Quotes By The Crack Up

“Now the standard cure for one who is sunk is to consider those in actual destitution or physical suffering—this is an all-weather beatitude for gloom in general and fairly salutary day-time advice for everyone. But at three o’clock in the morning, a forgotten package has the same tragic importance as a death sentence, and the cure doesn’t work—and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.”


“In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.”


“I must hold in balance the sense of the futility of effort and the sense of the necessity to struggle; the conviction of the inevitability of failure and still the determination to 'succeed'-and, more than these, the contradiction between the dead hand of the past and the high intentions of the future. If I could do this through the common ills-domestic, professional and personal-then the ego would continue as an arrow shot from nothingness to nothingness with such force that only gravity would bring it to earth at last.”


“She admired him; she was used to clutching her hands together in his wake and heaving audible sighs. ”


“France was a land, England was a people, but America, having about it still that quality of the idea, was harder to utter - it was the graves at Shiloh and the tired, drawn, nervous faces of its great men, and the country boys dying in the Argonne for a phrase that was empty before their bodies withered. It was a willingness of the heart.”


“I had a strong sudden instinct that I must be alone. I didn’t want to see any people at all. I had seen so many people all my life -- I was an average mixer, but more than average in a tendency to identify myself, my ideas, my destiny, with those of all classes that came in contact with. I was always saving or being saved -- in a single morning I would go through the emotions ascribable to Wellington at Waterloo. I lived in a world of inscrutable hostiles and inalienable friends and supporters.”


“The world only exists in your eyes-- your conception of it. You can make it as big or as small as you want to. And you're trying to be a little puny individual. By God, if I ever cracked, I'd try to make the world crack with me.”


“I avoided writers very carefully because they can perpetuate trouble as no one else can.”


“the cracked plate has to be retained in the pantry, has to be kept in service as a household necessity. It can never be warmed on the stove nor shuffled with the other plates in the dishpan; it will not be brought out for company but it will do to hold crackers late at night or to go into the ice-box with the left overs.”


“The first lights of the evening were springing into pale existence. The Ferris wheel, pricked out now in lights, revolved leisurely through the dusk; a few empty cars of the roller coaster rattled overhead.”


“For the moment I can only cry out that I have lost my splendid mirage. Come back, come back, O glittering and white!”


“A man does not recover from such jolts-- he becomes a different person and, eventually, the new person finds new things to care about.”


“Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work-the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside-the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don't show their effect all at once.”


“The natural state of the sentient adult is a qualified unhappiness.”


“A sudden gust of rain blew over them and then another - as if small liquid clouds were bouncing along the land. Lightning entered the sea far off and the air blew full of crackling thunder. The table cloths blew around the pillars. They blew and blew and blew. The flags twisted around the red chairs like live things, the banners were ragged, the corners of the table tore off through the burbling billowing ends of the cloths. ”


“Something bright and alien flashed across the sky... and for a moment people set down their glasses in country clubs and speakeasies and thought of their old best dreams. Maybe there was a way out by flying, maybe our restless blood could find frontiers in the illimitable air. But by that time we were all pretty well committed; and the Jazz Age continued; we would all have one more.”


“Forgotten is forgiven.”


“But at three o'clock in the morning, a forgotten package has the same tragic importance as a death sentence, and the cure doesn't work-- and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.”


“There are always those to whom all self-revelation is contemptible, unless it ends with a noble thanks to the gods for the Unconquerable Soul.”


“This is what I think now; that the natural state of the sentient adult is a qualified unhappiness. I think also that in an adult the desire to be finer in grain than you are, "a constant striving" (as those people say who gain their bread by saying it) only adds to this unhappiness in the end--that end that comes to our youth and hope.”


“Trouble has no necessary connection with discouragement --discouragement has a germ of its own, as different from trouble as arthritis is different from a stiff joint.”


“the sense of futility of effort and the sense of the necessity to struggle.”