TLC Treasure Chest of Quotes

‘We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and – in spite of true romance magazines – we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. i do not say lonely – at least, not all the time – but essentially, and finally, alone. this is what makes your self-respect so important, and i don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness’

William S Burroughs

“On the trees are only a few gnarled apples that the pickers have rejected. They look like the knuckles of Doctor Reefy’s hands. One nibbles at them and they are delicious. Into a little round place at the side of the apple has been gathered all its sweetness. One runs from tree to tree over the frosted ground picking the gnarled, twisted apples and filling his pockets with them. Only the few know the sweetness of the twisted apples.” 

Sherwood Anderson

“To my mind, a well-developed sense of humor is the surest indication of a person’s humanity, no matter how black and bitter that humor may be.”

Thomas Ligotti

“I’ve always liked things I can just trance out to. Because what that means is that you’ve escaped the chafe of time. Often when you’re bored, it’s that friction between you and time.”

Geoff Dyer

“If a painting really works down in your heart and changes the way you see and think and feel, you don’t think, ‘oh I love this painting because it’s universal’ ‘I love this painting because it speaks to mankind’. That’s not the reason anyone loves a piece of art. It’s a secret whisper from an alleyway. Psst, you. Hey kid. Yes, you. An individual heart shock. . . .A really great painting is fluid enought to work its way into the mind and heart through all different angles, in ways that are unique and very particular.”

Donna Tartt

“the longing for wisdom itself is wisdom’ – ‘search for a fixed point within yourself, my child, that the world cannot reach’ – regard everything that happens as a lifeless painting and do not let yourself be touched by it,” 

Gustav Meyrink

“Books fall open, you fall in. When you climb out again, you’re a bit larger than you used to be.” 

Gregory Maguire

“When that ineffable compound of depression, sadness (these two are not the same), anxiety, self-hatred, sense of failure and fear for the future begins to steal over you, start telling yourself that what you have is a hangover. You are not sickening for anything, you have not suffered a minor brain lesion, you are not all that bad at your job, your family and friends are not leagued in a conspiracy of barely maintained silence about what a s**t you are, you have not come at last to see life as it really is and there is no use crying over spilt milk.” 

Kingsley Amis

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” 

F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” 

Lewis Carroll

“Love does not dominate; it cultivates. 

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The Voice
There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.” 

Shel Silverstein

“A well-informed mind is the best security against the contagion of folly and vice. The vacant mind is ever on the watch for relief, and ready to plunge into error, to escape from the languor of idleness. Store it with ideas, teach it the pleasure of thinking; and the temptations of the world without, will be counteracted by the gratifications derived from the world within.” 

Ann Radcliffe

“We are all stories in the end, just make it a good one eh?” 

The Doctor Matt Smith

“Many people have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.” 

Chuck Palahniuk

“Grief, I’ve learned, is really love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot give. The more you loved someone, the more you grieve. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes and in that part of your chest that gets empty and hollow feeling. The happiness of love turns to sadness when unspent.  Grief is just love with no place to go.”

Jamie Anderson

“When you’ve been seriously depressed and considered suicide many times, a point comes where you think, ‘I’ve been like this many times before, and each time I’ve felt better afterward’. You get older and you realize that you’ve been through it all before.  You can see yourself doing it, and you figure it will be horrible when it’s happening, but it will pass.” 

Michael Faber

“Mescal-eaters have just that impression common among readers of “pure” poetry, that they are seeing very delightful but quite new colours, or knowing something which would be very important and interesting if they could make out just what it was.” 

William Empson

Seven Types of Ambiguity (w/thanks to Shirley Jackson for her wonderfully ambiguous short story that pointed me Mr. Empson’s way).

“Even as it applies to the individual, art is a heightened mode of existence.  It gives deeper pleasures, it consumes more quickly.  It carves upon the faces of its votaries the marks of imaginary and spiritual adventures: and though their external existence may be as quiet as a monk’s, in the long run it produces a fastidiousness, over-refinement, fatigue, and alertness of the nerves such as would not result from actual living, even if crammed with elicit passions and pleasures.”  

Thomas Mann,

Death in Venice

“Trouble is when you’re sober you don’t want to see anybody, and when you’re tight nobody wants to see you.” 

F. Scott Fitzgerald,

This Side of Paradise

“Everything in life is just for a while”.

Philip K. Dick,

A Scanner Darkly

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” 

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”


“There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest.” 

Anaïs Nin

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” 

Rob Siltanen

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!” 

Jack Kerouac

“Those who can, do; those who can’t criticize those who can.” 

Reena Heenan

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.” 

Charles Bukowski

“If I became a philosopher, if I have so keenly sought this fame for which I’m still waiting, it’s all been to seduce women basically.”

Jean-Paul Sartre

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