1. “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” – Eric Roth (Benjamin Button)
2. “Are you angry? Punch a pillow. Was it satisfying? Not hardly. These days people are too angry for punching. What you might try is stabbing. Take an old pillow and lay it on the front lawn. Stab it with a big pointy knife. Again and again and again. Stab hard enough for the point of the knife to go into the ground. Stab until the pillow is gone and you are just stabbing the earth again and again, as if you want to kill it for continuing to spin, as if you are getting revenge for having to live on this planet day after day, alone.” – Miranda July (No One Belongs Here More than You)
3. “I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantine and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.
“I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.” – Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
4. “Sometimes life seems like a poorly designed cage within which man has been destined to be free.” – Sheldon B. Kopp (If You Meet the Buddha in the Road, Kill Him)
5. “She had the perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day.” – Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
6. “It is a good thing we only bleed on the inside, or this would be a gory, blood-smeared Earth.” – Go Ask Alice
7. “No matter how careful you are, there’s going to be the sense you missed something, the collapsed feeling under your skin that you didn’t experience it all. There’s that fallen heart feeling that you rushed right through the moments where you should’ve been paying attention. Well, get used to that feeling. That’s how your whole life will feel some day.” – Chuck Palahniuk (Invisible Monsters)
8. “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
9. “You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.” – Ernest Hemmingway (The Sun Also Rises)
10. “You do care. You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.” – JK Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
11. “So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment. We are utterly open with no one in the end—not mother and father, not wife or husband, not lover, not child, not friend. We open windows to each but we live alone in the house of the heart. Perhaps we must. Perhaps we could not bear to be so naked, for fear of a constantly harrowed heart.
“When young we think there will come one person who will savor and sustain us always; when we are older we know this is the dream of a child, that all hearts finally are bruised and scarred, scored and torn, repaired by time and will, patched by force of character, yet fragile and rickety forevermore, no matter how ferocious the defense and how many bricks you bring to the wall.
“You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman’s second glance, a child’s apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words “I have something to tell you,” a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother’s papery ancient hand in the thicket of your hair, the memory of your father’s voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children.” – Brian Doyle (Joyas Voladoras)
12. “So this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I don’t know how that could be.” – Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
13. “I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.” – TS Eliot (The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock)
14. “The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost (A Servant to Servants)
15. “No matter how often I think I can’t stand it anymore, I always do. There is no alternative. I don’t fall, I don’t foam at the mouth, faint, collapse or die. It’s the same for all of us. You can’t get out of the inside of your own head. Something keeps you going. Something always does.” – Janice Galloway (The Trick is to keep breathing)
16. “My whole wretched life swam before my weary eyes, and I realized no matter what you do it’s bound to be a waste of time in the end so you might as well go mad.” – Jack Kerouac (On the Road)
17. “She burned too bright for this world.” – Emily Brontë (Wuthering Heights)
18. “I’ve always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.” – David Benioff (City of Thieves)
19. “It was like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you’ve made, and there’s this panic because you don’t know yet the scale of disaster you’ve left yourself open to.” – Kazuo Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go)