—Your Grandad lived by the phrase Moderation in all things. His garden contradicted this with its abundance of fruit and vegetables, but any excess found its way to the kitchens of friends and family. Mostly you remember the black grapes hanging like jewels from the ceiling of his greenhouse. They were full of pips and left a dryness in the mouth, but still they were highly prized.
—We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers… and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.
Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
—I’m going to teach you how to play but I tell you now, you will never ever beat me. This is what your father said when he taught you chess at the age of ten. You remember how this cooled your interest in learning, the thought of only ever being on the losing side too much for your child’s mind to bear. You remember little about the game now, except for the way the Knight moves, two then one. You prefer to play backgammon instead.
—I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive believe that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
—Before you became a writer your then husband (now ex-husband) said, You saying you’re going to be a writer is like me saying I’m going to be a rock star. You are a writer, but he doesn’t appear to be a rock star.
—Marriage […] closes the door. Your existence is confined to a narrow space in which you are constantly forced to reveal yourself.
Paul Auster, The Invention of Solitude.
—Someone you know well says, It’s obviously a good thing the Nazi’s didn’t win the war, but I tell you something, they wouldn’t have stood for all the advertisements we have now. You are shocked but still find yourself laughing at this line, and afterwards you wonder at the strange juxtaposition of these thoughts, pondering on the hazy alignment between advertising and propaganda. You love that this person is able to shock you, make you laugh and make you think, all with one sentence.
— It’s bad taste to be wise all the time, like being at a perpetual funeral.
—When your daughter was 17, her teacher said If you drop out of school now you’ll only ever work in a shop. She continued to drop out and spent a fair amount of time working as a waitress, a job she hated and was bad at. But she also had a bigger vision and worked hard on this when she wasn’t waiting tables. She is now an artist and a tattooist.
—It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
Leonardo da Vinci
When I read great literature, great drama, speeches, or sermons, I feel that the human mind has not achieved anything greater than the ability to share feelings and thoughts through language.
James Earl Jones