami
Everybody wants to talk about themselves, and everybody wants to hear everybody else’s story, so we take turns playing reporter and celebrity.
Iain Banks, Use of Weapons
I just think people overvalue argument because they like to hear themselves talk.
Ian McEwan
No one knows anything, really. It’s all rented, or borrowed.
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
If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.
Ray Bradbury
You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
If faces were different when lit from above or below — what was a face? What was anything?
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.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
Allen Ginsberg
I really believe, or want to believe, really I am nuts, otherwise I’ll never be sane.
Philip K Dick, Martian Time-Slip
I’m not much but I’m all I have.
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.
Richard Bachman, The Long Walk
The longer you went without speaking, the harder it gets to break the silence.
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
The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.
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.
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.
Allen Ginsberg
Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.
Martin Amis, Other People
When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable
Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.
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.
William Golding, Pincher Martin
Worse than madness. Sanity.
George Orwell, 1984
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
Iain Banks
It’s a library, only the stupid or the evil are afraid of those
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.
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.
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.
Philip K Dick
The problem with introspection is that it has no end.
Kelly Braffet, Save Yourself
Hate can be just as intimate as love.
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.
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.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
How nice — to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.
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.
Martin Amis, The Information
He awoke at six, as usual. He needed no alarm clock. He was already comprehensively alarmed.
Kathy Acker
If you ask me what I want, I’ll tell you. I want everything.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
Nick Cave
People think I’m a miserable sod but it’s only because I get asked such bloody miserable questions.
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’.
Nick Cave
Inspiration is a word used by people who aren’t really doing anything.
Ian McEwan, Atonement
It wasn’t only wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it was confusion and misunderstanding; above all, it was the failure to grasp the simple truth that other people are as real as you.
George Orwell, 1984
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.
Will Self
A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.
George Orwell, 1984
Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.
Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York
I had a hunger for things I knew realistically I didn’t actually care for.
Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge
Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.
Dennis Cooper, Frisk
Human bodies are such garbage bags.
George Orwell
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
Aldous Huxley
You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.
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
It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.
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.
William Golding
My yesterdays walk with me. They keep step, they are gray faces that peer over my shoulder.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Mothers are all slightly insane.
George Orwell
Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
Knut Hamsun, Hunger
Truth is neither objectivity nor the balanced view; truth is a selfless subjectivity.
Poppy Z Brite, Lost Souls
If you want something, you don’t wait for the world to deal it out for you. You take it.
Poppy Z Brite
The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.
James Joyce, Ulysses
Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.
James Joyce
Shut your eyes and see.
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.
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.
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.
Kathy Acker
For the poet, the world is word. Words. Not that precisely. Precisely: the world and words fuck each other.
Ryū Murakami, Coin Locker Babies
They don’t realise that they’ve changed; they think it’s the world that changed.
Martin Amis, House of Meetings
Closure is a greasy little word which, moreover, describes a nonexistent condition. The truth, Venus, is that nobody gets over anything.
Jim Carroll
Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.
James Joyce, Ulysses
History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
Georges Bataille
In what will survive meI am in harmonywith my annihilation.
Ian McEwan, Saturday
You can tell a lot from a person’s nails. When a life starts to unravel, they’re among the first to go.
George Orwell, 1984
If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.
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.
Richard Bachman, Rage
Lunacy is when you can’t see the seams where they stitched the world together anymore.
Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays
After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Albert Camus
Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?
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, 1984
The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.
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.
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.
Ian McEwan, Atonement
She lay in the dark and knew everything.
Kurt Vonnegut
Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.
Richard Bachman, Rage
That was Dad’s life, and I was the birdshit on his windshield.
Georges Bataille, Violent Silence
I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.
George Orwell, 1984
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory
Looking at me, you’d never guess I’d killed three people. It isn’t fair.
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.
James Joyce, Ulysses
A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.
James Joyce, Ulysses
And then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will yes.
J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
I’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot.
Iain Banks
Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot
Martin Amis, London Fields
And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look and feel like shit.
Will Self
I’m going to end up like one of those old weirdos who lives in a network of tunnels burrowed through trash – yet I do not fear this.
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?
Albert Camus
Live to the point of tears.
Iain Banks, Against a Dark Background
Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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
Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
They thought to use and shame me but I win out by nature, because a true freak cannot be made. A true freak must be born.
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, Invisible Monsters
The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person.
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.
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
Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.
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.
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.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
I don’t want to die without any scars.
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.
Anthony Burgess, Homage To QwertYuiop: Essays
To be left alone is the most precious thing one can ask of the modern world.
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.
Anaïs Nin
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
But what I do I do because I like to do.
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
Stay away from the ones you love too much. Those are the ones who will kill you.
Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero
Disappear here
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.
Patrick Süskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Not a visible enthusiasm but a hidden one, an excitement burning with a cold flame.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
There is no God and we are his prophets.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.
R D Ronald
I don’t “lol”. I tried it once but it just didn’t agree with me.
Irvine Welsh, Porno
You can’t lie to your soul.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.
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.
Charles Bukowski, Factotum
My ambition is handicapped by laziness
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.
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.
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.
J G Ballard
Unhappy parents teach you a lesson that lasts a lifetime.
Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell
She looked the way a rose petal looks when you crush it between finger and thumb.
Denis Johnson, Already Dead
I make the road. I draw the map. Nothing just happens to me…I’m the one happening.
Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing
That’s one of the drawbacks of good narcotics—they often cause you to say cheerful things.
R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree
Sometimes truths are what we run from, and sometimes they are what we seek.
William S Burroughs
In the U.S. you have to be a deviant or die of boredom.
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.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.
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.
Hunter S Thomson
Sex without love is as hollow and ridiculous as love without sex.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.
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.
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, 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, 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.
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.
Greg Levin, The Exit Man
Suicide should come with a warning label: ‘Do not try this alone.’
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.
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.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
They can’t tell so much about you if you got your eyes closed.
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
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.
R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree
The craggy lines that made up the character in his face now seemed like scars of defeat, inflicted on him over time.
Anaïs Nin
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
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.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.
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.
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.
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.
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.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.
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?
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.
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.
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–
Hunter S Thomson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman
A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.
Chuck Palahniuk, Diary
We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.
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
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.
Charles Bukowski, Barfly
I don’t hate them…I just feel better when they’re not around.
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.
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.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
It’s humbling, to become the very thing you once mocked.
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.
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis
The world is on fire; time is a bomb.Ten thousand years are not enoughWhen so much remains to be done
J G Ballard, Crash
I wanted to rub the human race in its own vomit, and force it to look in the mirror.
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis
We’re waiting for a glance or a word, some acknowledgement that we are here.
Vladimir Nabokov
My loathings are simple. stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music. My pleasures are the most intense known to man: writing and butterfly hunting.
J G Ballard, Running Wild
In a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom.
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.
Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son
I knew every raindrop by its name.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.
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.
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.
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.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do?
Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity
I’d rather wear bare skin than raw silk any day.
Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity
I felt so heavy with love. I could feel it packed inside my chest.
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.
Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook
It’s taken me years of practice to learn how to act natural.
Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet
Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony.
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.
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.
Irvine Welsh
Some people are easier to love when you don’t have to be around them.
Sylvia Plath
Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
This is your life and its ending one moment at a time.

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