Richard Yates quotes

  • It's a disease. Nobody thinks or feels or cares any more; nobody gets excited or believes in anything except their own comfortable little God damn mediocrity.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Believe #Thinking #Care

  • And do you know a funny thing? I'm almost fifty years old and I've never understood anything in my whole life.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Funny Things #Years #Fifty

  • He couldn't even tell whether he was angry or contrite, whether it was forgiveness he wanted or the power to forgive.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Forgiveness #Forgiving #Wanted

  • The Revolutionary Hill Estates had not been designed to accommodate a tragedy. Even at night, as if on purpose, the development held no looming shadows and no gaunt silhouettes. It was invincibly cheerful, a toyland of white and pastel houses whose bright, uncurtained windows winked blandly through a dappling of green and yellow leaves … A man running down these streets in desperate grief was indecently out of place.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Running #Grief #Night

  • She just happened to feel like it. Wasn’t that after all, the only reason there was? Had she ever had a less selfish, more complicated reason for doing anything in her life?
    -- Richard Yates

    #Selfish #Complicated #Reason

  • Why did everything always change when all you wanted, all you had ever humbly asked of whatever God there might be, was that certain things be allowed to stay the same?
    -- Richard Yates

    #Might #Certain #Wanted

  • if you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want
    -- Richard Yates

    #Success #Failure #New Years Resolution

  • Being alone has nothing to do with how many people are around.
    -- Richard Yates

    #People

  • You want to play house, you got to have a job. You want to play very nice house, very sweet house, then you got to have a job you don't like. Great. This is the way ninety-eight-point-nine per cent of the people work things out, so believe me, buddy, you've got nothing to apologize for.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Sweet #Jobs #Nice

  • if you wanted to do something absolutely honest, something true, it always turned out to be a thing that had to be done alone.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Honesty #Being Alone #Done

  • Do you know what the definition of insane is? Yes. It’s the inability to relate to another human being. It’s the inability to love.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Insane #Definitions #Inability

  • Are artists and writers the only people entitled to lives of their own?
    -- Richard Yates

    #Artist #People

  • I'm only interested in stories that are about the crushing of the human heart.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Crush #Heart #Stories

  • You're painfully alive in a drugged and dying culture.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Dying #Alive #Culture

  • No one forgets the truth; they just get better at lying.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Truth #Lying #Reality

  • If my work has a theme, I suspect it is a simple one: that most human beings are inescapably alone, and therein lies their tragedy.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Lying #Simple #Tragedy

  • Warren Cox, God knew, was no prize; a commercial person, a sales person, the kind of man who said things like "x numbers of dollars". At lunch today, laboriously trying to explain some business procedure, he had said "x number of dollars" three times.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Men #Lunch #Numbers

  • The hell with "love" anyway, and with every other phony, time-wasting, half-assed emotion in the world.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Half #World #Emotion

  • When you wrote it didn't matter if hysteria sometimes came up in your face and voice (unless, of course, you let it find its way into your "literary voice") because writing was done in merciful privacy and silence. Even if you were partly out of your mind it might turn out to be all right: you could try for control even harder than Blanche Dubois was said to have tried, and with luck you could still bring off a sense of order and sanity on the page for the reader. Reading, after all, was a thing done in privacy and silence too.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Reading #Writing #Order

  • Know what we did, Lucy? You and me? We spent our whole lives yearning. Isn't that the God damndest thing?
    -- Richard Yates

    #Yearning #Whole Life

  • He took each fact as it came and let it slip painlessly into the back of his mind, thinking, Okay, okay, I'll think about that one later; and that one; and that one; so that the alert, front part of his mind could remain free enough to keep him in command of the situation.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Thinking #Mind #Facts

  • He found it so easy and so pleasant to cry that he didn’t try to stop for a while, until he realized he was forcing his sobs a little, exaggerating their depth with unnecessary shudders. … The whole point of crying is to quit before you coined it up. The whole point of grief itself was to cut it out while it was still honest, while it still meant something. Because the thing was so easily corrupted
    -- Richard Yates

    #Grief #Cutting #Trying

  • Never say anything that doesn't improve on silence.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Silence #Say Anything

  • She was calm and quiet now with knowing what she had always known, what neither her parents nor Aunt Claire nor Frank nor anyone else had ever had to teach her: that if you wanted something to do something absolutely honest, something true, it always turned out to be a thing that had to be done alone.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Aunt #Knowing #Parent

  • Synchronize watches at oh six hundred' says the infantry captain, and each of his huddled lieutenants finds respite from fear in the act of bringing two tiny pointers into jeweled alignment while tons of heavy artillery go fluttering overhead: the prosaic, civilian-looking dial of the watch has restored, however briefly, an illusion of personal control. Good, it counsels, looking tidily up from the hairs and veins of each terribly vulnerable wrist; fine: so far, everything's happening right on time.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Two #Hair #Watches

  • He knew it was possible for shame to be nursed and doctored like an illness, if you wanted to keep it separate from the rest of your life, but that didn't mean there'd be any way to keep from knowing it was there.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Mean #Knowing #Nurse

  • It haunted him all night, while he slept alone; it was still there in the morning, when he swallowed his coffee and backed down the driveway in the crumpled old Ford. And riding to work, one of the youngest and healthiest passengers on the train, he sat with the look of a man condemned to a very slow, painless death. He felt middle-aged.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Morning #Coffee #Night

  • If you haven't written a novel by the time you're forty you never will!
    -- Richard Yates

    #Novel #Forty

  • Dying for love might be pitiable, but it wasn't much different, finally, from any other kind of dying.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Dying #Might #Different

  • Acting might bring on emotional exhaustion, but writing tired your brains out. Writing led to depression and insomnia and walking around all day with a haggard look.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Writing #Tired #Insomnia

  • Remember what Anatole France said about the dog masturbating on your leg--'Sure, it's honest, but who needs it?
    -- Richard Yates

    #Dog #Legs #France

  • God knows there certainly ought to be a window around here somewhere, for all of us.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Window #God Knows

  • He had won but he didn't feel like a winner.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Winner #Feels

  • ...his job was the very least important part of his life, never to be mentioned except in irony.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Jobs #Important #Irony

  • Hopeless emptiness. Now you've said it. Plenty of people are onto the emptiness, but it takes real guts to see the hopelessness.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Real #People #Emptiness

  • Hard work, is the best medicine yet devised for all the ills of man- and of woman.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Hard Work #Men #Medicine

  • Intelligent, thinking people could take things like this in their stride, just as they took the larger absurdities of deadly dull jobs in the city and deadly dull homes in the suburbs. Economic circumstances might force you to live in this environment, but the important thing was to keep from being contaminated. The important thing, always, was to remember who you were.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Jobs #Home #Intelligent

  • What a subtle, treacherous thing it was to let yourself go that way! Because once you've started it was terribly difficult to stop; soon you were saying "I'm sorry, of course you're right", and "Whatever you think is best", and "you're the most wonderful and valuable thing int he world", and the next thing you knew all honesty, all truth, was as far away and glimmering, as hopelessly unattainable as the world of the golden people.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Honesty #Sorry #Thinking

  • A man could rant and smash and grapple with the State Police, and still the sprinklers whirled at dusk on every lawn and the television droned in every living room.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Men #Police #Television

  • ...you found you were saying yes when you meant no, and “We’ve got to be together in this thing” when you meant the very opposite ... and then you were face to face, in total darkness, with the knowledge that you didn’t know who you were. And how could anyone else be blamed for that?
    -- Richard Yates

    #Opposites #Darkness #Together

  • In avoiding specific goals he had avoided specific limitations. For the time being the world, life itself, could be his chosen field.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Goal #Fields #World

  • Your cowardly self-delusions about “love” when you know as well as I do that there’s never been anything between us but contempt and distrust and a terrible sickly dependence on each other’s weakness- that’s why. That’s why I couldn’t stop laughing about the Inability to Love, and that’s why I can’t stand to let you touch me, and that’s why I’ll never again believe in anything you think, let alone anything you say
    -- Richard Yates

    #Believe #Thinking #Self

  • People did change, and a change could be a bloom as well as a withering...
    -- Richard Yates

    #People #Wells

  • Our ability to measure and apportion time affords an almost endless source of comfort.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Comfort #Endless #Source

  • Anybody's marriage might benefit from an occasional embargo on talk.
    -- Richard Yates

    #Might #Benefits #Embargo