English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright
English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright
We forget very easily what gives us pain.
When I began to write our story down, I thought I was writing a record of hate, but somehow the hate has got mislaid and all I know is that in spite of her mistakes and her unreliability, she was better than most. It's just as well that one of us should believe in her: she never did in herself.
Yesterday I went home with him and we did the usual things. I haven't the nerve to put them down, but I'd like to, because now when I'm writing it's already tomorrow and I'm afraid of getting to the end of yesterday. As long as I go on writing, yesterday is today and we are still together
She thought for the first time, with happiness: perhaps I have a life in people's minds when I am not there to be seen or talked to.
Sooner or later... one has to take sides – if one is to remain human.
The great advantage of being a writer is that you can spy on people. You're there, listening to every word, but part of you is observing. Everything is useful to a writer, you see - every scrap, even the longest and most boring of luncheon parties.
The sense of a small courageous community barely existing above the desert of trees, hemmed in by a sun too fierce to work under and a darkness filled with evil spirits - love was an arm round the neck, a cramped embrace in the smoke, wealth a little pile of palm-nuts, old age sores and leprosy, religion a few stones in the centre of the village where the dead chiefs lay, a grove of trees where the rice birds, like yellow and green canaries, built their nests, a man in a mask with raffia skirts dancing at burials. This never varied, only their kindness to strangers, the extent of their poverty and the immediacy of their terrors. Their laughter and their happiness seemed the most courageous things in nature.
There is an old legend that somewhere in the world every man has his double.
They think my mother's ashes are marijuana.
We most of us hesitate to make so complete a statement - we remember and we foresee and we doubt. She had no doubts. The moment only mattered. Eternity is said not to be an extension of time but an absence of time, and sometimes it seemed to me that her abandonment touched that strange mathematical point of endlessness, a point with no width, occupying no space. What did time matter - all the past and the other men she may from time to time (there is that word again) have known, or all the future in which she might be making the same statement with the same sense of truth? When I replied that I loved her too in that way, I was the liar, not she, for I never lose the consciousness of time: to me the present is never here: it is always last year or next week.
When I replied that I loved her too in that way, I was the liar, not she, for I never lose the consciousness of time: to me the present is never here: it is always last year or next week.
You are all alike, you people. You never learn the truth--that God knows nothing.
She was his like a table or a chair, but a table owned you, too - by your fingerprints.
Success is more dangerous than failure, the ripples break over a wider coastline.
The hands of the guilty don't necessarily tremble; only in stories does a dropped glass betray agitation. Tension is more often shown in the studied action.
The soap-box orators talked in the bitter cold at Marble Arch with their mackintoshes turned up around their Adam's apples, and all down the road the cad cars waited for the right easy girls, and the cheap prostitutes sat hopelessly in the shadows, and the blackmailers kept an eye open on the grass where the deeds of darkness were quietly and unsatisfactorily accomplished.
There was a tacit understanding between them that 'liquor helped'; growing more miserable with every glass one hoped for the moment of relief.
They want enough rice, I said. They don't want to be shot at. They want one day to be much the same as another. They don't want our white skins around telling them what they want.
We mustn’t complain too much of being comedians—it’s an honorable profession. If only we could be good ones the world might gain at least a sense of style. We have failed—that’s all. We are bad comedians, we aren’t bad men.
When I tried to remember her voice saying, 'Don't worry,' I found I had no memory for sounds. I couldn't imitate her voice. I couldn't even caricature it: when I tried to remember it, it was anonymous - just any woman's voice.
You are interested in a person, not in life, and people die or leave us ... But if you are interested in life it never lets you down. I am interested in the blueness of cheese. You don't do crosswords, do you, Mr. Wormold? I do, and they are like people: one reaches an end. I can finish any crossword within an hour, but I have a discovery concerning the blueness of cheese that will never come to a conclusion.
It isn't being happy together... that makes one love--it's being unhappy together.
It's a good world if you don't weaken.
Married people grow like each other.
Nothing in life now ever seems to end. Chemists tell you matter is never completely destroyed, and mathematicians tell you that if you halve each pace in crossing a room, you will never reach the opposite wall, so what an optimist I would be if I thought that this story ended here.