John Cheever Quotes
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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.
It was a splendid summer morning and it seemed as if nothing could go wrong.
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.
Fear tastes like a rusty knife and do not let her into your house.
Fiction is art and art is the triumph over chaos… to celebrate a world that lies spread out around us like a bewildering and stupendous dream.
Art is the triumph over chaos.
Homesickness is nothing. Fifty percent of the people in the world are homesick all the time.
I've been homesick for countries I've never been, and longed to be where I couldn't be.
Then it is dark; it is a night where kings in golden suits ride elephants over the mountains.
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 do not understand the capricious lewdness of the sleeping mind.
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.
There is a terrible sameness to the euphoria of alcohol and the euphoria of metaphor.
When I remember my family, I always remember their backs. They were always indignantly leaving places.
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.
I can't write without a reader. It's precisely like a kiss - you can't do it alone.
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.
I dream that my face appears on a postage stamp.
The deep joy we take in the company of people with whom we have just recently fallen in love is undisguisable.
Only the opium eater truly understands the pain of death.
People look for morals in fiction because there has always been a confusion between fiction and philosophy.
I believe that writing is an account of the powers of extrication.
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.
Good writers are often excellent at a hundred other things, but writing promises a greater latitude for the ego.
Wisdom we know is the knowledge of good and evil - not the strength to choose between the two.
The irony of Christmas is always upon the poor in heart; the mystery of the solstice is always upon the rest of us.
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.
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.
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.
You can't expect to communicate with anyone if you're a bore.
Fiction is experimentation; when it ceases to be that, it ceases to be fiction.
I love you not for the person you are, but for your possibilities.
Never eat a heavily sugared doughnut before you go on TV.
The main emotion of the adult American who has had all the advantages of wealth, education, and culture is disappointment.
The need to write comes from the need to make sense of one's life and discover one's usefulness.
To be an American and unable to play baseball is comparable to being a Polynesian and unable to swim.
For lovers, touch is metamorphosis. All the parts of their bodies seem to change, and they seem to become something different and better.
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.
I have always been the lover - never the beloved - and I have spent much of my life waiting for trains, planes, boats, footsteps, doorbells, letters, telephones, snow, rain, thunder.
Everything outside was elegant and savage and fleshy. Everything inside was slow and cool and vacant. It seemed a shame to stay inside.
Children drown, beautiful women are mangled in automobile accidents, cruise ships founder, and men die lingering deaths in mines and submarines, but you will find none of this in my accounts.
Fear tastes like a rusty knife and do not let her into your house. Courage tastes of blood. Stand up straight. Admire the world. Relish the love of a gentle woman.
When the beginnings of self destruction enter the heart, it seems no bigger than a grain of sand.
Novels are about men and women and children and dogs, not politics.
It is not, as somebody once wrote, the smell of corn bread that calls us back from death; it is the lights and signs of love and friendship.
A page of good prose remains invincible.
Avoid kneeling in unheated stone churches. Ecclesiastical dampness causes prematurely grey hair.
Sometimes the easiest-seeming stories to a reader are the hardest kind to write.