The shock, the power of an ordinary life. It is a thing you could not invent with banks of computers in a dust-free room.
As belief shrinks from the world, it is more necessary than ever that someone believe. Wild-eyed men in caves. Nuns in black. Monks who do not speak. We are left to believe. Fools, children. Those who have abandoned belief must still believe in us. They are sure they are right not to believe but they know belief must not fade completely. Hell is when no one believes.
I think if you maintain a force in the world that comes into people's sleep, you are exercising a meaningful power.
It's what no one knows about you that allows you to know yourself.
I've come to think of Europe as a hardcover book, America as the paperback version.
The power of the dead is that we think they see us all the time. The dead have a presence. Is there a level of energy composed solely of the dead? They are also in the ground, of course, asleep and crumbling. Perhaps we are what they dream.
That's the thing about baseball ... You do what they did before you. That's the connection you make. There's a whole long line. A man takes his kid to a game and thirty years later this is what they talk about when the poor old mutt's wasting away in the hospital.
Cities were built to measure time, to remove time from nature. There's an endless counting down.... When you strip away all the surfaces, when you see into it, what's left is terror. This is the thing that literature was meant to cure. The epic poem, the bedtime story.
Evil is movement towards void.
DON DELILLO, Great Jones Street
You become a serious novelist by living long enough.
DON DELILLO, Conversations with Don DeLillo
History was not a matter of missing minutes on the tape. I did not stand helpless before it. I hewed to the texture of collected knowledge, took faith from the solid and availing stuff of our experience. Even if we believe that history is a workwheel powered by human blood--read the speeches of Mussolini--at least we've known the thing together. A single narrative sweep, not ten thousand wisps of disinformation.
Some people fake their death, I'm faking my life.
The true life is not reducible to words spoken or written, not by anyone, ever. The true life takes place when we're alone, thinking, feeling, lost in memory, dreamingly self-aware, the submicroscopic moments.
The greater the scientific advance, the more primitive the fear.
I don’t want your candor. I want your soul in a silver thimble.
We're the last billionth of a second in the evolution of matter.
Dying was just an extended version of Ash Wednesday.
Writing is a concentrated form of thinking. I don't know what I think about certain subjects, even today, until I sit down and try to write about them.
DON DELILLO, Conversations with Don DeLillo
Stories have no point if they don't absorb our terror.
You gave yourself away, word by word, every time you opened your trap to speak.
The family was an art ... and the dinner table was the place it found expression.
There is a balance, a kind of standoff between the time continuum and the human entity, our frail bundle of soma and psyche. We eventually succumb to time, it's true, but time depends on us. We carry it in our muscles and genes, pass it on to the next set of time-factoring creatures, our brown-eyed daughters and jug-eared sons, or how would the world keep going. Never mind the time theorists, the cesium devices that measure the life and death of the smallest silvery trillionth of a second.... We were the only crucial clocks, our minds and bodies, way stations for the distribution of time.
When I read obituaries I always note the age of the deceased. Automatically I relate this figure to my own age. Four years to go, I think. Nine more years. Two years and I'm dead. The power of numbers is never more evident than when we use them to speculate on the time of our dying.
The less important you are in an office, the more they expect the happy smile.
When you see a thing like that, a thing that becomes a newsreel, you begin to feel you are a carrier of some solemn scrap of history.
It takes close attention to see what is happening in front of you. It takes work, pious effort, to see what you are looking at.
War is the ultimate realization of modern technology.
Sex finds us. Sex sees through us. That's why it's so shattering. It strips us of appearances.
It's not enough to hate your enemy. You have to understand how the two of you bring each other to deep completion.
Prayer is a practical strategy, the gaining of temporal advantage in the capital markets of Sin and Remission.
You feel sorry for yourself. You think you're missing something and you don't know what it is. You're lonely inside your life. You have a job and a family and a fully executed will, already, at your age, because the whole point is to die prepared, die legal, with all the papers signed. Die liquid, so they can convert to cash.
In this century the writer has carried on a conversation with madness. We might almost say of the twentieth-century writer that he aspires to madness. Some have made it, of course, and they hold special places in our regard. To a writer, madness is a final distillation of self, a final editing down. It's the drowning out of false voices.
Explain me to myself, you’ll make me choke on my lunch. Feel sympathy for me, I’ll puke monkey blood on your understated shoes.
I'm not saying sex is our divinity. Please. Only that sex is the one secret we have that approximates an exalted state and that we share, two people share wordlessly more or less and equally more or less, and this makes it powerful and mysterious and worth sheltering.... Sex is what you can get. For some people, most people, it's the most important thing they can get without being born rich or smart or stealing. This is what life can give you that's equal to others or better, even, that you don't have to go to college six years to get. And it's not religion and it's not science but you can explore it and learn things about yourself.
Pain is just another form of information.
Longing on a large scale is what makes history.
Fame and secrecy are the high and low ends of the same fascination.
Famous people don't want to be told that you have a quality in common with them. It makes them think there's something crawling in their clothes.
It is interesting ... how weapons reflect the soul of the maker.
Ask yourself this question. Do we have to be human forever? Consciousness is exhausted. Back now to inorganic matter. This is what we want. We want to be stones in a field.