Colors are only names. I mean if you tell them the grass is green, it makes them start expecting the grass to look a certain way—your way—instead of some other way that may be just as good, and maybe much better.
I mean—except you—who do we know in New York except a bunch of neurotics?
I can’t be running back and forth forever between grief and high delight.
About the only thing that saves my neck when I get to feeling this way is that guilt is an imperfect form of knowledge. Just because it isn’t perfect doesn’t mean that it can’t be used. The hard thing to do is to put it to practical use, before it gets around to paralyzing you.
Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
Listen, I don’t care what you say about my race, creed, or religion, Fatty, but don’t tell me I’m not sensitive to beauty.
Listen to me, career girl. If you ever get married again, don’t tell your husband anything. Do you hear me?
He said I was unequipped to meet life because I had no sense of humor.
You know what? he said. If I were to die or something, you’d know what I would do?
He didn’t wait for me to say anything.
I’d stick around, he said. I’d stick around a while.
I don’t exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it.
I prayed for the city to be cleared of people, for the gift of being alone—a-l-o-n-e: which is the one New York prayer that rarely gets lost or delayed in channels, and in no time at all everything I touched turned to solid loneliness.
Tell everybody when you love somebody, and how much.
In my mind, I’m probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw.
I’m afraid of falling. I’m afraid of a thousand things.
It’s like being in a lunatic asylum and having another patient all dressed up as a doctor come over to you and start taking your pulse or something… It’s just awful.
Listen, if you’re not gonna be a nun or something, you might as well laugh.
Poets are always taking the weather so personally. They’re always sticking their emotions in things that have no emotions.
I think it’s the sweetest, most complimentary thing I ever heard in my life, Mrs. X said warmly to me. Her eyes sparkled with depravity.
Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.
There was a long kiss, and passion a very remote part of it. Then Ethel broke, and returned to the straight chair. Ray had begun to cry during the kiss.
I’m sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.
I like it when somebody gets excited about something. It’s nice.
I don’t really deeply feel that anyone needs an airtight reason for quoting from the works of the writers he loves, but it’s always nice, I’ll grant you, if he has one.
The fact is always obvious much too late, but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid.
The rest of us, he said, we are outwardly unbitter and inwardly unforgiving.
He was a gentleman; a twelve year-old gentleman; he was a gentleman all his life.
The worst thing that being an artist could do to you would be that it would make you slightly unhappy constantly. However, this is not a tragic situation in my opinion.
I’m a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.
We’re freaks, that’s all. Those two bastards got us nice and early and made us into freaks with freakish standards, that’s all. We’re the tattooed lady, and we’re never going to have a minute’s peace, the rest of our lives, until everybody else is tattooed, too.
An artist’s only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else’s.
I mean, they don’t seem able to love us just the way we are. They don’t seem able to love us unless they can keep changing us a little bit. They love their reasons for loving us almost as much as they love us, and most of the time more. It’s not so good that way.
For a supposedly intelligent guy, you talk like an absolute child. And I say that in all sincerity.
Let’s just try to have a marvelous time this weekend. I mean not try to analyze everything to death for once, if possible.
How terrible it is when you say I love you and the person at the other end shouts back ‘What?’
My atoms, moreover, are arranged to make me constitutionally inclined to believe that where there’s smoke there’s usually strawberry Jello, seldom fire.
Why are you breaking down, incidentally? I mean if you’re able to go into a collapse with all your might, why can’t you use the same energy to stay well and busy?
I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.
Maybe setting all this down will get him out of here. He’s been in Italy with Holden, and he’s been in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and part of Germany with me. I can’t stand it. He shouldn’t be sticking around these days.
I love you to pieces, distraction, etc.
I have so much I want to tell you, and nowhere to begin.
image – The Catcher In The Rye