Inspiration Quotes

I collect quotes. I underline them, repeat them in my head, scribble them in notebooks, scribble them on notebooks. Most of The Lettuce Novel (as it was called then) was written in a red Moleskine notebook. As the novel came to an end, I began transcribing the quotes I had used for inspiration on the soft cahier cover.


That notebook currently lives in Los Angeles, so until I fetch it, I don’t have an exact list of the quotes used. Here are my recollections and my best guesses:

“The brain may take advice, but not the heart, and love, having no geography, knows no boundaries.” – Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms

“The true beloveds of this world are in their lovers’s eyes lilacs opening, ship lights, school bells, a landscape, remembered conversations, friends, a child’s Sunday, lost voices, one’s favourite suit, autumn and all seasons, memory, yes, it being the earth and water of existence, memory.” -Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms

“I’m very scared, Buster. Yes, at last. Because it could go on forever. Not knowing what’s yours until you’ve thrown it away. The mean reds, they’re nothing. The fat woman, she nothing. This, though; my mouth’s so dry, if my life depended on it I couldn’t spit.” – Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

[For those of you who do not know me personally, I have a bit of an obsession with Truman Capote, who is my favorite writer. I throw a birthday party in his honor every year.]

“One minute was enough, Tyler said, a person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort.  A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.” -Chuck Pahlaniuk, Fight Club

“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” -Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

“But because things change. And friends leave. And life doesn’t stop for anybody.” -Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“Everything we do is a choice. Oatmeal or cereal, highway or sidestreets, kiss her or keep her. We make choices, and we live with consequences. If someone gets hurt along the way, we ask for forgiveness, it’s the best anyone can do.” -Pushing Daisies

“And so it will go on, so long as children are gay and innocent and heartless.”  – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

“Mais, quand d’un passé ancien rien ne subsiste, après la mort des êtres, après la destruction des choses, seules, plus frêles mais plus vivaces, plus immatérielles, plus persistantes, plus fidèles, l’odeur et la saveur restent encore longtemps, comme des âmes, à se rappeler, à attendre, à espérer, sur la ruine de tout le reste, a porter sans flécher sur leur gouttelette presque impalpable, l’édifice immense du souvenir.” -Marcel Proust, Du coté chez Swann

[My Translation: But, when of an ancient past nothing remains, after the death of beings, after the destruction of things, only, more fragile but more vibrant, more immaterial, more persistent, more loyal, the odor and taste remains still a long time, like souls, to remember, to wait, to hope, over the ruin of all the rest, a nearly impalpable droplet, the immense edifice of memory.]

“Il y a toujours des raisons au meurtre d’un homme. Il est, au contraire, impossible de justifier qu’il vive.” -Albert Camus, La Chute

[My Translation: There are always reasons to murder a man. It is, on the contrary, impossible to justify that he lives.]

“Qui décidera de ce qui est plus horrible à voir, ou des cœurs desséchées ou des crânes vides?” -Honoré de Balzac, Le Père Goriot

[My Translation: Who will decide what is more horrible to see, shriveled hearts or empty minds?]



And this last one, which is incredibly long, which I committed to heart at fifteen. I still consider it the best last page of a novel.

“But this is all a chasing after the wind. The essence of the suicides consisted not of sadness or mystery but simple selfishness. The girls took into their own hands decisions better left to God. They became too powerful to live among us, too self-concerned, too visionary, too blind. What lingered after them was not life, which always overcomes natural death, but the most trivial list of mundane facts: a clock ticking on a wall, a room dim at noon, and the outrageousness of a human being thinking only of herself. Her brain going dim to all else, but flaming up in precise points of pain, personal injury, lost dreams. Every other loved one receding a though across a vast ice floe, shrinking to black dots waving tiny arms, out of hearing. Then the rope thrown over the beam, the sleeping pill dropped in the palm with the long, lying lifeline, the window thrown open, the oven turned on, whatever. They made us participate in their own madness, because we couldn’t help but retrace their steps, rethink their thoughts, and see that none of them led to us. We couldn’t imagine the emptiness of a creature who put a razor to her wrists and opened her veins, the emptiness and the calm. And we had to smear our muzzles in their last traces, of mud marks on the floor, trunks kicked out from under them, we had to breathe forever the air of the rooms in which they killed themselves. It didn’t matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls, but only that we had loved them, and that they hadn’t heard us calling, still do not hear us, up here in the tree house, with our thinning hair and soft bellies, calling them out of those rooms where they went to be alone for all time, alone in suicide, which is deeper than death, and where we will never find the pieces to put them back together. ” -Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides


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