Thought Catalog

All My Favorite Quotes, Ever

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Once upon a time, I was considered to be a highly “promising” young writer. In fact, I was supposed to write a novel. This didn’t happen for several reasons — one of which was that I am simply not very good at making things up; which, as far as I can tell, is a major component of writing a novel. Another reason is my love for daytime television, which is highly distracting.

Also, I got distracted by reading the imaginary reviews for my unwritten novel, and then composing imaginary responses to, say, the letters page of The New York Times Book Review: “…Mr. Franzen has entirely failed to grasp the central message of my book ‘This Is the Meaning of Everything,” failing to comprehend that in fact my novel is actually deliberately anti-ironic in intent…” And so on and so forth.

The final reason that I never wrote a novel is that I got distracted by finding epigraphs — i.e., pithy little quotes — for my unwritten book. Man, do I love me some pithy little quotes! And finding epigraphs is wa-aaay easier than, say, writing a novel — for the simple reason that someone else has already written the quotes. So by the time I was done, I had like fifty quotes, but no book.

So here is part of what I like to call “The Quote Board” — an ancient MS Word document containing all my favorite quotes ever. I share this with you in the spirit of open-sourcing, in the hopes that you, O Gentle Reader, will add your own favorite quotes in the comment section below, and thus the journey will continue.

I should also note that I didn’t bother to look some of the quotes up, and so fucked some of them up badly from memory. Especially the quote from Aliens, which there’s really no excuse for, fucking up a quote from Aliens like that. So here is…

_____

THE QUOTE BOARD

_____

Go too far in every direction; cross every firebreak, and then cross that one. Pile extremity upon extremity, and then more extremity, and then more.

–Martin Amis, London Fields

 

If personality is a successful series of unbroken gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened reactivity to hope… such as I have never seen before, and never hope to see again.

–F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

 

Shut up, he explained.

–Ring Lardner

 

Hold onto the here, the now, through which the future plunges into the past.

–James Joyce, Ulysses

 

And no more turn aside and brood

Upon love’s bitter mystery;

For Fergus rules the brazen cars,

And rules the shadows of the wood,

And the white breast of the dim sea,

And all disheveled wandering stars…

–W.B. Yeats

 

Do you know it? Do you know what it is that I’m going to tell you?

–Flann O’Brian

 

Let them say what they liked, but I didn’t mean to drown myself. I meant to swim until I sank – but that’s not the same thing.

–Joseph Conrad, The Secret Sharer

 

Suicide is the night train, speeding your way towards darkness. You won’t get there so fast, not by normal means. You take your ticket, and you climb on board. It’s a one-way ticket, but it costs everything that you have. It’s the night train.

–Martin Amis, Night Train

 

When I remember that dizzy summer, that dull, stupid, lovely, dire summer, it seems that in those days I ate my lunches, smelled another’s skin, noticed a shade of yellow, even simply sat, with greater lust and hopefulness — and that I lusted with greater faith, hoped with greater abandon. The people I loved were celebrities, surrounded by rumor and fanfare; the places I sat with them, movie lots and monuments. No doubt all of this is not true remembrance but the ruinous work of nostalgia, which obliterates the past, and no doubt, as usual, I have exaggerated everything.

–Michael Chabon, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

 

These were people I would never have spoken to out of this room, but here, at the party, I loathed them more than I thought possible.

–Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction

 

I say we nuke this place and get the hell out of here.

–Lt. Ripley, Aliens

 

GOOD ANGEL: And now, poor soul, must thy good angel leave thee.

(Music. The throne descends.)

The gates of Hell are open to receive thee.

(Exit. Hell is discovered.)

–Christopher Marlowe, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus

 

Alas, my friends.

He looked not like the ruins of his former self,

But like the ruins of those ruins.

–John Ford, The Broken Heart

 

Now I dream of the soft touch of women, the songs of birds, the smell of soil crumbling between my fingers, and the brilliant green of plants that I diligently nurture. I am looking for land to buy and I will sow it with deer and wild pigs and birds and cottonwoods and sycamores and build a pond and the ducks will come and fish will rise in the early evening light and take the insects into their jaws. There will be paths through this forest and you and I will lose ourselves in the soft curves and folds of the ground. We will come to the water’s edge and there will be a small, unobtrusive sign that says, THIS IS THE REAL WORLD… AND WE ARE ALL IN IT. …I am not making this up, it will all really happen, it is all already happening.

–Charles Bowden, Blood Orchid

 

First of all:

—I am tired, I am true of heart!

And also:

—You are tired, you are true of heart!

–Dave Eggers

 

Nothing can come from nothing.

–William Shakespeare

 

Where you have nothing, there you should want nothing.

–Samuel Beckett

 

The process of getting shot by a bullet is very interesting and I think deserves to be described in great detail.

–David Markson

 

“You hear that? The kid here says he’s never been crazy yet.”

“He’s got a lot coming to him.”

–Ernest Hemingway

 

Where are my women now, with their wild wet ways, and their songs?

–Denis Johnson

 

Thy fingers make early flowers of all things.

Thy hair mostly the hours love.

A silence that sings, saying–

Though life be but a day,

We will go a-Maying.

–e.e. cummings

 

Brown hair is sweet,

Brown hair over the mouth blown…

–T.S. Eliot, Ash Wednesday

 

And meanwhile, time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look, and feel, like shit. You got that? And meanwhile, time goes about its immemorial work, of making everyone look — and feel — like shit.

–Martin Amis, London Fields

 

Prediction? Pain.

–Mr. T, Rocky III

 

“Baby, when you were young and your heart was an open book, you used to say live and let live. You know you did, you know you did, you know you did.”

–Bret Easton Ellis, Glamorama

 

And the days are not long enough,

And the nights are not long enough,

And life slips by like a field mouse,

Not even shaking the grass.

–Ezra Pound

 

A. A violent order is disorder; and

B. A great disorder is an order. These

Two things are one. (Pages of illustrations.)

–Wallace Stevens

 

It is difficult

to get the news from poems

yet men die miserably every day

for lack

of what is found there.

–William Carlos Williams

 

…As I sd to my

friend, because I am

always talking, –John, I

 

sd, which was not his

name, the darkness sur-

rounds us, what

 

can we do against

it, or else, shall we &

why not, buy a goddamn big car,

 

drive, he sd, for

christ’s sake, look

out where yr going.

–Robert Creeley

 

And Jesus said: Become passers-by.

–The Gospel of Thomas

______

 

…And so that’s “The Quote Board”!  Remember to leave your own favorite quotes in the comments. Or just leave comments bitching about how I “wrote” a “column” that is mainly other people’s quotes. Both options are good. TC mark

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    • Anonymous

      Bob had bitch tits. -Fight Club

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      experience is a well-dressed curse – henry rollins

    • Lea Ennuyer

      I had a flashback of something that never existed – Louise Bourgeois

    • Sophia

      I liked this. It was refreshing.
      my favourite quote:

      “I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the sahdes, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.” –Sylvia Plath

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arturo-Galarza/1242596 Arturo Galarza

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    • http://twitter.com/Jeweledelephant Sharron

      Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
      ~J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye

      I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions – Augusten Burroughs Magical Thinking: True Stories

       I could go on for hours, but those are 2 of my favourites.

      • guest

        lol wow those are the 2 quotes on my fb

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      “you suck” – did

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      “The bees in my stomach are dead and getting used to it.” –Richard Brautigan

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      “Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

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    • Guest

      The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other’s names.- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 

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      “You can have freedom or you can have peace. Don’t ever count on having both at once.”  -Heinlein

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      “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
       

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      “A man must dream a long time in order to act with grandeur, and dreaming is nursed in darkness.” – Jean Genet

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      The basis of optimism is sheer terror. -Oscar Wilde, T.P. of D.G.

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      “There’s nobody to batter when your mind is your might So when you go solo you hold your own hand And remember that depth is the greatest of heights”
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    • Nicole

      Damnit, I love you. Good day, TC. Good day.

    • heehee

      i think loving a quote from a certain person is our way of appreciating ourselves, and what we believe – especially at such an early stage in our life (lives). idk like back in the day, people were fullly formed by 20 or 25 or whatever, because they only lived til 40 or 50, but now we have another 40 years to uncover ourselves and to develop what/who it is that we are. and idk maybe people who lived in the times when life expectancy was only 40-50 yrs old developed faster than us, maybe they didnt (and the work they presented was only a half formed version of their ultimate selves) but i know we have so much to explore, and so much to offer because of how long we get to look at and think about how we view the world

      my favorite quote of the minute (and this changes every 3 months basically on the dot) is:
      No great art has ever been made without the artist having known danger. – rainer maria rilke (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainer_Maria_Rilke)

      i don’t particularly like poetry – which is significant when living by the worlds of Rilke – but he had an outlook of life that i can identify with (especially as an American who has lived in England for a school year and fell in love with it)(still fucking drunk)

    • http://twitter.com/jessicapippin Jessica Pippin

      These are all really great. Here’s one:

      “Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed” 
      -Alexander Pope

    • Carpenter

      “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” -Robin Williams
      “I desire the things that will destroy me in the end.” – Sylvia Plath
      “I tried to think of all these crazy ideas to create the illusion… and then I thought of my craziest idea of all. And that was to actually do it.” – David Blaine

    • JGS

      “let heaven exist, though my own place may be in hell”

    • Woyzeck

       “Always judge a man by his depravities. Virtues can be faked. Depravities are real.” – Klaus Kinski.

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      “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

      -The Velveteen Rabbit

    • Acmemidnight

      When asked why the movie Jaws was so terrifying to theater audiences (could it be that the womb is a place of water and we associate water with safety…what Jungian analyses could we possibly attribute…blah blah blah) Kingsley Amis summed it up best – “It’s about being bloody frightened of being eaten by a bloody great shark.”

      • Oliver Miller

        Good ol’ Kingsley.

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