A lonely man is a lonesome thing, a stone, a bone, a stick, a receptacle for Gilbey's gin, a stooped figure sitting at the edge of a hotel bed, heaving copious sighs like the autumn wind.— John Cheever
The most captivate John Cheever quotes that will activate your desire to change
It was a splendid summer morning and it seemed as if nothing could go wrong.
Homesickness is . . . absolutely nothing. Fifty percent of the people in the world are homesick all the time. . . . You don't really long for another country. You long for something in yourself that you don't have, or haven't been able to find.
Wisdom is the knowledge of good and evil, not the strength to choose between the two.
Art is the triumph over chaos.
These stories seem at times to be stories of a long-lost world when the city of New York was still filled with a river light, when you heard the Benny Goodman quartets from a radio in the corner stationery store, and when almost everybody wore a hat.
All literary men are Red Sox fans - to be a Yankee fan in a literate society is to endanger your life.
That's the way I remember them, heading for an exit.
For me a page of good prose is where one hears the rain.
A page of good prose is when one hears the noise of battle.... A page of good prose seems to me the most serious dialogue that well-informed and intelligent men and women carry on today in their endeavor to make sure that the fires of this planet burn peaceably.
Homesickness is nothing. Fifty percent of the people in the world are homesick all the time.
The task of an American writer is not to describe the misgivings of a woman taken in adultery as she looks out of a window at the rain but to describe four hundred people under the lights reaching for a foul ball. This is ceremony.
What I am going to write is the last of what I have to say.
I will say that literature is the only consciousness we possess and that its role as consciousness must inform us of our ability to comprehend the hideous danger of nuclear power.
I do not understand the capricious lewdness of the sleeping mind.
If there is anybody I detest, it is weak-minded sentimentalists-all those melancholy people who, out of an excess of sympathy for others, miss the thrill of their own essence and drift through life without identity, like a human fog, feeling sorry for everyone.
I've been homesick for countries I've never been, and longed to be where I couldn't be.
Literature has been the salvation of the damned, literature has inspired and guided lovers, routed despair and can perhaps in this case save the world.
My veins are filled, once a week with a Neapolitan carpet cleaner distilled from the Adriatic and I am as bald as an egg. However I still get around and am mean to cats.
The short story is the literature of the nomad.
I can't write without a reader. It's precisely like a kiss - you can't do it alone.
There is a terrible sameness to the euphoria of alcohol and the euphoria of metaphor.
For me, a page of good prose is where one hears the rain and the noise of battle. It has the power to give grief or universality that lends it a youthful beauty.
A collection of short stories is generally thought to be a horrendous clinker;
an enforced courtesy for the elderly writer who wants to display the trophies of his youth, along with his trout flies.
The secret of keeping young is to read children's books.
You read the books they write for little children and you'll keep young. You read novels, philosophy, stuff like that and it makes you feel old.
Wisdom we know is the knowledge of good and evil -- not the strength to choose between the two.
We praise Him, we bless Him, we adore Him, we glorify Him, and we wonder who is that baritone across the aisle and that pretty woman on our right who smells of apple blossoms. Our bowels stir and our cod itches and we amend our prayers for the spiritual life with the hope that it will not be too spiritual.
Only the opium eater truly understands the pain of death.
All things of the sea belong to Venus;
pearls and shells and alchemists' gold and kelp and the riggish smell of neap tides, the inshore green, and purple further out and the joy of distances and the roar of falling masonry, all these are hers, but she doesn't come out of the sea for all of us.
I dream that my face appears on a postage stamp.
Fiction must compete with first-rate reporting.
If you cannot write a story that is equal to a factual account of battle in the streets or demonstrations, then you can't write a story.
People look for morals in fiction because there has always been a confusion between fiction and philosophy.
The deep joy we take in the company of people with whom we have just recently fallen in love is undisguisable.
Good writers are often excellent at a hundred other things, but writing promises a greater latitude for the ego.
The organizations of men, like men themselves, seem subject to deafness, near-sightedness, lameness, and involuntary cruelty. We seem tragically unable to help one another, to understand one another.
I sometimes go back to walk through the ghostly remains of Sutton Place where the rude, new buildings stand squarely in one another's river views.
Love with its paraphernalia of sexuality, jealousy, nostalgia and exaltation was easier to reognize than friendship, which seemed to have (excepting athletic equipment) no paraphernalia at all.
The need to write comes from the need to make sense of one's life and discover one's usefulness.
Fiction is experimentation; when it ceases to be that, it ceases to be fiction.
You can't expect to communicate with anyone if you're a bore.
Never eat a heavily sugared doughnut before you go on TV.
For lovers, touch is metamorphosis. All the parts of their bodies seem to change, and they seem to become something different and better.
To be an American and unable to play baseball is comparable to being a Polynesian and unable to swim.
When I remember my family, I always remember their backs.
They were always indignantly leaving places.
Wisdom we know is the knowledge of good and evil, not the strength to choose between the two.
When the beginnings of self destruction enter the heart, it seems no bigger than a grain of sand.
Then it is dark; it is a night where kings in golden suits ride elephants over the mountains.
There isn't a king or a merchant prince in the whole world that I envy, for I always knew I was born to be a child of destiny and that I was never meant to wring my living from detestable, low, degrading, mean and ordinary kinds of business.
The novel remains for me one of the few forms where we can record man's complexity and the strength and decency of his longings. Where we can describe, step by step, minute by minute, our not altogether unpleasant struggle to put ourselves into a viable and devout relationship to our beloved and mistaken world.
My God, the suburbs! They encircled the city's boundaries like enemy territory and we thought of them as a loss of privacy, a cesspool of conformity and a life of indescribable dreariness in some split-level village where the place name appeared in the New York Times only when some bored housewife blew off her head with a shotgun.
People named John and Mary never divorce.
For better or for worse, in madness and in saneness, they seem bound together for eternity by their rudimentary nomenclature. They may loathe and despise one another, quarrel, weep, and commit mayhem, but they are not free to divorce. Tom, Dick, and Harry can go to Reno on a whim, but nothing short of death can separate John and Mary.
Everything outside was elegant and savage and fleshy.
Everything inside was slow and cool and vacant. It seemed a shame to stay inside.