"Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it-don’t cheat with it."
"I have this demon who wants me to run away screaming if I am going to be flawed, fallible. It wants me to think I’m so good I must be perfect. Or nothing. I am, on the contrary, something: a being who gets tired, has shyness to fight, has more trouble than most facing people easily. One gets used to pain. This hurts. Not being perfect hurts. So what. It’s about time. I am what I am, and have written, lived and travelled: I have been worth what I have won, but must work to be worth more. I shall not be more by wishful thinking. If I get through this year, kicking my demon down when it comes up, I’ll be able, piece by piece, to face the field of life, instead of running from it the minute it hurts. This is the month which ends a quarter of a century for me, lived under the shadow of fear: fear that I would fall short of some abstract perfection: I have often fought, fought and won, not perfection, but an acceptance of myself as having a right to live on my own human, fallible terms."
"It requires a considerable amount of unconsciousness to devote oneself unreservedly to anything. Believers, lovers, disciples perceive only one face of their deities, their idols, their masters. The worshipper remains ineluctably naive. Is there a pure feeling which fails to betray the mixture of grace and imbecility, a blissful admiration without an eclipse of the intelligence? The man who glimpses simultaneously all the aspects of a being or a thing remains forever undecided between impulse and stupor. Dissect any belief: what pomp of the heart—and how much turpitude underneath! Infinity dreamed of in the gutter retains, ineffaceable, its imprint, its stench. There is a notary in every saint, a grocer in every hero, a concierge inside the martyr. The depth of sighs conceals a grimace; sacrifices and devotions are mingled with the vapors of the earthly bordello. Consider love: is there a nobler outpouring, a rapture less suspect? Its shudders rival music, compete with the tears of solitude and of ecstasy: sublime, but a sublimity inseparable from the urinary tract: transports bordering upon excretion, a heaven of the glands, sudden sanctity of the orifices. … It takes no more than a moment of attention for this intoxication, shaken, to cast you back into the ordures of physiology, or a moment of fatigue to recognize that so much ardor produces only a variety of mucous. The waking state in our ravishments alters their flavor and transforms their victim into a visionary trampling ineffable pretexts. We cannot love and know at the same time, without love suffering and expiring under the mind’s gaze. Search your admirations, scrutinize the beneficiaries of your worship and the profiteers of your abandons: under their most disinterested thoughts you will discover self-love, the spur of fame, the thirst for domination and power. All thinkers are action’s eunuchs who take revenge for their failure by the intermediary of concepts. Born this side of the deed, they exalt or decry it, depending on whether they aspire to humanity’s gratitude or that other form of fame: its hatred; they unduly erect their own deficiencies, their own miseries to the rank of laws, their futility to the level of a principle. Thought is as much of a lie as love or faith. For the truths are frauds and the passions odors; and ultimately there is no choice except the one between what lies and what stinks."
"There were people who did not exist at all (…) and others who existed rather too much. The barman, for instance. (…) he was rather too much the barman, manipulating his shaker, opening it, and tipping yellow froth into glasses with slightly superfluous precision: he was impersonating a barman. (…) ‘Perhaps it’s inevitable; perhaps one has to choose between being nothing at all, or impersonating what one is."
"It is never too late to turn on the light. Your ability to break an unhealthy habit or turn off an old tape doesn’t depend on how long it has been running; a shift in perspective doesn’t depend on how long you’ve held on to the old view. When you flip the switch in that attic, it doesn’t matter whether its been dark for ten minutes, ten years or ten decades. The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see the things you couldn’t see before. It’s never too late to take a moment to look."