"One can become quite used to the specter of the eternal Footman, like some lethal old bore lurking in the hallway at the end of the evening, hoping for the chance to have a word. And I don't so much object to his holding my coat in that marked manner, as if mutely reminding me that it's time to be on my way. No, it's the snickering that gets me down."

- Christopher Hitchens


‘Well suppose…suppose I were to give you a key ring with ten keys. With, no, with a hundred keys, and I were to tell you that one of these keys will unlock it, this door we’re imagining opening in onto all you want to be… How many of the keys would you be willing to try?’

‘Well I’d try every darn one,’ Rader tells Lyle.

Lyle never whispers, but it’s just about the same. ‘Then you are willing to make mistakes, you see. You are saying you will accept 99% error. The paralyzed perfectionist you say you are would stand there before that door. Jingling the keys. Afraid to try the first key.’

- David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest


"When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened."

- Mark Twain


Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.

- Donald Justice


"Language... has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone."

- Paul Tillich



From Midnights Children:

"In autobiography, as in all literature, what actually happened is less important than what the author can manage to persuade his audience to believe."

"In a country where the truth is what it is instructed to be, reality quite literally ceases to exist, so that everything becomes possible except what we are told is the case."

"This is not what I had planned; but perhaps the story you finish is never the one you begin."

"I fell victim to the temptation of every autobiographer, to the illusion that since the past exists only in one's memories and the words which strive vainly to encapsulate them, it is possible to create past events simply by saying they occurred."

From The Ground Beneath Her Feet:

"The only people who see the whole picture are the ones whe step out of the frame."

"However you get through your day in New York City, well then that's a New York kind of day, and if you're a Bombay singer singing the Bombay bop or a voodoo cab driver with zombies on the brain or a bomber from Montana or an Islamist beardo from Queens, then whatever's going through your head?, well that's a New York state of mind."

- Salman Rushdie




"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."
- Robert Brault




"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 eerything happens only 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 more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless."
- Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky




"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can."
- Herman Melville, Moby Dick




"The next time you are contemplating a decision in which you are debating whether or not to go for the gusto, ask yourself this important question: "How long am I going to be dead?" With that perspective, you can now make a free, fearless choice to do just about any goddamned sneaky thing your devious little mind can think up. Go ahead. Have your fun. You're welcome. Go on. See you in hell."
- Matt Groening




" You are my trailer park."
"And you, Anna-Louise, are my tornado."
- Douglas Coupland




"I think of a story Sean brought home from CYO camp, about an Indian brave so in love with a maiden from the tribe across the lake he tries to swim over to her and drowns. The punchline is, 'And from that day to this, it has been known as Lake Stupid.' "
- Mark O'Donnell




The laws of God, the laws of man,
He may keep that will and can;
Not I: let God and man decree
Laws for themselves and not for me;
And if my ways are not as theirs
Let them mind their own affairs.
Their deeds I judge and much condemn,
Yet when did I make laws for them?
Please yourselves, say I, and they
Need only look the other way.
But no, they will not; they must still
Wrest their neighbor to their will,
And make me dance as they desire
With jail and gallows and hell-fire.
And how am I to face the odds
Of man's bedevilment and God's?
I, a stranger and afraid
In a world I never made.
They will be master, right or wrong;
Though both are foolish, both are strong.
And since, my soul, we cannot fly
To Saturn nor to Mercury,
Keep we must, if keep we can,
These foreign laws of God and man.

- A. E. Housman




The autumn leaves are falling like rain.
Although my neighbors are all barbarians,
And you, you are a thousand miles away,
There are always two cups at my table.
-Chinese Poem, T'ang Dynasty




"Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is actually no truth to be discovered"
- H. L. Mencken




"We read that we ought to forgive our enemies; but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends."
- Francis Bacon




"If I had my life to live again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner."
- Tallulah Bankhead.




"There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse, as I have found in travelling in a stage-coach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new place."
- Washington Irving




"You don't die of a broken heart, you only wish you did."
- Marilyn Peterson




"Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it enkindles the great."
- Comte DeBussy-Rabutin




Think where man's glory most begins and ends,
And say my glory was I had such friends.
- William Butler Yeats




"So long as we love we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I would almost say that we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend."
- Robert Louis Stevenson




A friend is one who knows us, but loves us anyway.
- Father Jerome Cummings




"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
- George Bernard Shaw




"No man is the whole of himself, his friends are the rest of him."
- Harry Emerson Fosdick




"Friends applaud, the comedy is over."
- Last words of Ludwig von Beethoven




"Maybe this world is another planet’s hell."
- Aldous Huxley




"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure, and never simple."
- Oscar Wilde




"No man means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean. For words are slippery and thought is viscous."
- Henry B. Adams




"The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be."
- Socrates




"There can be no Good Will. Will is always Evil; it is persecution to others or selfishness."
- William Blake




"Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained."
- William Blake




"We call that person who has lost his father, an orphan; and a widower that man who has lost his wife. But that man who has known the immense unhappiness of losing a friend, by what name do we call him? Here every language is silent and holds its peace in impotence."
- Joseph Roux




"The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are."
- Samuel Johnson.



" Supermarket automatic doors open for me; therefore, I am."
- Craig Bruce


"We were the children of white flight, the first generation to grow up in postwar American suburbs. By the time the ’60s rolled around, many of us...were eager to make a U-turn and fly back the other way. Whether or not the city was obsolete, we couldn’t imagine our personal futures in any other form. The street and the skyline signified to us what the lawn and the highway signified to our parents: a place to breathe free."
- Herbert Muschamp