“The crystalline days of March, that rarest of seasons, came like a benediction, regal and scented with cedar and pine. Needle-cold winds rinsed every impurity from the air, so clear you could see the mountain ranges all the way to Riverside, crisp and defined as a paint-by-numbers kit, windclouds pluming off their powdered flanks like a PBS show about Everest. The news said snowline was down to four thousand feet. These were ultramarine days, trimmed in ermine, and the nights showed all their ten thousand stars, gleaming overhead like a proof, a calculus woven on the warp and weft of certain fundamental truths.”

White Oleander, Janet Fitch

“We were as Hansel and Gretel and we ventured out into the black forest of the world. There were temptations and witches and demons we never dreamed of and there was splendor we only partially imagined. No one could speak for these two young people nor tell with any truth of their days and nights together. Only Robert and I could tell it. Our story, as he called it.”

Just Kids, Patti Smith

“Why can’t I write something that would awaken the dead? That pursuit is what burns most deeply. I got over the loss of his desk and chair, but never the desire to produce a string of words more precious than the emeralds of Cortes. Yet I have a lock of his hair, a handful of his ashes, a box of his letters, a goatskin tambourine. And in the folds of faded violet tissue a necklace, two violet plaques etched in Arabic, strung with black and silver threads, given to me by the boy who loved Michelangelo.”

Just Kids, Patti Smith

“I didn’t feel for Warhol the way Robert did. His work reflected a culture I wanted to avoid. I hated the soup and felt little for the can. I preferred an artist who transformed his time, not mirrored it.”

Just Kids, Patti Smith

“We used to laugh at our small selves, saying that I was a bad girl trying to be good and that he was a good boy trying to be bad. Through the years these roles would reverse, then reverse again, until we came to accept our dual natures. We contained opposing principles, light and dark.”

Just Kids, Patti Smith

“Sometimes when I look at you, I feel I’m gazing at a distant star," I said. "It’s dazzling, but the light is from tens of thousands of years ago. Maybe the star doesn’t even exist any more. Yet sometimes that light seems more real to me than anything.”

South of the Border, West of the Sun, Haruki Murakami

“People want to be bowled over by something special. Nine times out of ten you can forget, but that tenth time, that peak experience, is what people want. That’s what can move the world. That’s art.”

South of the Border, West of the Sun, Haruki Murakami

“Just after I turned twenty, this thought hit me: Maybe I’ve lost the chance to ever be a decent human being. The mistakes I’d committed - maybe they were part of my very make-up, an inescapable part of my being. I’d hit rock bottom and I knew it.”

South of the Border, West of the Sun, Haruki Murakami

“I never consciously tried to hurt anyone, yet good intentions notwithstanding, when necessity demanded, I could become completely self-centred, even cruel. I was the kind of person who could, using some plausible excuse, inflict on a person I cared for a wound that would never heal.”

South of the Border, West of the Sun, Haruki Murakami

“I loved to read and to listen to music. I’d always liked books and my interest in them had been fostered by my friendship with Shimamoto. I started to go to the library, devouring every book I could lay my hands on. Once I began, I couldn’t put it down. Reading was like an addiction; I read while I ate, on the train, in bed until late at night, in school… Before long I bought a small stereo and spent all my time in my room, listening to jazz records. But I had almost no desire to talk to anyone about the experience I gained through books and music. I felt happy just being me and no one else.”

South of the Border, West of the Sun, Haruki Murakami

“Undernourished and growing out of the wrong soil, I knew at this time that a lot of people found me hard to take, and for the most part I understood why. Although a passably human creature on the outside, the swirling soul within seemed seemed to speak up for the most awkward people on the planet.”

Autobiography, Morrissey

“Loudly and wildly the music played, always pointing to the light, to the way out, or the way in, to individualism, and to the remarkable if unsettling notion that life could be lived as you might wish it to be lived.”

Autobiography, Morrissey

“However, at the hour of the Smiths’ birth I had felt at the physical and emotional end of life. I had lost the ability to communicate and had been claimed by emotional oblivion. I had no doubt that my life was ending, just as I had no notion at all that it was just beginning. Nothing fortified me, and simple loneliness all but destroyed me, yet I felt swamped by the belief that life must mean something - otherwise why was anything anything?”

Autobiography, Morrissey

“But the lonely season must return, for that is what it does. No matter how your new circumstances pad themselves out, the roots of your behaviour patterns have already marked you out for slaughter.”

Autobiography, Morrissey

©DH