I knew every raindrop by its name.— Denis Johnson
The most courageous Denis Johnson quotes that are proven to give you inner joy
All these weirdos, and me getting a little better every day right in the midst of them. I had never known, never even imagined for a heartbeat, that there might be a place for people like us.
The first kiss plummeted him down a hole and popped him out into a world he thought he could get along in—as if he’d been pulling hard the wrong way and was now turned around headed downstream.
I feel very privileged to hear how somebody used to run around stickin' people up and stealing cars, and now they're gettin' their life back together... I just love the stories. The stories of the fallen world, they excite us. That's the interesting stuff.
Sometimes what I wouldn't give to have us sitting in a bar again at 9:00 a.
m. telling lies to one another, far from God.
This wasn't the sea of the inexorable horizon and smashing waves, not the sea of distance and violence, but the sea of the etenally leveling patience and wetness of water. Whether it comes to you in a storm or in a cup, it owns you--we are more water than dust. It is our origin and our destination.
After the film it was raining, a light steady rain.
Ruthless neon on the wet streets like busted candy.
English words are like prisms. Empty, nothing inside, and still they make rainbows.
That world! These days it's all been erased and they've rolled it up like a scroll and put it away somewhere. Yes, I can touch it with my fingers. But where is it?
Its always been my tendency to lie to doctors, as if good health consisted only of the ability to fool them.
When he was dry, he believed it was alcohol he needed, but when he had a few drinks in him, he knew it was something else, possibly a woman; and when he had it all -- cash, booze, and a wife -- he couldn't be distracted from the great emptiness that was always falling through him and never hit the ground.
Memories assailed him of how gently she had spoken, touched, and moved;
of how she'd loved him fiercely despite his mistakes and obsessions and weaknesses. And the conviction descended on him that love like theirs couldn't possibly suffer any change.
We in Purgatory sing fondly of Hell.
I'd been staying at the Holiday Inn with my girlfriend, honestly the most beautiful woman I'd ever known, for three days under a phony name, shooting heroin. We made love in the bed, ate steaks at the restaurant, shot up in the john, puked, cried, accused one another, begged of one another, forgave, promised, and carried one another to heaven.
I think it's silly for anyone to think you could write under the influence, but if they'd like to think that, I'd like to keep the legend alive. Maybe I was under the influence when I wrote Jesus' Son and I just didn't know it.
You're under pressure when you produce facts.
You're working with facts in journalism, but you're under all kinds of formal constraints; there are expectations.
She had nothing in this world but her two hands and her crazy love for Jesus, who seemed, for his part, never to have heard of her.
If you write fiction, you're by yourself.
There are certain advantages to that in that you don't have to explain anything to anybody. But when you get in with others who share the loneliness of the whole enterprise, you're not lonely anymore.
With each step my heart broke for the person I would never find, the person who'd love me.
If you take a lie and allow your desire for the truth, you'll end up with some truth - not fact, but something that gets you closer to the truth. That's what we want. When we go to a play, we need to be assured that the experience we're having.
What's funny about Jesus' Son is that I never even wrote that book, I just wrote it down. I would tell these stories and people would say, You should write these things down.
I'll never forget you. Your husband will beat you with an extension cord and the bus will pull away leaving you standing there in tears, but you were my mother.
Write the unpublishable.. .and then publish it.
I'd met a woman and I got married, but the money ran out right away.
I hadn't had a job for seven months, and it just came over me that I was never going to work again. It hit me.
The movie's not over till everybody's dead.
Everybody’s got a mean side. Just don’t feed it till it grows.
I really enjoy writing novels. It's like the ocean. You can just build a boat and take off.
All the modern verse plays, they're terrible;
they're mostly about the poetry. It's more important that the play is first.
I didn't finish the stories until we went to the Philippines and I got malaria.
I couldn't work and I didn't have any money, but I had seven stories. So I wrote three or four more.
I hate two kinds of sentences you hear in workshops, the ones beginning "I really like ..." and the ones beginning "My problem with this poem is ..."
We can’t always tell the whole story about ourselves.
When I'm writing for Esquire, my conscious thought is, I'm not writing for American Scholar.
In the plays - that's where I go crazy.
But my prose has a much lighter touch; it's not trying to thrill with language, just to be more truthful. I'm not concerned with the accuracy of anything. We don't get to the truth of anything with facts.
They needed to share one secret after another with a beautiful woman, to peel away layer after layer, mask after mask, and still find themselves worshiped.
The traveling salesmen fed me pills that made the lining of my veins feel scraped out, my jaw ached... I knew every raindrop by its name, I sensed everything before it happened. Like I knew a certain oldsmobile would stop even before it slowed, and by the sweet voices of the family inside, I knew we'd have an accident in the rain. I didn't care. They said they'd take me all the way.
Through this feeling of helplessness suddenly burst a piercing nostalgia for the lost world of childhood. The way it came right up against the heart, that world, and against the face. No indoors or outdoors, only everything touching us, and the grown-ups lumbering past overhead like constellations.
In my writing, I want to be laid bare as a human being.
How could I do it, how could a person go that low? And I understand your question, to which I reply, Are you kidding? That's nothing. I'd been much lower than that. And I expected to see myself do worse.
We’d torn open our chests and shown our cowardly hearts, and you can never stay friends after something like that
Before this moment I'd lived as a mind.
Body, heart, soul, intellect, so we care ourselves into parts. But the whole of us, what can it be?
Will you believe me when I tell you there was kindness in his heart? His left hand didn't know what his right hand was doing. It was only that certain important connections had been burned through. If I opened up your head and ran a hot soldering iron around in your brain, I might turn you into someone like that.
He got right down in the dark between heartbeats, and rested there.
And then he saw that another one wasn't going to come. That's it. That's the last. He looked at the dark. I would like to take this opportunity, he said, to pray for another human being.
I make the road. I draw the map. Nothing just happens to me...I'm the one happening.
Think of being curled up and floating in a darkness.
Even if you could think, even if you had an imagination, would you ever imagine its opposite, this miraculous world the Asian Taoists call the "Ten Thousand Things"? And if the darkness just got darker? And then you were dead? What would you care? How would you eve know the difference?
And you, you ridiculous people, you expect me to help you.
There were many moments in the Vine like that one--where you might think today was yesterday, and yesterday was tomorrow, and so on. Because we all believed we were tragic, and we drank. We had that helpless, destined feeling. We would die with handcuffs on. We would be put a stop to, and it wouldn't be our fault. So we imagined. And yet we were always being found innocent for ridiculous reasons.
There's so much goop inside of us, man," he said, "and it all just wants to get out.
It was only when you left it alone that a tree might treat you as a friend.
After the blade bit in, you had yourself a war.
I have the belief in boldness. What I generally lack is the boldness itself. Because boldness doesn't feel bold. It feels scared not brave.
And therefore I looked down into the great pity of a person’s life on this earth. I don’t mean that we all end up dead, that’s not the great pity. I mean that he couldn’t tell me what he was dreaming, and I couldn’t tell him what was real.