You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.
WILLIAM BLAKE, “Proverbs of Hell“
Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies: God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.
KURT VONNEGUT, JR., ”God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater”
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
KURT VONNEGUT, JR., ”Mother Night”
I love to busy myself about trifles, to begin a hundred things and not finish one of them, to come and go as my fancy bids me, to change my plan every moment, to follow a fly in all its circlings, to try and uproot a rock to see what is underneath, eagerly to begin on a ten-years task and to give it up after ten minutes: in short, to fritter away the whole day inconsequentially and incoherently, and to follow nothing but the whim of the moment.
JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU, ”The Confessions”
The struggle for money in this world is the struggle for life. The rich man lives a packed life equivalent to many ordinary ones. With hired assistants, slaves, servants, secretaries, sycophants, he accomplishes things in a short time the poor man sometimes takes a year to do. A rich man’s life is a hundred times longer than that of a poor man. With money one outlives the other. Money is life itself.
KURT SIODMAK, ”Donovan’s Brain”
Lies written in ink cannot erase facts written in blood.
It was like the second when you come home late at night and see the yellow envelope of the telegram sticking out from under your door and you lean and pick it up, but don’t open it yet, not for a second. While you stand there in the hall, with the envelope in your hand, you feel like there’s an eye on you, a great big eye looking straight at you from miles and dark and through walls and houses and through your coat and vest and hide and sees you huddled up way inside, in the dark which is you, inside yourself, like a clammy, sad little foetus you carry around inside yourself. The eye knows what’s in the envelope, and it is watching you to see you when you open it and know it, too. But the clammy, sad little foetus which is you way down in the dark which is you too lifts up its sad little face and its eyes are blind, and it shivers cold inside you for it doesn’t want to know what is in that envelope. It wants to lie in the dark and not know, and be warm in its not-knowing. The end of man is knowledge, but there is one thing he can’t know. He can’t know whether knowledge will save him or kill him. He will be killed, all right, but he can’t know whether he is killed because of the knowledge which he has got or because of the knowledge he hasn’t got and which if he had it, would save him. There’s the cold in your stomach, but you open the envelope, you have to open the envelope, for the end of man is to know.
ROBERT PENN WARREN, ”All the King’s Men”
Pity me if you like, but I can’t remember even considering believing in God or Santa Claus.
“My Disappointment Critic” in The Ecstasy of Influence
No one wants to die, even people who want to go to Heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent; it clears out the old to make way for the new … Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Stanford University Commencement Address, 2005
Anyone who conceives of writing as an agreeable stroll towards a middle-class life-style will never write anything but crap.
DEREK RAYMOND, “He Died with His Eyes Open“
My feeling on the current situation of the world is very simple. I am appalled by all the hatred in the world. Given our violent history I cannot understand how humans still exist on this planet. At 23 years old I worked for Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, creating art for his TV shows and making films on world hunger. During one of his shows he created this image, Imagine if you will a long line of humanity stretching backwards. Somewhere way at the beginning of the line a slap started. The person who received the slap turned to the next person in line and slapped them. That person slapped the next person. The slap continued all the way down the line until it got to you. You took the slap and you did not pass it on. It stopped there with you. It is up to us as individuals not to pass on hate and violence and murder. Each one of us has the ability to stop the slap. It is not the responsibility of Government, politics, religion or education to stop violence and hatred in the world. The responsibility is ours, each and every one of us. If we do not do this I believe the world will end in chaos and madness and total destruction.
GREG HILDEBRANDT, “The Damned Interviews”
…most of us would rather love than be loved. Almost everyone wants to be the lover. And the curt truth is that, in a deep secret way, the state of being beloved is intolerable to many. The beloved fears and hates the lover, and with the best of reasons. For the lover is forever trying to strip bare his beloved. The lover craves any possible relation with the beloved, even if this experience can cause him only pain.
CARSON MCCULLERS, “Ballad of the Sad Cafe“
Have you ever noticed that when people give you advice, it almost always tends to be some kind of slight variation on the same decisions they made for themselves in their lives? You know why? Because they are trying to validate their own life decisions by convincing you to do the same.
He was beginning to think that these people would support gay marriage, but only between cousins.
CHESTER WONG, “Yellow Green Beret, Volume II:
Stories of an Asian-American Stumbling Around U.S. Army Special Forces”
My system was operating on a monumental supply of alcohol and a Whitman’s Sampler of chemicals, but at least I’d given up coffee.
MATTHEW MCBRIDE, “Frank Sinatra in a Blender“
Any writer who refers to books as “units” needs to be smacked in the mouth.
HEATH LOWRANCE, http://psychonoir.blogspot.com
“Imagine an iron house without windows, absolutely indestructible, with many people fast asleep inside who will soon die of suffocation. But you know since they will die in their sleep, they will not feel the pain of death. Now if you cry aloud to wake a few of the lighter sleepers, making those unfortunate few suffer the agony of irrevocable death, do you think you are doing them a good turn?”
“But if a few awake, you can’t say there is no hope of destroying the iron house.”
LU XUN, “Call to Arms“