“What mattered more was the feeling, a rich sweet undertow so commanding in that class, on the school bus, lying in bed trying to think of something safe and pleasant, some environment or configuration where my chest wasn’t tight with anxiety, all I had to do was sink into the blood-warm current and let myself spin away to the secret place where everything was all right. Cinnamon-colored walls, rain on the windowpanes, vast quiet and a sense of depth and distance, like the varnish over the background of a nineteenth-century painting. Rugs worn to threads, painted Japanese fans and antique valentines flickering in candlelight, Pierrots and doves and flower-garlanded hearts. Pippa’s face pale in the dark.”

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

“The immortals, living their life in timeless space, enraptured, re-fashioned and immerses in a crystalline eternity like ether, and the cool starry brightness and radiant serenity of this world outside the earth - whence was all this so intimately known? … In music there was a feeling as of time frozen into space, and above it there quivered a never-ending and superhuman serenity, an eternal, divine laughter.”

Steppenwolf, Herman Hesse

“Let the little way to death be as it might, lost to pitifulness, the kernel of this life of mine was noble. It had purpose and character and turned not on trifles, but on the stars.”

Steppenwolf, Herman Hesse

“At many moments the old and the new, pain and pleasure, fear and joy were quite oddly mixed with one another. Now I was in heaven, now in hell, generally in both at once.”

Steppenwolf, Herman Hesse

“Dear God, how was it possible? How had I, with the wings of youth and poetry, come to this? Art and travel and the glow of ideals - and now this! How had this paralysis of hatred against myself and everyone else, this obstruction of all feeling, this mud-hell of an empty heart and despair crept over me so softly and so slowly?”

Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse

“The wolf, too, has his abysses.”

Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse

“…the bourgeois today burns as heretics and hangs as criminals those to whom he erects monuments tomorrow.”

Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse

“Solitude is independence. It had been my wish and with the years I had attained it. It was cold. Oh, cold enough! But it was also still, wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space in which the stars revolve.”

Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse

“A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me, a rage against this toneless, flat, normal and sterile life. I have a mad impulse to smash something, a warehouse perhaps, or a cathedral, or myself…”

Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse

“There is much to be said for contentment and painlessness, for these bearable and submissive days, on which neither pain nor pleasure cry out, on which everything only whispers and tiptoes around. But the worst of it is that it is just this contentment that I cannot endure. After a short time it fill me with irrepressible loathing and nausea. Then, in desperation, I have to escape into other regions, if possible on the road to pleasure, or, if that cannot be, on the road to pain.”

Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse

“The day had gone by just as days go by. I had killed it in accordance with my primitive and withdrawn way of life.”

Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse

“Every age, every culture, every custom and tradtion has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, its beauties and its cruelties; it accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils.”

Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse

“Everything beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation. Crime, of which the human animal has learned the taste in his mother’s womb, is natural by origin. Virtue, on the other hand, is artificial, supernatural, since at all times and in all places gods and prophets have been needed to teach it to animalized humanity, man being powerless to discover it himself. Evil happens without effort, naturally, fatally; Good is always the product of some art.”

The Painter of Modern Life, Baudelaire

“Having a drink in bed while listening to music and reading a book. As precious to me as a beautiful sunset or good clean air.”

Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Haruki Murakami

©DH