David Rakoff quotes:

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  • Let's face it: professing a deep interest in movies, the absolutely dominant global art form of the last century, is at this point like professing an interest in air. Passion is nice. Erudition is admirable. But it's like that moment when good manners cross over into meaningless etiquette.

  • Deprived of the opportunity to judge one another by the cars we drive, New Yorkers, thrown together daily on mass transit, form silent opinions based on our choices of subway reading. Just by glimpsing the cover staring back at us, we can reach the pinnacle of carnal desire or the depths of hatred. Soul mate or mortal enemy.

  • Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Well, of course not Adam and Steve. Never Adam and Steve. It's Adam and Steven.

  • A secondhand wardrobe hand clothes doesn't make one an artist. Neither do a hair-trigger temper, melancholic nature, propensity for tears, hating your parents, or HIV. I hate to say it - none of these make one an artist. They can help, but just as being gay doesn't make one witty... the only thing that makes one an artist is making art.

  • There's nothing particularly wrong with being more pessimistic than optimistic. Optimism is broad-based, non-detail-oriented thinking; pessimism is detail-oriented thinking.

  • I had a beautiful childhood and a lovely childhood. I just didn't like being a child. I didn't like the rank injustice of not being listened to. I didn't like the lack of autonomy.

  • Central to living a life that is good is a life that's forgiving. We're creatures of contact, regardless of whether we kiss or we wound.

  • Altruism is innate, but it's not instinctual. Everybody's wired for it, but a switch has to be flipped.

  • What remains of your past if you didn't allow yourself to feel it when it happened? If you don't have your experiences in the moment, if you gloss them over with jokes or zoom past them, you end up with curiously dispassionate memories.

  • There is nothing so cleansing or reassuring as a vicarious sadness.

  • I'm not sure. But that bless-his/her-heart kind of melancholic humor is among my favorite things in the world. I guess it exposes a kind of humanity - or that's the hope, at least - a kind of grudging respect for human frailty. Unless it's actually kicking human frailty while it's down - I'm not sure.

  • I am the world's worst reporter. I am apt to try too hard to help rather than just document my subjects.

  • One of the marks of a life well lived has to be reaching a state of finally getting it, of not needing more, and of being able to sign off with something approaching peace of mind.

  • Unless one is planning to go shopping - basically begging to be smothered by the ravening throngs of returners and bargain hunters; an embrace as constricting as that hugging machine designed by autistic author Temple Grandin - then Boxing Day feels like a bar after last call when the lights have been turned up.

  • Arts and crafts, or getting to be in a play with people, or making a little short film, that's pure sugar, because the stakes are so low.

  • Everybody's got something. In the end, what choice does one really have but to understand that truth, to really take it in, and then shop for groceries, get a haircut, do one's work; get on with the business of one's life. That's the hope, anyway.

  • It's the false moral component behind blind animal love that so frosts me. The faulty logic that believes that the capacity to adore a nonhuman creature is somehow a purer form of love.

  • It's rare that I'm not at work on some sort of craft project. I've often enthused about the need to make things; how it employs a unique set of muscles - physical, intellectual, spiritual - that I can attain a state of flow when making something that I almost never can when writing.

  • Those weeks before diagnosis can be among the most torturous times. There is a reason you're called a patient once the plastic bracelet goes on.

  • I cannot escape the feeling that I was, at best, a cancer tourist, that my survival means I dabbled.

  • About the only thing that I have - or had, because it's failing me lately - is my memory. I had a really good memory. I was always terribly protective of that fact.

  • Not far from my apartment, within a stretch of no more than 500 feet, there are two doggie gyms where Gotham's canines who aren't getting enough exercise running through the city's parks, or are neglecting their all-important doggie glutes and abs, can go for a workout. What can I say? This appalls me.

  • I don't particularly consider myself an actor. I have no training. I love doing it, but I would never consider myself to be a colleague of an actual actor. That would be stepping way up in class on my part.

  • Well into adulthood, writing has never gotten easier. It still only ever begins badly, and there are no guarantees that this is not the day when the jig is finally up.

  • I can see a great beauty in acknowledging the fact that the world is dark.

  • I do tend to be an anxious fellow, and I do tend to see the world as a little darker than perhaps it genuinely is, but I also do appreciate much more than a rosy scenario, I appreciate straight news. I appreciate honesty.

  • Before I sat down and became a writer, before I began to do it habitually and for my living, there was a decades-long stretch when I was terrified that it would suck, so I didn't write. I think that marks a lot of people, a real terror at being bad at something, and unfortunately, you are always bad before you can get a little better.

  • If psychoanalysis was late-19th-century secular Judaism's way of constructing spiritual meaning in a post-religious world and retail is the late 20th century's way of constructing meaning in a postreligious world, what does it mean that I'm impersonating the father of psychoanalysis in a store window to commemorate a religious holiday?"

  • I do tend to be an anxious fellow, and I do tend to see the world as a little darker than perhaps it genuinely is, but I also do appreciate much more than a rosy scenario, I appreciate straight news.

  • I find writing extraordinarily difficult and not very pleasurable, though I find having done it very pleasurable. I won't lie about that.

  • The rigors of creativity - the self-doubt, the revising, the solitude - do require a kind of self-consumption. It comes at a cost; a cost that isn't for everyone.

  • I am neither spontaneous nor ready for anything.

  • Pessimists are born, true, but they also can be made.

  • Everyone has an internal age, a time in life when one is, if not one's best, then at very least one's most authentic self. I always felt that my internal clock was calibrated somewhere between 47 and 53 years old.

  • I value kindness in myself and others. I try to remain super-vigilant about my targets and make extra sure that my sometimes barbed comments are deserved and in response to genuine malefaction.

  • Play It Again Sam's opening shot is the same as 'Purple Rose's final one: a close-up of a face, rapt in a movie house. I've certainly felt that in my life. I've been known to cry watching Gene Kelly.

  • I do not go outdoors... As far as I'm concerned, the whole point of living in New York City is indoors. You want greenery? Order the spinach.

  • If you don't have your experiences in the moment, if you gloss them over with jokes or zoom past them, you end up with curiously dispassionate memories.

  • I was going to say that writing is about disclosure and acting is about obfuscation, but that's such a little lie. Both of them are about obfuscation and masking oneself.

  • I'm anti-religious. I don't like people telling me what to do.

  • Fantastic days are what you wish upon those who have so few sunrises left, those whose lungs are so lesion-spangled with new cancer that they should be embracing as much life as they can. Time's a-wasting, go out and have yourself a fantastic day! Fantastic days are for goners.

  • Not being funny doesn't make you a bad person. Not having a sense of humor does.

  • The only thing that makes one an artist is making art. And that requires the precise opposite of hanging out; a deeply lonely and unglamorous task of tolerating oneself long enough to push something out.

  • I am no fun at all. In fact, I am anti-fun. Not as in anti-violence, but as in anti-matter. I am not so much against fun - although I suppose I kind of am - as I am the opposite of fun. I suck the fun out of a room. Or perhaps I'm just a different kind of fun; the kind that leaves on bereft of hope; the kind of fun that ends in tears.

  • Being a stranger was like being dead, and brought to mind how, in a book he had read that most folks misunderstood one common state: The flip side of love is indifference, not hate.

  • People are really trying their best. Just like being happy and sad, you will find yourself on both sides of the equation many times over your lifetime, either saying or hearing the wrong thing. Let's all give each other a pass, shall we?

  • But if one's dreams having to come true was the only referendum on whether they were beautiful, or worth dreaming, well then, no one would wish for anything. And that would be so much sadder.

  • Central to living a life that is good, is a life that's forgiving.

  • Unfortunately, there's no greater rhyme or reason as to why it would be me. And since there is no answer as to why me, it's not a question I feel really entitled to ask.

  • In the window, I fantasize... about providing grown-ups and children alike with the greatest gift of all: insight...

  • I have managed to establish an identity that is based on my internal self, and for that I feel tremendously lucky.

  • I had a tumor. But it was great.

  • In my brief glimpse of what is to come I realize how little I care to witness it. I have seen the future and I'm fairly relieved to say, it looks nothing like me.

  • Have you ever had one of those moments when you know that you're being visited by your own future? They come so rarely and with little fanfare, those moments. They're not particularly photogenic. There's no breach in the clouds to reveal the shining city on a hill. No folk dancing children outside your bus, no production values to speak of- just a glimpse of such quotidian, incontrovertible truth that after the initial shock at the supreme weirdness of it all, a kind of calm sets in. So this is to be my life.

  • Is there some lesson on how to be friends? I think what it means is that central to living a life that is good is a life that's forgiving. We're creatures of contact regardless of whether we kiss or we wound. Still, we must come together. Though it may spell destruction, we still ask for more-- since it beats staying dry but so lonely on shore. So we make ourselves open while knowing full well it's essentially saying "please, come pierce my shell.

  • Almost any age is better than twenty-two.

  • You can't win all the contests and then lose at one contest and say, 'Why am I not winning this contest as well?' It's random. So truthfully, again, do I wish it weren't me? Absolutely. I still can't make that logistic jump to thinking there's a reason why it shouldn't be me.

  • Simplicity, it seems, has always been wasted on those who simply cannot appreciate it

  • I have so little control over the act of writing that it's all I can do to remain conscious.

  • New York is breaking my heart. Iā??ve often said that itā??s like having a really interesting boyfriend suddenly becoming really, really into wine, and having to have endless conversations about it.

  • Youth is not wasted on the young, it is perpetrated on the young.

  • I do not go outdoors. Not more than I have to. As far as I'm concerned, the whole point of living in New York City is indoors. You want greenery? Order the spinach.

  • I find life itself provides ample and sufficient tests of my valor and mettle: illness; betrayal; fruitless searches for love; working for the abusive, the insane, and the despotic. All challenges easily as thrilling to me as scrambling over icy rock in a pair of barely adequate boots.

  • I am going to the bad place, as is my wont.

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