“Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”—Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“Here I became aware of the world’s tenderness, the profound beneficence of all that surrounded me, the blissful bond between me and all of creation, and I realized that the joy I sought in you was not only secreted within you, but breathed around me everywhere, in the speeding street sounds, in the hem of a comically lifted skirt, in the metallic yet tender drone of the wind, in the autumn clouds bloated with rain. I realized that the world does not represent a struggle at all, or a predaceous sequence of chance events, but the shimmering bliss, beneficent trepidation, a gift bestowed upon us and unappreciated.”—Vladimir Nabokov, “Beneficience” in The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov
“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.”—Chuck Palahniuk, Choke
“Blue is the color of longing for the distances you never arrive in… in this world we actually live in, distance ceases to be distance and to be blue when we arrive in it.”—Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
“They don’t tell you in school
how experience can teach you to heal
in all the wrong ways.
I sabotage myself so well,
bolt myself in
before others can open the doors.
My words are clumsy and awkward.
People regard me like a car accident;
they can’t look away
from something so tragic.
Sometimes I forget how to be human.
I hope on those days,
you’d be willing to wait for me
to resurface.”—Tina Tran, Someday I will be better
“April was too lonely a month to spend alone. In April, everyone around me looked happy. People would throw their coats off and enjoy each other’s company in the sunshine—talking, playing catch, holding hands. But I was always by myself.”—Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
“You’re gorgeous, you old hag, and if I could give you just one gift ever for the rest of your life it would be this. Confidence. It would be the gift of confidence. Either that or a scented candle.”—David Nicholls, One Day
“Even if you come home late and I’m already asleep, just whisper in my ear one little thought you had today. Because I love the way you look at the world. And I’m so happy I get to be next to you and look at the world through your eyes.”—Theodore Twombly, Her (2013)
“There is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable… I simply am not there.”—American Psycho (2000)
“Why am I compelled to write?… Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger… To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispel the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit… Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.”—Gloria E. Anzaldúa