On Life

“You don’t have to be a house to be haunted.” –Emily Dickinson

“My darling girl, when are you going to understand that ‘normal’ isn’t a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage.” –Robin Swicord

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” –Marcus Aurelius

“There’s something about the night. It’s smaller. It lets you think.” –Cody Keenan

“Just once in a while let us exalt the importance of ideas and information.” –Edward R. Murrow

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” –Neil deGrasse Tyson

“I think we can’t go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do — by what we deny ourselves, what we resist and who we exclude. I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create and who we include.” –Pere Henri, “Chocolat”

“I wish I could Buy Time — just write a cheque, and a few days later a brown cardboard box would arrive at the door containing three months (along with an extra bonus sunny weekend for being a good customer).” –Neil Gaiman

“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” –Erasmus

“At first, I didn’t recognize the majesty in these moments, but then in this age where bigger is always better, people rarely do. That, I think, is the challenge. To know true greatness when we see it. To appreciate it when we have it. To embrace it while it lasts.” –Ben Sherwood

“It’s wonderful to be famous as long as you remain unknown.” –Henri Cartier-Bresson

“I hope that my achievements in life shall be these — that I will have fought for what was right and fair, that I will have risked for that which mattered, and that I will have given help to those who were in need, that I will have left the earth a better place for what I’ve done and who I’ve been.” –Art Hoppe

“We can deny our heritage and our history but we cannot escape responsibility for the results. We proclaim ourselves, indeed as we are the defenders of freedom wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.” –Edward R. Murrow

“Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives.” –William Dement

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover!” –Mark Twain

“I believe that every human has a finite number of heart beats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises.” –Neil Armstrong

“If you’ve never walked into a parking meter, you’re wasting valuable reading time.” –Eloise Beltz-Deck

“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” –John Burroughs

“There is no shortage of talent in this town. It lies glowing under every fallen leaf and seeps out from the center like sap from a maple. But there is something else afoot, something that walks the avenues and the streets, kicking up a fine, spirited dust, and that is drive: the vicious New York persistence, the obsessive, inexplicable lust that makes us covet and crave even that which we don’t quite understand.” –Caroline H. Dworin

“‘Never make your home in a place,’ the old man had said, too lazy in the spring warmth to do more than wag a finger. ‘Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it — memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things.’ Morgenes had grinned. ‘That way it will go with you wherever you journey. You’ll never lack for a home — unless you lose your head, of course…'” –Tad Williams

“Stuff your eyes with wonder…live as if you’d drop dead within ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that…shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on its ass.” –Ray Bradbury

“I believe in North, South, East, West, The seasons, life and death, geography. That which is provable, absolute and most of all, functional. I believe in things that can kill me.” –Henry Rollins

“Why do you believe what you believe? Who imposed it on you? Was it imposed, or did you find it out for yourself? The best knowledge, I think, is what you find out for yourself.” –Frank McCourt

“The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.” –Joseph Conrad

“Science may have found a cure for most evils, but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all: the apathy of human beings.” –Helen Keller

“Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky… Who watches every thing you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of 10 specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you, and he needs money.” –George Carlin

“Atheism is a non-prophet organization.” –George Carlin

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” –Epicurus

“Atheism is the world of reality, it is reason, it is freedom. Atheism is human concern and intellectual honesty.” –Emmett F. Fields

“I still say a church steeple with a lightening rod on top shows a lack of confidence.” –Doug McLeod

“If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a god who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.” –Isaac Asimov

“Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious. Unfortunately, we live in a world in which the obvious is overlooked as a matter of principle.” –Sam Harris

“A faith that requires you to close your mind in order to believe is not much of a faith at all.” –Rev. Patricia Templeton

“A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.” –Albert Einstein

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “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 your 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.” –Margery Williams Bianco. “The Velveteen Rabbit”

“The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.” — Peter S. Beagle, “The Last Unicorn”

On Death

“Don’t be afraid of death so much as an inadequate life.” –Bertolt Brecht

“To sleep, perchance to dream, aye, there’s the rub, For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come.” –William Shakespeare

“Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.” –Mignon McLaughlin

“Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.” –Amelia Burr

“There is no goal better than this one: to know as you lie on your deathbed that you lived your true life, and you did whatever made you happy.” –Steve Chandler

“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.” –Jimi Hendrix

“The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.” –Seneca

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come.” –Rabindranath Tagore

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge, that myth is more potent that history. I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts — that hope always triumphs over experience — that laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.” –James O’Barr, “The Crow”

“I am become Death, shatterer of worlds.” –J. Robert Oppenheimer, upon witnessing the explosion of the first atomic bomb

“Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds.” –Buddha

“I shall not die of a cold. I shall die of having lived.” –Willa Cather

“Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was, ‘Did you bring joy?’ The second was, ‘Did you find joy?'” –Leo Buscaglia

“You know the Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: ‘Did he have passion?'” –Marc Klein, “Serendipity

“Contrary to popular belief, an obituary is not an honour. It is the recording of a life that has, in some way, changed our world.” –Tim Bullamore

“Life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.” –William Goldman, “The Princess Bride”

“Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.” –A. Sachs

“Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean.” –David Searls

“Anyway: I’m not blessed or merciful. I’m just me. I’ve got a job to do and I do it. Listen: even as we’re talking, I’m there for old and young, innocent and guilty, those who die together and those who die alone. I’m in cars and boats and planes, in hospitals and forests and abattoirs. For some folks death is a release and for others death is an abomination, a terrible thing. But in the end, I’m there for all of them.” –Death, as written by Neil Gaiman

“Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatsoever to do with it.” –W. Somerset Maugham

“Death is the only grammatically correct full stop.” –Brian Patten


On Love

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” — Emily Bronte

“When you live in the shadow of insanity, the appearance of another mind that thinks and talks as yours does is something close to a blessed event.” –Robert Pirsig

“I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” –Harry Burns, “When Harry Met Sally”

“I love you between shadow and soul. I love you as the plant that hasn’t bloomed yet, and carries hidden within itself the light of flowers. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. Because of you, the dense fragrance that rises from the earth lives in my body, rioting with hunger for the eternity of our victorious kisses.” –Pablo Neruda

“Love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without. If you don’t start with that, what are you going to end up with? Fall head over heels. I say find someone you can love like crazy and who’ll love you the same way back. And how do you find him? Forget your head and listen to your heart. I’m not hearing any heart. Run the risk, if you get hurt, you’ll come back. Because the truth is, there is no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love — well, you haven’t lived a life at all. You have to try. Because if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.” –William Parrish, Meet Joe Black

“When we hold each other, in the darkness, it doesn’t make the darkness go away. The bad things are still out there. The nightmares are still walking. When we hold each other, we feel — not safe, but better. ‘It’s all right,’ we whisper. ‘I’m here. I love you.’ And we lie, ‘I’ll never leave you.’ For just a moment or two the darkness doesn’t seem so bad. When we hold each other.” –Neil Gaiman, “Hellblazer”

“Do you believe in destiny? That even the powers of time can be altered for a single purpose? That the luckiest man who walks on this earth is the one who finds true love?” –Bram Stoker, “Dracula”

“Honor and courage are matters of the bone, and what a man will kill for he will sometimes die for too. And that, o kinsmen is why a woman has broad hips. That bony basin will harbor a man and his child alike. A man’s life springs from his woman’s bones, and in her blood is his honor christened. For the sake of love alone would I walk through fire again.” –Diana Gabaldon, “The Fiery Cross”

“The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender.” –Emil Ludwig

“…then I did the simplest thing in the world. I leaned down … and kissed him. And the world cracked open.” –Agnes de Mille

“I don’t care if I burn in hell. I don’t care if you burn in hell. The past and future is a joke to me now. I see that they’re nothing. I see they ain’t here. The only thing that’s here is you. And me. I want you to come upstairs. Now. I tried to take everything last night, like you told me, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t take everything in a hundred years. It’s the way we are. We compound each other.” –Ronny Cammareri, “Moonstruck”

“You know how someone’s appearance can change the longer you know them? How a really attractive person, if you don’t like them, can become more and more ugly; whereas someone you might not have even have noticed… that you wouldn’t look at more than once… if you love them, can become the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. All you want to do is be near them.” –Brian, “The Truth About Cats and Dogs”

“You are full of love. You love with all of your soul. It’s brighter than the fire … blinding. That’s why you pull away from it … Love is pain … Love … give … forgive. Risk the pain. It is your nature.” –Jane Espenson, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”

“Nothing makes you feel more stupid than finding out you were wrong when you thought you were loved.” –A.L. Kennedy

“It’s come to my understanding that I’ll never recover from him. I’ve tried for a few years or so to pretend it wasn’t there, but during this season, all illusions fall away like the leaves.” –Kay Wren

“The quickest way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach, because then you don’t have to chop through that pesky rib cage.” –J. Jacques

“Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come.” –Matt Groening

On Work

“Journalism takes on all colors of the rainbow. It may be as fiery as the crimson morning that forewarns the storm; yellow as the saffron-hued sensation-mongering sheets that pander to minds diseased that hold the ‘story’ to be more important than the truth; dark as the pits of hell where truth and honor abideth not; or it may be as pure as sunlight that beats upon the Throne of Truth and lights the living flame of the Sword of Justice.” –Henry P. Snyder

“We each have our own stories to tell, things that happened in our lives that define us, make us who we are. I am convinced that you cannot truly become a writer until you have experienced these things for yourself. All of it, good and bad, is fodder for the muse. You went through it all for a reason, and that reason is what we do. Embrace it. Embrace your destiny. If you want to be a writer, if you want to create realistic characters and situations, then write what you know. Embrace your memories and your fears. Drive your ghosts away. Exorcise your demons. Cut yourself open, and bleed onto the page.” –Brian Keene

“The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen, or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.” –Jon Stewart

“If you let yourself sink into a narrative, the tragedy will leave a tiny but real scar deep inside.” –Aaron Ashley

“The mere habit of writing, of constantly keeping at it, of never giving up, ultimately teaches you how to write.” –Gabriel Fielding

“Take the tale in your teeth, then, and bite till the blood runs, hoping it’s not poison.” –Ursula K. Le Guin

“If my doctor told me I had only six months to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” –Isaac Asimov

“My fondest wish, I suppose, would be to die at the keyboard right after finishing a book, perhaps with a little time off to have some really good sex. It’s not, ‘Oh, thank God, this is book No. 250. I can die now.’ ” –Nora Roberts

“People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.” –Harlan Ellison

“There are two kinds of writer: those that make you think, and those that make you wonder.” –Brian Aldiss

“If there is a secret to writing, I haven’t found it yet. All I know is you need to sit down, clear your mind and hang in there.” –Mary McGrory

“Everyone has a talent. What is rare is the courage to nurture it in solitude and to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads.” –Erica Jong

“[I]n contrast to the common belief that they are the world’s greatest cynics, the best journalists are the world’s great idealists. They have experienced firsthand the great soothing balance of human existence. For every disgrace there is triumph, for every wrong there is a moment of justice, for every funeral a wedding, for every obituary a birth announcement.” –Anna Quindlen

“Once I got started I wanted the life of a writer so fiercely that nothing could stop me. I wanted the intensity, the sense of aliveness, that came from writing fiction. I’m still that way. My life is worth living when I’ve completed a good paragraph.” –Lynne Sharon Schwartz

“I write for the same reason I breathe — because if I didn’t, I would die.” –Isaac Asimov

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” –Jack London

“Whom the gods do not intend to destroy, they first make mad with poetry.” –Irving Layton

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” –Anton Chekhov

“A writer can’t just be well-educated or good at research; to build a living, breathing world with interesting characters, you have to write from the gut. I’m not saying you have to live your life like a fantasy adventure. The trick is the ability to synthesize your own everyday experiences into your fiction. Infuse your characters with believable emotions and motivations. Infuse your world with rich sensory detail. For that you have to be in touch with your own existence and your own soul, the dark and the light of it.” –Lynn Flewelling

“What lasts in the reader’s mind is not the phrase but the effect the phrase created: laughter, tears, pain, joy. If the phrase is not affecting the reader, what’s it doing there? Make it do its job or cut it without mercy or remorse.” –Isaac Asimov

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” –Neil Gaiman

“I am not really a writer. I am just someone who is haunted, and I will write the hauntings down.” –Janet Frame


For Fun

“A broken spoon may be a fork in disguise.” –Stephen King

“I don’t kill flies but I like to mess with their minds. I hold them above globes. They freak out and yell, ‘Whoa, I’m way too high!'” –Bruce Baum

“A lady came up to me on the street and pointed at my suede jacket. ‘You know a cow was murdered for that jacket?’ she sneered. I replied in a psychotic tone, ‘I didn’t know there were any witnesses. Now I’ll have to kill you too.'” –Jake Johansen

“Living hell is the best revenge.” –Adrienne E. Gusoff

“Your work is only as good as your concentra– Hey look! A cloud shaped like Snoopy!” –Martell Stroup

“If and when I finally have kids and they ask me what they should do for a living, my only advice will be — ‘Son, follow your heart, but just make sure that you can wear a cape and be taken seriously.'” –Brian Gage

“It wasn’t a dark and stormy night. It should have been, but that’s the weather for you.” –Terry Pratchett

“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny …'” –Isaac Asimov

“An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the ‘William Tell Overture’ and not think of The Lone Ranger.” –Dan Rather