February 14, 2006


I used to be better about compiling these. Please don’t steal them--I’m probably going to use them at some point.

"It is better not to touch our idols: the gilt comes off on our hands."
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

"Dying for love might be pitiable, but it wasn't much different, finally, from any other kind of dying."
Richard Yates, Cold Spring Harbor

"Egypt one knows without visiting it, and China the same; but Los Angeles is unique in its bright horror."
Gore Vidal, Messiah

"Bloodless people cannot be made to bleed."
James Baldwin, Another Country

"People who go to America," said Madame Belet, "never come back."
James Baldwin, Another Country

"What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story." (current North of Sunset epigraph)
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Last Tycoon

"Men born of clay take no joy in excrement, regardless of its purveyor."
Jim Thompson, The Golden Gizmo

"Mexico is sinister and gloomy and chaotic with the special chaos of a dream."
William Burroughs in a letter to Jack Kerouac, 1951

"In the long run I guess we are all failures or we wouldn’t have the kind of world we have."
Raymond Chandler, in a letter, 1951

"At heart man depends on the picture of himself formed in the minds of others, even if the others are half-wits."
Witold Gombrowicz, Ferdydurke

"Pride will flaunt its ugliness quite as if it were beauty."
Thomas Disch, Camp Concentration

"It is a sound instinct of the common people which persuades them that with this all that needs to be said is said."
Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge

"The gods are just. No doubt. But their code of law is dictated, in the last resort, by the people who organize society; Providence takes its cue from men."
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

"Belief that everything originates in ‘matter’ is as silly as a belief in the Trinity." Leo Tolstoy


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