Dreamsongs, Volume I (Dreamsongs #1)

Always the wall, keeping him apart, this man who was a first-name friend to everyone and an intimate to none. And on it, it was almost as if there were a sign that read, THIS FAR YOU GO, and no further.

Bad horror stories concern themselves with six ways to kill a vampire, and graphic accounts of how the rats ate Billy's genitalia. Good horror stories are about larger things. About hope and despair. About love and hatred, lust and jealousy. About friendship and adolescence and sexuality and rage, loneliness and alienation and psychosis, courage and cowardice, the human mind and body and spirit under stress and in agony, the human heart in unending conflict with itself. Good horror stories make us look at our reflections in dark distorting mirrors, where we glimpse things that disturb us, things that we did not really want to look at. Horror looks into the shadows of the human soul, at the fears and rages that live within us all.
But darkness is meaningless without light, and horror is pointless without beauty. The best horror stories are stories first and horror second, and however much they scare us, they do more than that as well. They have room in them for laughter as well as screams, for triumph and tenderness as well as tragedy. They concern themselves not simply with fear, but with life in all its infinite variety, with love and death and birth and hope and lust and transcendence, with the whole range of experiences and emotions that make up the human condition. Their characters are people, people who linger in our imagination, people like those around us, people who do not exist solely to be the objects of violent slaughter in chapter four. The best horror stories tell us truths.

callous. She

Did you ever wonder why Spot runs so much? He’s running away from Dick and Jane and Sally, the dullest family in the world.

Faith is always required. There are some things that cannot be proven. We believe that life is worth living. That is an article of faith. The purpose of life is to live, to resist death, perhaps to defy entropy.

It’s the loneliness of people trapped within themselves. The loneliness of people who have said the wrong thing so often that they don’t have the courage to say anything anymore.

I was a lot better at starting stories than I was at finishing them.

Lonely? Yes. But a solemn, brooding, tragic loneliness that a man hates with a passion—and yet loves so much he craves for more.

Oh yes, it hurts at times to be alone among the stars. But it hurts a lot more to be alone at a party. A lot more.

Sex is sharing, you see, and it's good to share with everyone. But the sharing has to be real and meaningful. That creates problems.

The hotel bar was quiet and dark, with the kind of mood that promotes good talk and serious drinking.

The Liars believe in no afterlife, no God. We see the universe as it is, Father Damien, and these naked truths are cruel ones. We who believe in life, and treasure it, will die. Afterward there will be nothing, eternal emptiness, blackness, nonexistence. In our living there has been no purpose, no poetry, no meaning. Nor do our deaths possess these qualities. When we are gone, the universe will not long remember us, and shortly it will be as if we had never lived at all. Our worlds and our universe will not long outlive us. Ultimately entropy will consume all, and our puny efforts cannot stay that awful end. It will be gone. It has never been. It has never mattered. The universe itself is doomed, transient, uncaring. [...] The truths, the great truths - and most of the lesser ones as well - they are unbearable for most men. We find our shield in faith. Your faith, my faith, any faith. It doesn't matter, as long as we believe, really and truly believe, in whatever lie we cling to. [...] We know truth for the cruel instrument it is. Beauty is infinitely preferable to truth. We invent beauty. Faiths, political movements, high ideals, belief in love and fellowship. All of them are lies. [...] Our lies are not perfect, of course. The truths are too big. But perhaps someday we will find one great lie that all humanity can use. Until then, a thousand small lies will do.
(from Way of Cross and Dragon)

The loneliness of people who sit alone in furnished rooms in crowded cities, because they’ve got nowhere to go and no one to talk to. The loneliness of guys who go to bars to meet someone, only to discover they don’t know how to strike up a conversation, and wouldn’t have the courage to do so if they did. There’s no grandeur to that kind of loneliness. No purpose and no poetry. It’s loneliness without meaning. It’s sad and squalid and pathetic, and it stinks of self-pity. Oh yes, it hurts at times to be alone among the stars. But it hurts a lot more to be alone at a party. A lot more.

The truth will set us free. But freedom is cold and empty and frightening, and lies can often be warm and beautiful.

Think of it. We know truth for the cruel instrument it is. Beauty is infinitely preferable to truth. We invent beauty. Faiths, political movements, high ideals, belief in love and fellowship. All of them are lies. We tell those lies, among others, endless others. We improve on history and myth and religion, make each more beautiful, better, easier to believe in. Our lies are not perfect, of course. The truths are too big. But perhaps someday we will find one great lie that all humanity can use.

Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need, and ye can; But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill Man! —Rudyard Kipling