A minute of perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.
All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.
Any ‘artist’ makes a living by expressing what others can’t – because they’re unaware of their feelings, they’re too afraid to express those feelings, or they lack the skills to communicate and be understood.
As we grow older I always think, why didn’t I do more when I was young, why didn’t I risk more?
Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified?
Discovering the ‘impossible’ ending to a new book makes me sick with joy and relief.
Do you remember when you were 10 or 11 years old and you really thought your folks were the best? They were completely omniscient and you took their word for everything. And then you got older and you went through this hideous age when suddenly they were the devil, they were bullies, and they didn’t know anything.
Emotionally, in our minds, we get so filled with resentments where we’ve got a story about absolutely everything.
Every time I write something, I think, this is the most offensive thing I will ever write. But no. I always surprise myself.
Every woman is just a different kind of problem.
Everyone smiles with that invisible gun to their head.
Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.
Find out what you’re afraid of and go live there.
Game shows are designed to make us feel better about the random, useless facts that are all we have left of our education.
Give me rampant intellectualism as a coping mechanism.
I am the cause of all my upsets. I am my worst enemy.
I believe in something. But I don’t believe that anything can hold a grudge for long enough to condemn its creation to eternal punishment. Nobody can hold a grudge that long, even God.
I don’t care what they do with my book so long as the flippin check clears.
I don’t do much more than organise other people’s ideas and insights and thoughts, and sort of harvest them, and inventory them and present them.
I don’t know if you ever really feel like you’ve made it.
I have a lot of money.
I haven’t shoplifted since I was 13.
I just don’t want to die without a few scars.
I like to get people moving and jumping. I think it’s good to add more emotion and chaos.
I really love idiot, enlightened characters – these characters who fail to engage with the drama of their immediate circumstances; they fail to be reactive and enrolled by drama as it happens around them.
I take a lot of flak from the counter-establishment for selling out.
I think America is just so in love with conflict.
I think in a way, you’re doomed, once you can envision something. You’re sort of doomed to make it happen. I’ve found that the moment I can envision leaving a relationship, that’s usually the moment that the relationship starts to fall apart.
I think, in a way, I invented the term ‘fight club’ and that these things have always existed, but they never really had a label. Nobody had a language to apply to them. I created that language in two words and I’ve been paid a great deal of money for inventing two words and labeling something that has always been around.
I try to forget about the expectation that’s out there and the audience listening for the next thing so that I’m not trying to please them. I’ve spent a huge amount of time not communicating with those folks and denying that they exist.
I try to tell a story the way someone would tell you a story in a bar, with the same kind of timing and pacing.
I used to work in a funeral home to feel good about myself, just the fact that I was breathing.
I wanted to write about the moment when your addictions no longer hide the truth from you. When your whole life breaks down. That’s the moment when you have to somehow choose what your life is going to be about.
I will never write a sequel to anything that I will ever write.
I would say any behavior that is not the status quo is interpreted as insanity, when, in fact, it might actually be enlightenment. Insanity is sorta in the eye of the beholder.
I’m always trying to reach a transcendent point, a romantic point, but reach it in a really unconventional way, a really profane way. To get to that romantic, touching, heartbreaking place, but through a lot of acts of profanity.
I’m only confrontational with my friends.
If anything I try to write something that would be more difficult to film. I tend to see film as competition and would like instead to do what books do best.
If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character, would you slow down? Or speed up?
If I can’t be beautiful, I want to be invisible.
If I could wake up in a different place, at a different time, could I wake up as a different person?
If you don’t know what you want, you end up with a lot you don’t.
If you knew that your life was merely a phase or short, short segment of your entire existence, how would you live? Knowing nothing ‘real’ was at risk, what would you do? You’d live a gigantic, bold, fun, dazzling life. You know you would. That’s what the ghosts want us to do – all the exciting things they no longer can.
If you start in the pit of despair with these profane, awful things, even a glimmer of hope or awareness is going to occur that’s much brighter coming from this dark, awful beginning.
If you take my stuff apart, you’ll find my choruses of repetitions are picked up almost verbatim from Kurt Vonnegut, and my distanced fracture quality is all from Amy Hempel, who’s probably my favourite writer.
It seems that so much writing is being done in the nineteenth-century model, where every connection has to be thoroughly explained.
It takes a lot to get people talking in airplanes. But once they start talking, you just can’t shut them up.
It’s funny how you never think about the women you’ve had. It’s always the ones who get away that you can’t forget.
Masochism is a valuable job skill.
Maybe humans are just the pet alligators that God flushed down the toilet.
Maybe it’s our sins that give God consolation when he finally has to give us cancer.
Maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves.
Minimalism seems closest to the sophisticated storytelling of movies. Movies have really educated contemporary audiences to be the most intelligent, sophisticated audiences in history. We don’t any longer need to have the relationship between one scene and the next explained. We will figure it out ourselves.
More and more, it feels like I’m doing a really bad impersonation of myself.
My goal is more to be remembered. They’ll remember this thing and like it in the future. The trick is to stay remembered long enough for that to happen.
No matter how much you think you love somebody, you’ll step back when the pool of their blood edges up too close.
Nobody’s told me anything to date that I’ve been completely reviled by.
Only through destroying myself can I discover the greater power of my spirit.
Our Generation has had no Great war, no Great Depression. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives.
People don’t want their lives fixed. Nobody wants their problems solved. Their dramas. Their distractions. Their stories resolved. Their messed cleaned up. Because what would they have left? Just the big scary unknown.
People have to deal with their issues together; they have to expose themselves and kind of exhaust themselves.
People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.
People used what they called a telephone because they hated being close together and they were scared of being alone.
People would ask me to autograph their bodies and then the next time I’d see them on tour they’d have my autograph tattooed. I decided I wouldn’t write on people anymore, but I’d give them arms and legs and if they wanted those autographed I’d do that.
Personal identity seems like it’s just such an American archetype, from Holly Golightly re-inventing herself in ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ to Jay Gatsby in ‘The Great Gatsby.’ It seems like the sort of archetypal American issue. If you’re given the freedom to be anything, or be anyone, what do you do with it?
Reality means you live until you die. The real truth is nobody wants reality.
Since change is constant, you wonder if people crave death because it’s the only way they can get anything really finished.
Some of the best ideas I get seem to happen when I’m doing mindless manual labor or exercise. I’m not sure how that happens, but it leaves me free for remarkable ideas to occur.
Sometimes the past seems too big for the present to hold.
Sometimes you do something, and you get screwed. Sometimes it’s the things you don’t do, and you get screwed.
Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.
That saying, about how you always kill the thing you love, well, it works both ways.
The answer is there is no answer.
The lower you fall, the higher you’ll fly.
The most boring scenes are the scenes where a character is alone.
The only difference between suicide and martyrdom is press coverage.
The only thing I shy away from is non-consensual violence. I can’t write a story where someone is a simple victim because it’s boring.
The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.
The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close-up.
The world of American politics is more contentious than it has ever been in my lifetime.
There are people out there who will not read books, but somehow they’ll read my books.
There will always be an underground.
There’s a moment in every book when the book turns and it surprises me.
We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.
We are not special. We are not crap or trash, either. We just are. We just are, and what happens just happens.
We kind of deny the stages of life.
What I’m always trying to do with every book is to recreate the effect of the stories we heard as children in front of campfires and fireplaces – the ghost stories that engaged us.
What we don’t understand we can make mean anything.
When did the future switch from being a promise to a threat?
Where would Jesus be if no one had written the gospels?
Why is it you feel like a dope if you laugh alone, but that’s usually how you end up crying?
You are not a beautiful, unique snowflake… This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.
You can tell a more over-the-top incredible story if you use a nonfiction form.
You have a choice. Live or die. Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. To be or not to be.
You hear the best stories from ordinary people. That sense of immediacy is more real to me than a lot of writerly, literary-type crafted stories. I want that immediacy when I read a novel.
You must realize that one day you will die. Until then you are worthless.
You realize you have no control over how you’re perceived.
Your birth is a mistake you’ll spend your whole life trying to correct.