I want to be careful not to throw all this away. This is happiness. I think this is what happiness is. I haven’t got it yet, but I can sense it out there. I feel I’m close to it. Some days, I’m so close I can almost smell it.
That sense of happiness just out beyond my reach – I’m not sure I’d grasped that exactly, but I’d got something close to it, contentment maybe, or at least a functioning routine with regular rewards.
The thought of all that happiness was hard to bear. What’s the point of happiness when all it does is throw the facts of dying into clear relief?
I looked at him on the bed. He coughed once and a trail of brownish dead blood came out of his mouth and ran down the side of his chin. Then he stopped breathing. And I thought, I’ll make sure I never end up here, either.
There was a pretty young woman I used to see pegging out sheets and I worried that she would grow old there and that no one would know how beautiful she was. And maybe she would die without ever having really lived.
And sometimes in life, I imagine, good things do happen. Most of the time, it’s the opposite, obviously. But I don’t think you should rule out the possibility that just occasionally chance might deal you a good card.
We’re not really conscious of what we’re doing most of the time.
Until we can navigate in time, I’m not sure that we can prove that what happened is real.
I breathed and breathed and did feel some calmness enter in, though it was, as always, shot with a sense of loss. Loss and fear.
I know. I was there. I saw the great void in your soul, and you saw mine.
It’s only after the change is fully formed that you can see what’s happened.
He didn’t ask himself if she was beautiful, because the physical effect of her presence made the question insignificant.
And in that history you’re trying to connect to something that once was yours – to something purer, better, something that you lost or something, maybe, that you never knew but that you feel you knew.
It was entirely silent and I tried to breathe its peace.
The thing about opium is that it makes pain or difficulty unimaginable.
A bit of the vagueness of music stops you going completely mad, I imagine.
All reality about me now appeared to be in tatters, taken down and reduced to the civil war of its particles. I held on very, very tight indeed.
How grand, to be a Doctor of whatever and to weigh up and decide people’s future.
[“What is the most real thing you can think of?”]Jacques thought for a long time before answering; he tried to weigh up what was most vital and enduring in all that he had known. Eventually, no longer smiling, he said, ‘Memory’.
Currents of desire and excitement that she had not known or thought about for years now flooded in her. She wanted him to bring alive what she had buried, and to demean, destroy, her fabricated self.
The past was suddenly rushing in on me in a way I found hard to fight.
I never for a moment considered killing myself, because it wouldn’t have achieved anything.
Until she had had children of her own she had not been able to contemplate the death of either of her parents; when the subject had arisen, in conversation or in her own imagining, she had said only: I just don’t know what I’d do.
We all operate on different levels of awareness. Half the time I don’t know what I’m doing.
I’d never chosen to be alone, but that was the way things had turned out, and I’d grown used to it.
Have you ever been lonely? No, neither have I. Solitary, yes. Alone, certainly. But lonely means minding about being on your own. I’ve never minded about it.
One thing about London is that when you step out into the night, it swallows you.
He tried to sleep, but his head was filled with the faces of lunatics, their palsied hands, their shattered eyes.
People wonder why you choose certain subjects to write about. The truth is: you don’t really. They choose you
Why take drugs specifically designed to send you insane?
Gradually the feeling wears off, and I feel swamped again by the inexplicable pettiness of being alive.
The best thing is the combined effect of nicotine with alcohol, greater than the sum of the two parts.
Oh, the sweetness of giving in, of full surrender.
I think closeness to death would be pretty exhilarating in a way, and friendship, yeh, and selflessness, a kind of selflessness, a sense of your own worthlessness, I think, is pretty exhilarating.
In the 1970s, British food was beginning to get good, whereas in France it was just starting its long, sad decline. My most memorable meals, however, have been in Italy.
A romantic is someone who believes that something is valuable even if it doesn’t last. And a non-romantic is someone who says that if something doesn’t endure, or can’t be logically proved and pinned down, it’s worthless.
My ideal relationship with the reader is that at certain points they will have said, ‘I’m finding this quite tough, but I’m going to hang in there,’ then at the end they will say, ‘Oh God, I’m glad I hung on, it was so worth it.’