"You’d better get busy, though, buddy. The goddam sands run out on you every time you turn around. I know what I’m talking about. You’re lucky if you get time to sneeze in this goddam phenomenal world."

— J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey

"When we think of the past it’s the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that."

— Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

"I am now 33 years old, and it feels like much time has passed and is passing faster and faster every day. Day to day I have to make all sorts of choices about what is good and important and fun, and then I have to live with the forfeiture of all the other options those choices foreclose. And I’m starting to see how as time gains momentum my choices will narrow and their foreclosures multiply exponentially until I arrive at some point on some branch of all life’s sumptuous branching complexity at which I am finally locked in and stuck on one path and time speeds me through stages of stasis and atrophy and decay until I go down for the third time, all struggle for naught, drowned by time. It is dreadful. But since it’s my own choices that’ll lock me in, it seems unavoidable—if I want to be any kind of grownup, I have to make choices and regret foreclosures and try to live with them."

— David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

"

and one must admit
that faith in any
form
is

probably
better than the

indifference of deserted
sidewalks.

"

— Charles Bukowski, “coke blues”

"My life is a reading list."

— ― John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

"

Some chapters back, one Bulkington was spoken of, a tall, newlanded mariner, encountered in New Bedford at the inn.

When on that shivering winter’s night, the Pequod thrust her vindictive bows into the cold malicious waves, who should I see standing at her helm but Bulkington! I looked with sympathetic awe and fearfulness upon the man, who in mid-winter just landed from a four years’ dangerous voyage, could so unrestingly push off again for still another tempestuous term. The land seemed scorching to his feet. Wonderfullest things are ever the unmentionable; deep memories yield no epitaphs; this six-inch chapter is the stoneless grave of Bulkington. Let me only say that it fared with him as with the storm-tossed ship, that miserably drives along the leeward land. The port would fain give succor; the port is pitiful; in the port is safety, comfort, hearthstone, supper, warm blankets, friends, all that’s kind to our mortalities. But in that gale, the port, the land, is that ship’s direst jeopardy; she must fly all hospitality; one touch of land, though it but graze the keel, would make her shudder through and through. With all her might she crowds all sail off shore; in so doing, fights ‘gainst the very winds that fain would blow her homeward; seeks all the lashed sea’s landlessness again; for refuge’s sake forlornly rushing into peril; her only friend her bitterest foe!

Know ye now, Bulkington? Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?

But as in landlessness alone resides highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God- so better is it to perish in that howling infinite, than be ingloriously dashed upon the lee, even if that were safety! For worm-like, then, oh! who would craven crawl to land! Terrors of the terrible! is all this agony so vain? Take heart, take heart, O Bulkington! Bear thee grimly, demigod! Up from the spray of thy ocean-perishing- straight up, leaps thy apotheosis!

"

— Herman Melville, Moby Dick

"And as the ax bites into the wood, be comforted in the fact that the ache in your heart and the confusion in your soul means that you are still alive, still human, and still open to the beauty of the world, even though you have done nothing to deserve it."

— Paul Harding, Tinkers

"Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent."

— Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West

"What deceived me was my own happiness; for peace is indivisible, and the surrounding world confusion found no reflection inside me. So I ceased to have any real sense of it."

— John Knowles, A Separate Peace

"

Hand, nobody told me about the weight. Why didn’t our parents tell us about the weight?

—What weight?

—The fucking weight, Hand. How does the woman Ingres live? The one from Marrakesh? If we’re vessels, and we are, then we, you and I, are overfull, and that means she’s at the bottom of a deep cold lake. How can she stand the hissing of all that water?

—We are not vessels; we are missiles.

—We’re static and we’re empty. We are overfull and leaden.

—We are airtight and we are missiles and all-powerful.

"

— Dave Eggers, You Shall Know Our Velocity!