I shall go on shining as a brilliantly meaningless figure in a meaningless world.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned. (Charles Scribner’s Sons 1922)F. Scott Fitzgerald — The Vale of Soul-Making
I ignore and despise grammar, which is at the point of death, but I am a great reader of dictionaries and if my spelling is none too sure it’s because I am too attentive to the pronunciation, this idiosyncrasy of the living language. In the beginning was not the word, but the phrase, a modulation. Listen to the songs of birds!
– Blaise Cendars in Paris Review Interview, The Art of Fiction, no. 38.
“ I think the political and social chaos we are seeing on every side reflects an underlying biologic crisis – the end of the human line. All species are doomed from conception like all individuals. Evolution did not come to a reverend halt with Homo Sapiens. We have the technologies to re-create a broad artifact and to produce improved and variegated models designed for space conditions…”
– William S. Burroughs
When hit by boredom, go for it. Let Yourself be crushed by it; submerge, hit bottom. In general, with things unpleasant, the rule is the sooner you hit bottom, the faster you surface. The idea here, to paraphrase another great poet of the English language, is to exact full look at the worst. The reason boredom deserves scrutiny is that it represents pure undiluted time in all its repetitive, redundant, monotonous splendor.
– Joseph Brodsky in On Grief and Reason.
“You’ve nothing else to give the world which no one else can give except yourself” – Quentin Crisp
Yet to me this decaying landscape has its uses:
To make me remember, who am always inclined to forget,
That there is always a changing at the root,
And a real world in which time really passes.
— Philip Larkin, from “New Year Poem,” Collected Poems, ed. Anthony Thwaite (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1989)
The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering. – Tom Waits
And amid all this confusion I, what’s truly I, am the centre that exists only in the geometry of the abyss: I’m the nothing around which everything spins, existing only so that it can spin, being a centre only because every circle has one. I, what’s truly I, am a well without walls but with the walls’ viscosity, the centre of everything with nothing around it.
— Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet. (Penguin Classics; New Ed edition, December 31, 2002) Originally published 1982.Fernando Pessoa — The Vale of Soul-Making
I see the insipid flesh blossoming and palpitating with abandon.
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea. (New Directions Publishing Corporation January 1, 1975) Originally published 1938.
Understand me. I’m not like an ordinary world. I have my madness, I live in another dimension and I do not have time for things that have no soul.
― Charles BukowskiCharles Bukowski — The Vale of Soul-Making