When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied.

—Paul Kalanithi

And the best moment of all, a girl once shyly but perceptively told me as we sat in her room thinking over the events of the afternoon one long-lost summer’s day, is the one just before the delight that is about to burst upon us becomes the delight that already has.

—Michael Frayn

There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.

—Georges Braque

Story is our only boat for sailing on the river of time.

—Ursula K. Le Guin

Oh my soul, do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits of the possible.

—Pindar, Pythian III

People were still arriving from Berlin and other cities. They were loud people who shouted and lied at the top of their voices, so as to deafen their conscience. They were cheats and braggarts and all of them came from the film industry and had a lot to tell about the world, but they saw the world through their goggle eyes, held it to be a commercial failure on the part of God and intended to compete with him and go into business on an equally large scale.

—Joseph Roth, Hotel Savoy (1924)

This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.

—George Bernard Shaw

Everyone hated him, but they all coveted his sparkling smile, and he more than suspected that all that most people really long for in their heart of hearts, is the unattainable and fleeting glow of personal beauty.

—Frederic Prokosch

Russia was always notorious for the gap between culture and civilization. Now there is no more culture. No more civilization. All that remains is the gap.

—Viktor Pelevin

A kiss is the beginning of cannibalism.

—Georges Bataille