Best 56 of Richard Yates quotes - MyQuotes

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Richard Yates
By Anonym 20 Sep

Richard Yates

With their mother lying in a coma twenty miles away, they clung together drunkenly and wept for the loss of their father.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Richard Yates

The whole point of crying was to quit before you cornied 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, let yourself go and you started embellishing your own sobs.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

Every man has a right to keep his own sentiments if he pleases.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

He had won but he didn't feel like a winner.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Yates

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Yates

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.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Yates

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.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Richard Yates

Neither of the Grimes sisters would have a happy life, and looking back it always seemed that the trouble began with their parents’ divorce.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Yates

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Yates

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Yates

...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?

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Yates

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

By Anonym 17 Sep

Richard Yates

Not the prettiest girl in the world, maybe, but cute and quick and fun to have around.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Yates

As a writer, I like the list of "things to strive for" that Richard Yates kept above his typewriter: genuine clarity genuine feeling the right word the exact English sentence the eloquent detail the rigorous dramatization of story

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Yates

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

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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

By Anonym 18 Sep

Richard Yates

So it hadn’t been wrong or dishonest of her to say no this morning, when he asked if she hated him, any more than it had been wrong or dishonest to serve him the elaborate breakfast and to show the elaborate interest in his work, and to kiss him goodbye. The kiss, for that matter, had been exactly right—a perfectly fair, friendly kiss, a kiss for a boy you’d just met at a party, a boy who’d danced with you and made you laugh and walked you home afterwards, talking about himself all the way. The only real mistake, the only wrong and dishonest thing, was ever to have seen him as anything more than that. Oh, for a month or two, just for fun, it might be all right to play a game like that with a boy; but all these years! And all because, in a sentimentally lonely time long ago, she had found it easy and agreeable to believe whatever this one particular boy felt like saying, and to repay him for that pleasure by telling easy, agreeable lies of her own, until each was saying what the other most wanted to hear—until he was saying “I love you” and she was saying “Really, I mean it; you’re the most interesting person I’ve ever met.” What a subtle, treacherous thing it was to let yourself go that way! Because once you’d 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 in the 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. Then you discovered you were working at life the way the Laurel Players worked at The Petrified Forest, or the way Steve Kovick worked at his drums—earnest and sloppy and full of pretension and all wrong; you found you were saying yes when you meant no, and “We’ve got to be together on this thing” when you meant the very opposite; then you were breathing gasoline as if it were flowers and abandoning yourself to a delirium of love under the weight of a clumsy, grunting, red-faced man you didn’t even like—Shep Campbell!—and then you were face to face, in total darkness, with the knowledge that you didn’t know who you were. (p.416-7)

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Yates

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.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Richard Yates

My time on the financial desk had become a slow ordeal of waiting for my superiors to discover more and more of how little I knew about what I was doing; and now however pathetically willing I might be to learn all the things I was supposed to know, it had become much too ludicrously late to ask.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Yates

People did change, and a change could be a bloom as well as a withering.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Richard Yates

I seem to have to lost confidence in just about everything else. I've come to believe that only a very, very few matters in the world can ever be trusted to make sense.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Yates

And where are the windows? Where does the light come in? Bernie, old friend, forgive me, but I haven't got the answer to that one. I'm not even sure if there are any windows in this particular house. Maybe the light is just going to have to come in as best it can, through whatever chinks and cracks have been left in the builder's faulty craftsmanship, and if that's the case you can be sure that nobody feels worse about it than I do. God knows, Bernie; God knows there certainly ought to be a window around here somewhere, for all of us.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Yates

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.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Richard Yates

He let the fingers of one hand splay out across the pocket of his shirt to show what a simple, physical thing the heart was; then he made the same hand into a fist.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Richard Yates

There was plenty of liquor flowing, but most of it seemed to be going down my mother's throat.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Yates

And when the sobs finally begin they are long, scalding ones, the kind that come again and again.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Yates

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.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Richard Yates

Our ability to measure and apportion time affords an almost endless source of comfort. “Synchronise watches at oh six hundred,” says the infantry captain, and each of his huddled lieutenants finds a 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… “Oh, let me see now,” says the ancient man, tilting his withered head to wince and blink at the sun in bewildered reminiscence, “my first wife passed away the spring of -” and for a moment he is touched with terror. The spring of what? Past? Future? What is any spring but a mindless rearrangement of cells in the crust of the spinning earth as it floats in endless circuit of its sun? What is the sun itself but one of a billion insensible stars forever going nowhere into nothingness? Infinity! But soon the merciful valves and switches of his brain begin to do their tired work, and “The spring of Nineteen-Ought-Six,” he is able to say. “Or no, wait-” and his blood runs cold again as the galaxies revolve. “Wait! Nineteen-Ought — Four.”… He may have forgotten the shape of his first wife’s smile and the sound of her voice in tears, but by imposing a set of numerals on her death, he has imposed coherence on his own life and on life itself… “Yes sir,” he can say with authority, “nineteen-Ought-Four,” and the stars tonight will please him as tokens of his ultimate heavenly rest. He has brought order out of chaos.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Yates

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

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Yates

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

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Yates

And where are the windows? Where does the light come in? Bernie, old friend, forgive me, but I haven't got the answer to that one. I'm not even sure if there are any windows in this particular house. Maybe the light is just going to have to come in as best it can, through whatever chunks and cracks have been left in the builder's faulty craftsmanship, and if that's the case you can be sure that nobody feels worse about it than I do. God knows, Bernie; God knows there certainly ought to be a window around here somewhere, for all of us.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Richard Yates

I had discovered, or rediscovered, that crying is a pleasure—that it can be a pleasure beyond all reckoning if your head is pressed in your mother's waist and her hands are on your back, and if she happens to be wearing clean clothes.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Richard Yates

She had never heard the word 'intellectual' used as a noun before she went to Barnard, and she took it to heart. It was a brave noun, a proud noun, a noun suggesting lifelong dedication to lofty things and a cool disdain for the commonplace. An intellectual might lose her virginity to a soldier in the park, but she could learn to look back on it with wry, amused detachment. An intellectual might have a mother who showed her underpants when drunk, but she wouldn't let it bother her. And Emily Grimes might not be an intellectual yet, but if she took copious notes in even the dullest of her classes, and if she read every night until her eyes ached, it was only a question of time.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Yates

And Emily had yet to shed a single tear. It troubled her all the way back to the city, and she rode with one hand sandwiched between her cheek and the cool, shuddering glass of the limousine window, as if that might help. She tried whispering 'Daddy' to herself, tried closing her eyes and picturing his face, but it didn't work. Then she thought of something that made her throat close up: she might never have been her father's baby, but he had always called her 'little rabbit.' And she was crying easily now, causing her mother to reach over and squeeze her hand; the only trouble was that she couldn't be sure whether she cried for her father or for Warren Maddock, or Maddox, who was back in South Carolina now being shipped out to a division.    But she stopped crying abruptly when she realized that even that was a lie: these tears, as always before in her life, were wholly for herself—for poor, sensitive Emily Grimes whom nobody understood, and who understood nothing.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Yates

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