The problem with the truth is, it's so often mild and clichéd.

The lives great artists live and the books they write are two very different things.

You don't have to matter any more than you do right now.

He needs a looser association. He needs something that implies a man who wants the ice shard to remain in his chest, who's learned to love the sensation of being pierced.

These days, Clarissa believes, you measure people first by their kindness and their capacity for devotion. You get tired, sometimes, of wit and intellect; everybody's little display of genius.

Constantine, eight years old, was working in his father's garden and thinking about his own garden, a square of powdered granite he had staked out and combed into rows at the top of his family's land.

I was not ladylike, nor was I manly. I was something else altogether. There were so many different ways to be beautiful.

Beauty is a whore. I prefer money.

I've been just wondering lately, if this is, you know, it. An apartment and a steady job and some people to love. What more could I want?

Accept that, like many men, you have a streak of the homoerotic in you. Why would you, why would anyone, want to be that straight?

The book worm, the foreign-looking one with the dark, close set eyes an the Roman nose, who had never been sought after or cherished; who had always been left alone, to read.

Most of us can be counted on to manage our own undoings.

A full week of their mother's quiet fury over the fun they don't seem to be having and their father's dogged attempts to provide it...

There's no denying his resemblance to the Rodin bronze - the slender, effortless muscularity of youth, the extravagant nonchalance of it; that sense that beauty is in fact the natural human condition and not the rarest of mutations.

There's no comfort, it seems, in the world of objects.

Perhaps, in the extravagance of youth, we give away our devotions easily and all but arbitrarily, on the mistaken assumption that we'll always have more to give.

He's filled with a sense of childish release, the old feeling that because you are sick, all your trials and obligations have been suspended.

Clarissa is still sometimes shocked, more than thirty years later to realize that it was happiness; that the entire experience lay in a kiss and a walk. The anticipation of dinner and a book.

If she were religious, she would call it the soul. It is more than the sum of her intellect and her emotions, more than the sum of her experiences, though it runs like veins of brilliant metal through all three. It is an inner faculty that recognizes the animating mysteries of the world because it is made of the same substance.

I don't have any regrets, really, except that one. I wanted to write about you, about us, really. Do you know what I mean? I wanted to write about everything, the life we're having and the lives we might have had. I wanted to write about all the ways we might have died.

I liked to think you could change your life without abandoning the simple daily truths.

Virginia Woolf came along in the early part of the century and essentially said through her writing, yes, big books can be written about the traditional big subjects. There is war. There is the search for God. These are all very important things.

God save us from people who think they're smarter than they actually are.

There is still that singular perfection, and it's perfect in part because it seemed, at the time, so clearly to promise more.

Virginia Woolf's great novel, 'Mrs. Dalloway,' is the first great book I ever read. I read it almost by accident when I was in high school, when I was 15 years old.

Zoe loved Trancas's mother. She respected her exhausted and ironic hope for rebirth.

We'd hoped for love of a different kind, love that knew and forgave our human frailty but did not miniaturize our grander ideas of ourselves.

She is overtaken by a sensation of unbeing. There is no other word for it.

Tyler. His handsome, lion-eyed ravagement. His capacity for devotion. Which is so sexy. Why do so many gay men lack that? Why are they so distracted, so in love with the idea of more and more and then more, again?

That summer when she was eighteen, it seemed anything could happen, anything at all.

Like my hero Virginia Woolf, I do lack confidence. I always find that the novel I'm finishing, even if it's turned out fairly well, is not the novel I had in my mind. I think a lot of writers must negotiate this, and if they don't admit it, they're not being honest.

What I wanted to do seemed simple. I wanted something alive and shocking enough that it could be a morning in somebody's life. The most ordinary morning. Imagine, trying to do that.

She could, she thinks, have entered another world. She could have had a life as potent and dangerous as literature itself.

She thinks how much more space a being occupies in life than it does in death; how much illusion of size is contained in gestures and movements, in breathing. Dead, we are revealed in our true dimensions, and they are surprisingly modest.

Barrett lingers awhile. He's not eager to relinquish the strange pleasure of sitting in the green chair, surrounded by the ever-diminishing offerings that had, just yesterday, been daily articles, watching the apartment disappear, piece by piece.

Here, then, is the last moment of true perception, a man fishing in a red jacket and a cloudy sky reflected on opaque water.

These hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope more than anything, for more.

Maybe there is nothing, ever, that can equal the recollection of having been young together.

It seems that she can survive, she can prosper, if she has London around her.

Youth is the only sexy tragedy. It's James Dean jumping into his Porsche Spyder, it's Marilyn heading off to bed.

She doesn't really want to go far, she just wants the solitude, the public solitude, of the street; the un-company of passing strangers, no one embracing her, no one looking with compassion and wonder into her eyes, no one marvelling at her.

She is an attractive, robust, fleshy, large-headed woman several years younger than Laura (it seems that every one, suddenly, is at least slightly younger than she).

Welcome to the darker side of love.

Catherine thought Simon was in the locket, and in heaven, and with them still. Lucas hoped she didn't expect him to be happy about having so many Simons to contend with.

He seemed to believe that from such humble, inert elements as flour, shortening, and drab little envelopes of yeast, life itself could be produced.

I just don't feel much interested in the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Love, it seems, arrives not only unannounced, but so accidentally, so randomly, as to make you wonder why you, why anyone, believes even fleetingly in laws of cause and effect.

There is so little love in the world.

Outside the house is a world where the shelves are stocked, where radio waves are full of music, where young men walk the streets again, men who have deprievation and a fear worse than death, who have willingly given up their early twenties and now, thinking of thirty and beyond, haven't any time to spare.