Neil Gaiman · 365 pages
Rating: (55.1K votes)
“When I was a child, adults would tell me not to make things up, warning me of what would happen if I did. As far as I can tell so far, it seems to involve lots of foreign travel and not having to get up too early in the morning.”
“Memory is the great deceiver. Perhaps there are some individuals whose memories act like tape recordings, daily records of their lives complete in every detail, but I am not one of them. My memory is a patchwork of occurrences, of discontinuous events roughly sewn together: The parts I remember, I remember precisely, whilst other sections seemed to have vanished completely.”
“Belinda stared into the fire for some time, thinking about what she had in her life, and what she had given up; and whether it would be worse to love someone who was no longer there, or not to love someone who was.”
“Stories are in one way or another mirrors. We use them to explain to ourselves how the world works or how it doesn’t work. Like mirrors stories prepare us for the day to come. They distract us from the things in darkness.”
“I saw her chewing gum, when I was thirteen, and I fell for her like a suicide from a bridge.”
“People talk about books that write themselves, and it's a lie. Books don't write themselves. It takes thought and research and backache and notes and more time and more work than you'd believe.”
“It is not that I was credulous, simply that I belived in all things dark and dangerous. It was part of my young creed that the night was full of ghosts and witches, hungry and flapping and dressed completely in black.”
“Sometimes you do things you regret, but there's nothing you can do about them. Times change. Doors close behind you. You move on.”
“The irritating question they ask us -- us being writers -- is: "Where do you get your ideas?"
And the answer is: Confluence. Things come together. The right ingredients and suddenly: Abracadabra!”
“Love will be an impulse that will inspire and ruin in equal measure.”
“As we write we summon little demons.”
“He died alone,' said Pious Dundas, old as Methuselah, unblinking. 'It don't matter a rat's ass whether there was anyone with him or not. He died alone.”
“It was love, I knew, and it tasted like champagne in my mind.”
“He was the boy with the book. Always and forever.”
“The end of the world is a strange concept. The world is always ending, and the end is always being averted, by love or foolishness or just plain old dumb luck.”
“She was my dream; and if you touch a dream it vanishes, like a soap bubble.”
“The converse held reassuringly true: daylight was safe. Daylight was always safe.”
“I cross two fingers, a binary precaution against hex, effective as superconductor or simple superstition.”
“Richard put away the Narnia books, convinced, sadly, that they were an allegory; that an author (whom he had trusted) had been attempting to slip something past him. He had had the same disgust with the Professor Challenger stories, when the bull-necked old professor became a convert to Spiritualistm; it was not that Richard had any problems believing in ghosts - Richard believed, with no problems or contradictions, in everything - but Conan Doyle was preaching, and it showed through the words. Richard was young, and innoncent in his fashion, and believed that authors should be trusted, and that there should be nothing hidden beneath the surface of a story.”
“If not for Death, they'd be content to simply exist, but with Death, well, their lives will have meaning.”
“Even in the pettiest, most unpromising material, she had discovered, you could find real treasures.”
“I once made up a story as a wedding present for some friends. It was about a couple who were given a story as a wedding present. It was not a reassuring story. Having made up the story, I decided that they’d probably prefer a toaster, so I got them a toaster, and to this day have not written the story down.”
“You want to know the future, love? Then wait:”
“Stories are, in one way or another, mirrors. We use them to explain to ourselves how the world works or how it doesn’t work. Like mirrors, stories prepare us for the day to come. They distract us from the things in the darkness.”
“Inside the temple Richard found a life waiting for him, all ready to be worn and lived, and inside that life, another. Each life he tried on, he slipped into and it pulled him farther in, farther away from the world he came from; one by one, existence following existence, rivers of dreams and fields of stars, a hawk with a sparrow clutched in its talons flies low above the grass, and here are tiny intricate people waiting for him to fill their heads with life, and thousands of years pass and he is engaged in strange work of great importance and sharp beauty, and he is loved, and he is honored, and then a pull, a sharp tug, and it’s…”
“Dryware, wetware, hardware, software, blackware, darkware, nightware, nightmare . . . The modem sits inviting beside the phone, red eyes. I let it rest— you can’t trust anybody these days.”
“This is the kind of thing that you wonder about when you make things up for a living. I remain unconvinced that it is the kind of activity that is a fit occupation for an adult, but it’s too late now: I seem to have a career that I enjoy which doesn’t involve getting up too early in the morning.”
“He will sweep it up—everything you left behind when you woke. And then he will burn it, to leave the stage fresh for your dreams tomorrow.”
“It happened that I had just finished co-writing a screen adaptation of Beowulf, the old English narrative poem, and was mildly surprised by the number of people who, mishearing me, seemed to think I had just written an episode of “Baywatch.” So I began retelling Beowulf as a futuristic episode of “Baywatch” for an anthology of detective stories. It seemed to be the only sensible thing to do. Look, I don’t give you grief over where you get your ideas from.”
“I ONCE READ somewhere that the odds of getting hit by lightning are one in a million. One in a friggin’ million. So, if this situation were to be viewed optimistically, I’m a pretty unique individual. But here’s the thing—I just got hit by lighting on my birthday, so optimism can go kiss pessimism’s”
“No other organism on Earth does that. Yes, yes, I understand that dolphins are very smart, but I don’t think they build libraries or even contemplate such a project.”
“I wanted to forget the past, but it refused to forget me; it waited for sleep, then cornered me.”
“ثمن الاعتراف بالخطأ باهظٌ على الدّوام.”
“That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
(Sonnet 73 (1609))”
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