Transgressive Fiction

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Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries

they’re fucking up minds they do not own.

M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine

And if all womankind banded together and took the male path, the world would turn into one huge brothel.

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.

Franz Kafka, The Trial

It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.

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.

Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes

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

Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies

Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.

Will Self

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

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.

Joan Didion

You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.

Marquis de Sade

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

Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.

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.

Marquis de Sade

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

Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

I thought at the time that I couldn’t be horrified anymore, or wounded. I suppose that’s a common conceit, that you’ve already been so damaged that damage itself, in its totality, makes you safe.

Paul Auster, The 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.

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.

Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human

What did he mean by “society”? The plural of human beings?

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.

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.

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.

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

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

Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man

Give up all hope, all illusion, all desire..I’ve tried. I’ve tried and still I desire, I still desire not to desire and hope to be without hope and have the illusion I can be without illusions..Give up, I say. Give up everything, including the desire to be saved.

Arthur Nersesian, Mesopotamia

Stressful jobs, loveless marriages, bad food-most people kill themselves slowly every day.

Megan Abbott, Dare Me

If it hadn’t been what it was, it would’ve been beautiful.

Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun

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

Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth

… her skills more akin to the baking of macaroons than solving the complexities of the universe.

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.

Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy

Kugel was a firm believer that death was not always a bad thing – that life often reached such levels of crapitude that dying was preferable to living.

Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands

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

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.

Joan Didion, On Self-Respect

Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself.

David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four

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

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.

Arthur Koestler

The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.

Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG

Do you understand why I prefer you to have a toy gun?

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.

Arthur Nersesian, Manhattan Loverboy

The masses-I love em-they rush for red lights, risking everything to capture a few seconds, only to get home and waste their lives.

Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Though surely to avoid attachments for fear of loss is to avoid life.

Marquis de Sade

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

Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth

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

Jim Thompson

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

Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon

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

Marquis de Sade

Fuck! Is one expected to be a gentleman when one is stiff?

Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories

It takes more than one kick in the pants to reverse a lifetime of unplanned apathy.

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

Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less.

Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies

All men contain several men inside them, and most of us bounce from one self to another without ever knowing who we are.

Franz Kafka

I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.

Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory

Hate is a lack of imagination.

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.

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.

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

We live as we dream–alone….

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

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

Franz Kafka

All language is but a poor translation.

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.

Franz Kafka

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.

Stephen Graham Jones, After the People Lights Have Gone Off

Each moment, the world washes its hands of you, starts all over again. Easy as that. Wonderful as that.

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.

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.

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.

Niccolò Machiavelli

Never was anything great achieved without danger.

Franz Kafka

Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.

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.

Will Christopher Baer

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

A C Weisbecker

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

Blake Butler, There Is No Year

Email servers learned to laugh.

Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man

It’s the way a man chooses to limit himself that determines his character. A man without habits, consistency, redundancy – and hence boredom – is not human. He’s insane.

Marquis de Sade

It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure

Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human

Whenever I was asked what I wanted my first impulse was to answer “Nothing.” The thought went through my mind that it didn’t make any difference, that nothing was going to make me happy.

Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

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

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.

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.

Niccolò Machiavelli

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

David Peace, The Damned Utd

You wake up and for those few seconds, minutes, you forget; forget you are injured; forget you are finished.

Paul Auster, Invisible

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

Marquis de Sade

My manner of thinking, so you say, cannot be approved. Do you suppose I care? A poor fool indeed is he who adopts a manner of thinking for others!

Thomas Pluck, Dark City Lights

I worked all day in back of a hot van snipping off dog balls, I can cut one more pair.

Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy

Roads are no place for naive chickens dreaming of nirvana.

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

Disappear, she says. I love that word.

Megan Abbott

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

Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy

In other words: It seems to me that I will always be happy in the place where I am not. Or, more bluntly: Wherever I am not is the place where I am myself. Or else, taking the bull by the horns: Anywhere out of the world.

Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me

There are things that have to be forgotten if you want to go on living.

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

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

Blake Butler

black beyond black

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.

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.

Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man

Tell me the manner in which a patient commits suicide and I’ll tell you how he can be cured

Blake Butler, Three Hundred Million

I put the girl’s teeth shaped like my mother’s teeth into my own mouth and on her teeth I chewed until I heard my own teeth in my head breaking and I swallowed and I smiled.

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.

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.

Arthur Koestler

Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.

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.

Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels

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

Franz Kafka

There is an infinite amount of hope in the universe … but not for us.

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!

Jim Carroll

You see, you just don’t knowI’m here to give you my heartAnd you want some fashion show

Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

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

Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy

The story is not in the words; it’s in the struggle.

George Orwell, 1984

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

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.

Richard Bachman, Roadwork

All places are the same unless your mind changes. There’s no magic place to get your mind right. If you feel like shit, everything you see looks like shit.

Georges Bataille

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

James Joyce

Shut your eyes and see.

George Orwell, 1984

The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.

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.

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Mothers are all slightly insane.

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.

Jack Kerouac

Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Aldous Huxley

Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.

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.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

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.

Richard Bachman, Thinner

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

Albert Camus

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

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.

Richard Bachman, Rage

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

George Orwell, 1984

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

Iain Banks

Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot

Philip K Dick

The problem with introspection is that it has no end.

Nick Cave

Inspiration is a word used by people who aren’t really doing anything.

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.

Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in High School

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

Dennis Cooper, The Marbled Swarm

Why is it I feel a new nostalgia for the era of the guillotine?

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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

Philip K Dick, VALIS

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

D H Lawrence, The Complete Poems

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.

George Orwell, 1984

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

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

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.

James Joyce

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

Ryū Murakami, Coin Locker Babies

They don’t realise that they’ve changed; they think it’s the world that changed.

George Orwell, 1

Big Brother is Watching You.

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

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

Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates

Dreams are manifestations of identities.

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.

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.

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.

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

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

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

This is how the entire course of a life can be changed: by doing nothing.

D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

Knut Hamsun, Hunger

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

Albert Camus

Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

Allen Ginsberg

I know too much and not enough

William Golding, Pincher Martin

Worse than madness. Sanity.

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

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

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

I am always saying “Glad to’ve met you” to somebody I’m not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.

Dennis Cooper, Closer

Dan thought of love as defined by books, cobwebbed and hidden from view by the past. Too bad a love like that didn’t actually exist. In the twentieth century one had to fake it.

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.

Iain Banks, Use of Weapons

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

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.

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

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

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.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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

Georges Bataille, Violent Silence

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

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.

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.

Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York

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

Martin Amis, The Information

He awoke at six, as usual. He needed no alarm clock. He was already comprehensively alarmed.

Philip K Dick

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

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

Dennis Cooper, Frisk

Human bodies are such garbage bags.

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.

Will Self

Schadenfreude is so nutritious.

J D Salinger, Franny and Zooey

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

Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

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

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.

Richard Bachman, The Long Walk

The longer you went without speaking, the harder it gets to break the silence.

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.

Knut Hamsun

Love is every bit as violent and dangerous as murder.

Albert Camus

Live to the point of tears.

Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

Kurt Vonnegut

Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum.

Ray Bradbury

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

Greg Levin, Sick to Death

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

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.

J G Ballard, Crash

I wanted to rub the human race in its own vomit, and force it to look in the mirror.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.

Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief

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

Denis Johnson

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

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

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.

R D Ronald

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

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

I asked the cardiologist why an electrocardiogram was called an EKG, instead of an ECG.He said, “Nazis. Nazis invented the machine.”After he left, I found a napkin on my breakfast tray and wrote that down: EKG = Nazis.

Vladimir Nabokov

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

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

Anaïs Nin

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

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

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

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

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

Henry Miller

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

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.

Irvine Welsh, Porno

You can’t lie to your soul.

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.

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

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.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

He knows that you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.

Anaïs Nin

Ordinary life does not interest me.

William S Burroughs

In the U.S. you have to be a deviant or die of boredom.

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.

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

I felt so heavy with love. I could feel it packed inside my chest.

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.

Greg Levin, The Exit Man

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

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.

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.

J G Ballard

Unhappy parents teach you a lesson that lasts a lifetime.

Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria

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

Edit | Delete J G Ballard, The Day of Creation

Sooner or later, everything turns into television.

R D Ronald

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

William S Burroughs

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

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.

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

Sometimes truths are what we run from, and sometimes they are what we seek.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

A lot of people lacked that gift: knowing when to fuck off.

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Patrick Süskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.

Henry Miller, The Books in My Life

A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

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

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.

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.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.

Hunter S Thomson

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

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

The only value of wasted time is knowledge.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.

R D Ronald

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

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.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

There is no God and we are his prophets.

Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son

I knew every raindrop by its name.

Anthony Burgess, Homage To QwertYuiop: Essays

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

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.

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.

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.

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

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

Irvine Welsh

I’m not running away, I’m moving on.

Henry Miller

Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.

Chuck Palahniuk, 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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.

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.

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).

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.

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.

Henry Miller

To be joyous is to be a madman in a world of sad ghosts.

Charles Bukowski

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

Bret Easton Ellis

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

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.

Irvine Welsh

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

Hunter S Thomson

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.

William S Burroughs

Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

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

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly

I have seen myself backward.

Nick Cave

I’ve always had an obligation to creation, above all.

Ryū Murakami, Coin Locker Babies

They don’t realise that they’ve changed; they think it’s the world that changed.

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.

William Golding

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

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.

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

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.

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, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

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

Ian McEwan

No one knows anything, really. It’s all rented, or borrowed.

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

George Orwell, 1984

We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.

Philip K Dick, Martian Time-Slip

I’m not much but I’m all I have.

George Orwell, 1984

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

George Orwell, 1984

Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.

Kelly Braffet, Save Yourself

Hate can be just as intimate as love.

Georges Bataille

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

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.

Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays

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

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.

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.

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.

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.

Richard Bachman, Thinner

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

James Joyce

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

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.

Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York

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

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.

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.

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

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

Kathy Acker

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

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.

Ray Bradbury

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

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.

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.

Albert Camus

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

James Joyce

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

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.

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.

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

James Joyce, Ulysses

A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.

Iain Banks

Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot

Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in High School

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

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.

Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory

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

Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than rebellion.

George Orwell, 1984

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

Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates

Dreams are manifestations of identities.

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.

Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

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.

James Joyce, Ulysses

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

George Orwell, Animal Farm

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

Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York

I don’t like him…he makes me feel like he’s going to throw me in a coffin and walk around on top of it.

George Orwell, 1984

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

Dennis Cooper, Closer

Dan thought of love as defined by books, cobwebbed and hidden from view by the past. Too bad a love like that didn’t actually exist. In the twentieth century one had to fake it.

Albert Camus

Live to the point of tears.

Philip K Dick, VALIS

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

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.

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.

Ian McEwan, Atonement

She lay in the dark and knew everything.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

James Joyce

Shut your eyes and see.

Ian McEwan

Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion and the beginning of morality

Knut Hamsun

Love is every bit as violent and dangerous as murder.

Martin Amis, Other People

When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable

J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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

Allen Ginsberg

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

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.

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.

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

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

Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

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

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.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

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

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.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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

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.

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.

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.

Jack Kerouac

Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.

Aldous Huxley

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

Aldous Huxley

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

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

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

Ryū Murakami

Everybody wants to talk about themselves, and everybody wants to hear everybody else’s story, so we take turns playing reporter and celebrity.

Poppy Z Brite, 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.

George Orwell, Animal Farm

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

Aldous Huxley

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

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.

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

The only value of wasted time is knowledge.

Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

There’s a difference between really loving someone and loving the idea of her.

R D Ronald

Nothing says Christmas better than familicide and anaphylactic shock.

Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

Eroticize intelligence.

Vladimir Nabokov

Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.

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

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.

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, The Rules of Attraction

What does that mean know me, know me, nobody ever knows anybody else, ever! You will never know me.

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).

R D Ronald

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

Rupert Thomson, The Five Gates of Hell

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

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.

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.

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.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

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

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.

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

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.

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.

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.

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?

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

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

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

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.

Irvine Welsh, Porno

You can’t lie to your soul.

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.

William S Burroughs

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

Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.

Denis Johnson

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

Henry Miller

To be joyous is to be a madman in a world of sad ghosts.

R D Ronald

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

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, 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.

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

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

Charles Bukowski

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

Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects

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

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

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

Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

I have found God, but he is insufficient.

Douglas Coupland

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

Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger

Giving presents is one of the most possessive things we do, did you realize that? It’s the way we keep a hold on other people. Plant ourselves in their lives.

Henry Miller, The Books in My Life

A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From the Underground

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

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

When life sucks, throw yourself into art.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

A lot of people lacked that gift: knowing when to fuck off.

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.

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.

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.

Bret Easton Ellis

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

Henry Miller

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

Hunter S Thomson

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

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.

Monica Drake, Clown Girl

I asked the cardiologist why an electrocardiogram was called an EKG, instead of an ECG.He said, “Nazis. Nazis invented the machine.”After he left, I found a napkin on my breakfast tray and wrote that down: EKG = Nazis.

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.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

There is no God and we are his prophets.

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.

R D Ronald, The Elephant Tree

Sometimes truths are what we run from, and sometimes they are what we seek.

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.

Greg Levin, In Wolves Clothing

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

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.

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.

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.

Greg Levin, Sick to Death

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

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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

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.

Penelope Lively, How it all Began

When you are able to be with a person and there is no need to talk, something has happened.

J G Ballard, Running Wild

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

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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

Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief

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

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.

Vicki Hendricks, Miami Purity

I felt so heavy with love. I could feel it packed inside my chest.

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.

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.

Anaïs Nin

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

Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction

No one ever likes the right person.

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

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.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

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

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

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

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.

Patrick Süskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

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

Italo Calvino

Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness.

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.

Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream

There’s a sorrow and pain in everyone’s life, but every now and then there’s a ray of light that melts the loneliness in your heart and brings comfort like hot soup and a soft bed.

William S Burroughs

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.

Anaïs Nin

Ordinary life does not interest me.

Anaïs Nin

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

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

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

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