At every moment, each instrument knew what to play. Its little bit. But none could see the whole thing like this, all at once, only its own part. Just like life. Each person was like a line of music, but nobody knew what the symphony sounded like. Only the conductor had the whole score.

She was drifting outside the limit of all reason, where the next stop was light-years away through nothing but darkness.

I started writing when I was 21. I was going to become an historian. And then I realized there was more to the world than just the past. I didn't want to spend my life in the library.

Meredith's father, the composer, who shot himself in this house. Came all the way from Vienna to shoot himself in LA. Escaped the Nazis but not himself.

The smell of the smoke always brought me back to my mother, to a rooftop under an untrustworthy moon. How beautiful she had been, how perfectly unhinged.

The night crackled ... Everything had turned to static electricity in the heat. I combed my hair to watch the sparks fly from the ends.

The view of the highway was so bad that you could not even see the next viaduct. Te moment it loomed out of the mist it disappeared again, as if the world created itself and was blotted out again.

For what is writing besides capturing thoughts that belong to all of us, so that we can recognize ourselves, undestand ourselves, and perhaps, each other. Every thoughtful book about love makes us better lovers, I think. It opens the gates of perception.

Your protagonist is your reader's portal into the story. The more observant he or she can be, the more vivid will be the world you're creating. They don't have to be super-educated, they just have to be mentally active. Keep them looking, thinking, wondering, remembering.

Loneliness ia a human condition.

Memory is the fourth landscape.

Abdication, a great brass bell, solemn, resonant, deafening.

I always read poetry before I write, to sensitize me to the rhythms and music of language.

I wanted to freeze this moment forever, the chimes, the slight splash of water, the chink of dogs' leashes, laughter from the pool, the skritch of my mother's dip-pen, the smell of the tree, the stillness. I wished I could shut it in a locket to wear around my neck.

I was into the music scene, but I was also a bit of a perfectionist and very hard on myself... very dark in that way.

I felt beautiful but also interrupted. I wasn't used to being so complicated.

What was the point of the Devil if there was a God like that? Maybe there was just the Devil, the real God of this fucking world. Or maybe there was just nothing at all.

People just wanted to be loved. That.

What were any of us but a handful of weeds. Who was to say what our value was? What was the value of for Vietnam vets playing poker every afternoon in front of the Spanish market on Glendale boulevard, making their moves with a great deck missing a written and a five? Maybe the world depended on them, maybe they were the Fates, or the Graces.

Claire smiled with relief that my mother had made the first move. She didn't understand the nature of poisons. My.

She usually loved this band, but today their cheerfulness made her want to crash the car.

Don't turn over the rocks if you don't want to see the pale creatures who live under them.

The elegance of a really good screenplay, I admire it. I can't do it.

Don't attach yourself to anyone who shows you the least bit of attention because you're lonely. Lonliness is the human condition. No one is ever going to fill that space. The best thing you can do it know yourself... know what you want.

My mother never met a gadget she didn't like. There were tube pans for baking the angel food cakes my father could have after his first heart attack, and Bundt pans and loaf pans and baking pans and grilling pans.

She yearned to call him, but hated the sound of the phone ringing, ringing, knowing that he might be standing right there, not picking up, knowing it was her.

I liked it when my mother tried to teach me things, when she paid attention. So often when I was with her, she was unreachable. Whenever she turned her steep focus to me, I felt the warmth that flowers must feel when they bloom through the snow, under the first concentrated rays of the sun.

In a perverse way, I was glad for the stitches, glad it would show, that there would be scars. What was the point in just being hurt on the inside? It should bloody well show.

How easy I was. Like a limpet I attached myself to anything, anyone who showed me the least attention.

Death disapearance was what you didnt talk about. like a sewer running under the street, the shit was down there, out of sight, but you could smell it, it didnt go away, it didnt vanish.

No one considered that a key might lock as well as unlock.

His voice was cloves and nightingales.

Let me tell you a few things about regret...There is no end to it. You cannot find the beginning of the chain that brought us from there to here. Should you regret the whole chain, and the air in between, or each link separately as if you could uncouple them? Do you regret the beginning which ended so badly, or just the ending itself?

I understood why she did it. At that moment I knew why people tagged graffiti on the walls of neat little houses and scratched the paint on new cars and beat up well-tended children. It was only natural to want to destroy something you could never have.

Rena noticed me watching it pass. 'You think they don't got problem?' Rena said. 'Everybody got problem. You got me, they got insurance, house payment, Preparation H.' She smiled, baring the part between her two upper teeth. 'We are the free birds. They want to be us.

We don't have a unitary society anymore, you know; it's very fragmented. I look up and down my block in Silverlake and there is a different universe in every house.

People losing each other, their hands slipping loose in a crowd.

While out on the perimeter, women discovered the freedom of badlands. They were curiously free to invent, without having to liberate themselves from the forms and rewards of the cultural norm.

She was a beautiful woman dragging a crippled foot and I was that foot.

I thought how tenuous the links were between mother and children, between friends, family, things you think are eternal. Everything could be lost, more easily than anyone could imagine.

She laughed so easily, when she was happy, but also when she was sad.

So often when I was with her, she was unreachable. Whenever she turned her steep focus to me, I felt the warmth that flowers must feel when they bloom through the snow, under the first concentrated rays of the sun.

I wanted to tell her not to entertain despair like this. Despair wasn't a guest, you didn't play its favourite music, find it a comfortable chair. Despair was the enemy.

It was that you had to take so many stompings from life that you'd be happy when the time came to close your eyes and never open them ever again.

You imagine you can see me, Mother? All you could ever see was your own face in a mirror.

Although she was giddy with exhaustion, sleep was a lover who refused to be touched....

They dream of men with gentle hands, eloquent with tenderness, fingers that brushed along a cheek, that outlined open lips in the lovers' braille. Hands that sculpted sweetness from sullen flesh, that traced breast and ignited hips, opening, kneading. Flesh becomes bread in the heat of those hands, braided and rising.

I never know how a novel is going to end, because you don't really know what's going to be at the bottom of a novel until you excavate it.

She should have realized I was a bad luck person, she should never have thought I was someone to count on.