Stephen King

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Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
~ Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, from Different Seasons

Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author, screenwriter, musician, columnist, actor, film producer and director. A 2003 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Book Awards, King's books have been enormously successful, and are often featured on bestseller lists.

See also:
Carrie
Night Shift
'Salem's Lot
The Dark Tower
Danse Macabre
On Writing
The Stand (miniseries)

Quotes[edit]

  • I think that marijuana should not only be legal, I think it should be a cottage industry. It would be wonderful for the state of Maine. There's some pretty good homegrown dope. I'm sure it would be even better if you could grow it with fertilizers and have greenhouses.
  • I work until beer o'clock.
    • On his 9 to 5 writing day, as quoted in Time (6 October 1986)
  • French is the language that turns dirt into romance.
    • Time (October 6, 1986)
  • I have grown into a Bestsellasaurus Rex — a big, stumbling book-beast that is loved when it shits money and hated when it tramples houses... I started out as a storyteller; along the way I became an economic force.
    • The Politics of Limited Editions essay in Castle Rock| Newsletter, vol. 1, no. 6 (June 1985), republished in various real world publications, including The Stephen King Story (1992) by George W. Beahm, p. 112
  • President Clinton has made a few feeble swipes at addressing this issue [school violence], but one can only gape at the unintentionally comic spectacle of this man chastising the gun-lobby and America's love of violent movies while he rains bombs on Yugoslavia, where at least twenty noncombatants have already died for every innocent student at Columbine High. It is like listening to a man with a crack-pipe in his hand lecture children about the evils of drugs.
    • Keynote Address, Vermont Library Conference, VEMA Annual Meeting, (26 May 1999)
  • I understand where Bill Maher is coming from when he says, basically, the world is destroying itself over a bunch of fairy tales about talking snakes and men who are alive inside fishes. I'm very sympathetic to it, but at the same time, given the cosmos that we're living in, it's very persuasive, the idea that there is some kind of first cause that's running things. It might not be the god of Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, it might not be the god of al-Qaida, and it might not be the god of Abraham, but something very well could be running things. The order of the universe as we see it, the interlocking nature, and the way things work together, are persuasive of the idea that there may be some overarching first cause.
  • On a couple of occasions I've shocked myself. Pet Sematery was appalling when it first came out on to the page.

Rage (1977)[edit]

  • I don't think there was anything in my brain right then except the usual background static -- the kind you get on your radio when it's turned up all the way and tuned to no station at all. My brain had checked to the power, so to speak; the little guy wearing the Napoleon hat inside was showing aces and betting them.
  • You can go through your whole life telling yourself that life is logical, life is prosaic, life is sane. Above all, sane. And I think it is. I've had a lot of time to think about that.
  • There isn't any division of time to express the marrow of our lives, the time between the explosion of lead from the muzzle and the meat impact, between the impact and the darkness. There's only barren instant replay that shows nothing new. I shot her; she fell; and there was an indescribable moment of silence, an infinite duration of time, and we all stepped back, watching the ball go around and around, ticking, bouncing, lighting for an instant, going on, heads and tails, red and black, odd and even...I think that moment ended. I really do. But sometimes, in the dark, I think that hideous random moment is still going on, that the wheel is even yet in spin, and I dreamed all the rest. What must it be like for a suicide coming down from a high ledge? I'm sure it must be a very sane feeling. That's probably why they scream all the way down.
  • "This," I said pleasantly, "is known as getting it on."
  • Susan Brooks was one of those girls who never say anything unless called upon, the ones the teachers always have to ask to speak up, please. A very studious, very serious girl. A rather pretty but not terribly bright girl -- the kind who isn't allowed to give up and take the general or the commercial courses, because she had a terribly bright older brother or older sister, and the teachers expect comparable things from her. In fine, one of those girls who are holding the dirty end of the stick with as much good grace and manners as they can muster. Usually they marry truck drivers and move to the West Coast, where they have kitchen nooks with Formica counters -- and they write letters to the Folks Back East as seldom as they can get away with. They make quiet, successful lives for themselves and grow prettier as the shadow of the bright older brother or sister falls away from them.
  • My dad has hated me for as long as I can remember. That's a pretty sweeping statement, and I know how phony it sounds. It sounds petulant and really fantastic, the kind of weapon kids always use when the old man won't come across with the car for your heavy date at the drive-in with Peggy Sue or when he tells you that if you flunk world history the second time through he's going to beat the living hell out of you. In this day and age when everybody thinks psychology is God's gift to the poor old anally fixated human race and even the president of the United States pops a trank before dinner, it's really a good way to get rid of those Old Testament guilts that keep creeping up our throats like the aftertaste of a bad meal we overate. If you say your father hated you as a kid, you can go out and flash the neighborhood, commit rape, or burn down the Knights of Pythias bingo parlor and still cop a plea... But it also means that no one will believe you if it's true. You're the little boy who cried wolf. And for me it's true...I don't think Dad himself really knew it until then. Even if you could dig to the very bottom of his motives, he'd probably say - at the most - that he was hating me for my own good.
  • That's what a shrink is for, my friends and neighbors; their job is to fuck the mentally disturbed and make them pregnant with sanity. It's a bull's job and they go to school to learn how, and their courses are all variations on a theme: Slipping It to the Psychos for Fun and Profit, Mostly Profit. And if you find yourself someday lying on that great analyst's couch where so many have lain before you, I'd ask you to remember one thing: When you get sanity by stud, the child always looks like the father. And they have a very high suicide rate.
  • And then a funny thing happened to me...except when I think about it, it wasn't very funny at all. There must be a line in all of us, a very clear one, just like the line that divides the light side of a planet from the dark. I think they call that line the terminator. That's a very good word for it. Because at that moment I was freaking out, and at the next I was as cool as a cucumber.
  • For no reason at all, I thought of New Year's Eve, when all those people crowd into Times Square and scream like jackals as the lighted ball slides down the pole, ready to shed its thin party glare on three hundred and sixty-five new days in this best of all possible worlds. I have always wondered what it would be like to be caught in one of those crowds, screaming and not able to hear your own voice, your individuality momentarily wiped out and replaced with the blind empathic overslop of the crowd's lurching, angry anticipation, hip to hip and shoulder to shoulder with no one in particular.

The Shining (1977)[edit]

  • A stupid man is more prone to cabin fever just as he's more prone to shoot someone over a card game or commit a spur-of-the-moment robbery. He gets bored. When the snow comes and there's nothing to do but watch TV or play solitaire and cheat when he can't get all the aces out. Nothing to do but bitch at his wife and nag at the kids and drink.
  • Your daddy... sometimes he does things he's sorry for later. Sometimes he doesn't think the way he should. That doesn't happen very often, but sometimes it does.
  • 'Any big hotels have got scandals,' he said. 'Just like every big hotel has got a ghost. Why? Hell, people come and go.'

The Stand (1978)[edit]

  • He had a massive stroke. He died with his tie on. Do you think that could be our generation's equivalent of that old saying about dying with your boots on?
  • You couldn't get hold of the things you'd done and turn them right again. Such a power might be given to the gods, but it was not given to women and men, and that was probably a good thing. Had it been otherwise, people would probably die of old age still trying to rewrite their teens.
  • Afterward Larry felt as if he had been through a long pillow-fight in which all the pillows had been treated with a low-grade poison gas.
    • Larry Underwood, Page 36
  • Starkey put his fingers under the man's chin and pushed his head back. As he did so, the man's eyeballs fell back into his head with a meaty little thud. The words on the sign had been written in red Magic Marker. NOW YOU KNOW IT WORKS, the sign said, ANY QUESTIONS?
    • Page 170
  • Did you know that Dairy Queen ice cream is mostly bubbles?
    • Frannie
  • M-O-O-N, that spells ILLEGAL!
    • Tom Cullen
  • There are a great many ways to commit suicide you know.
  • When asked, "How do you write?" I invariably answer, "one word at a time."
  • Show me a man or a woman alone and I'll show you a saint. Give me two and they'll fall in love. Give me three and they'll invent the charming thing we call 'society'. Give me four and they'll build a pyramid. Give me five and they'll make one an outcast. Give me six and they'll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they'll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.
    • Glen Bateman

The Long Walk (1979)[edit]

  • It was in the rule book. They gave you three warnings. The fourth time you fell below four miles an hour you were...well, you were out of the Walk. But if you had three warnings and could manage to walk for three hours, you were back in the sun again.
  • Talk had faded with the daylight. The silence that set in was oppressive. The encroaching dark, the groundmist collecting into small, curdled pools...for the first time it seemed perfectly real and totally unnatural, and he wanted either Jan or his mother, some woman, and he wondered what in the hell he was doing and how he ever could have gotten involved. He could not even kid himself that everything had not been up front, because it had been. And he hadn't even done it alone. There were currently ninety-five other fools in this parade.
  • It wasn't as bad, Garraty discovered, if you stared down at your feet as you walked and leaned forward a little. You stared strictly down at the tiny patch of pavement between your feet and it gave you the impression that you were walking on level ground. Of course, you couldn't kid yourself that your lungs and the breath in your throat weren't heating up, because they were.
  • Somehow the word started coming back - some people still had breath to spare, apparently. The word was this hill was a quarter of a mile long. The word was it was two miles long. The word was that no Walker had ever gotten a ticket on this hill. The word was that three boys had gotten tickets here just last year. And after that, the word stopped coming back.
  • Overhead, capricious spring clouds began to scud across the sky in mackerel shapes, promising more rain. Garraty turned up his collar and listened to the sound of his feet pounding the pavement. There was a trick to that, a subtle mental adjustment, like having better night vision the longer you were in the dark. This morning the sound of his feet had been lost to him. They had been lost in the tramp of ninety-nine other pairs, not to mention the rumble of the halftrack. But now he heard them easily. His own particular stride, and the way his left foot scraped the pavement every now and then. It seemed to him that the sound of his footfalls had become as loud to his ears as the sound of his own heartbeat. Vital, life and death sound.
  • The darkness. Goddamn the darkness. It seemed to Garraty they had been buried alive in it. Immured in it. Dawn was a century away. Many of them would never see the dawn. Or the sun. They were buried six feet deep in the darkness. All they needed was the monotonous chanting of the priest, his voice muffled but not entirely obscured by the new-packed darkness, above which the mourners stood. The mourners were not even aware that they were here, they were alive, they were screaming and scratching and clawing at the coffin-lid darkness, the air was flaking and rusting away, the air was turning into poison gas, hope fading until hope itself was darkness, and above all of it the nodding chapel-bell voice of the priest and the impatient, shuffling feet of mourners anxious to be off into the warm May sunshine. Then, overmastering that, the sighing, shuffling chorus of the bugs and the beetles, squirming their way through the earth, come for the feast...I could go crazy, Garraty thought. I could go right the fuck off my rocker.
  • Three-thirty in the morning...To Ray Garraty it seemed the longest minute of the longest night of his entire life. It was low tide, dead ebb, the time when the sea washes back, leaving slick mudflats covered with straggled weed, rusty beer cans, rotted prophylactics, broken bottles, smashed buoys, and green-mossed skeletons in tattered bathing trunks. It was dead ebb.
  • Daylight came creeping through a white, muted world of fog. Garraty was walking by himself again. He no longer even knew how many had bought it in the night. Five maybe. His feet had headaches. Terrible migraines. He could feel them swelling each time he put his weight on them. His buttocks hurt. His spine was icy fire. But his feet had headaches and the blood was coagulating in them and swelling them and turning the veins to al dente spaghetti.
  • "The reason all of this is so horrible," McVries said, "is because it's just trivial. You know? We've sold ourselves and traded our souls on trivialities. Olson, he was trivial. He was magnificent, too, but those things aren't mutually exclusive. He was magnificent and trivial. Either way, or both, he died like a bug under a microscope."

The Dead Zone (1979)[edit]

  • Ninety-five percent of people who walk the earth are simply inert. One percent are saints, and one percent are assholes. The other three percent are people who do what they say they can do.
  • He felt as if Stillson might have taken the game of the Laughing Tiger a step further: inside the beast-skin, a man, yes. But inside the man-skin, a beast.

Different Seasons (1982)[edit]

  • The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them - words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that, isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.
  • Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.

Christine (1983)[edit]

  • Has it ever occurred to you...that parents are nothing but overgrown kids until their children drag them into adulthood? Usually kicking and screaming?
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 3
  • I think that part of being a parent is trying to kill your kids...Because as soon as you have a kid, you know for sure that you're going to die. When you have a kid, you see your own gravestone.
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 3
  • If being a kid is about learning how to live, then being a grown-up is about learning how to die.
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 5
  • Son, you're probably too young to look for wisdom in anyone's words but your own, but I'll tell you this: love is the enemy... Yes. The poets continually and sometimes willfully mistake love. Love is the old slaughterer. Love is not blind. Love is a cannibal with extremely acute vision. Love is insectile; it is always hungry.
    When asked what love eats:
    Friendship. It eats friendship.
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 11
  • I think that everybody has a backhoe in his or her head, and at moments of stress or trouble you can fire it up and simply push everything into a great big slit-trench in the floor of your conscious mind. Get rid of it. Bury it. Except that that slit-trench goes down into the subconscious, and sometimes, in dreams, the bodies stir and walk.
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 18
  • A secret needs two faces to bounce between; a secret needs to see itself in another pair of eyes.
    • Epilogue

Pet Sematary (1983)[edit]

  • Death is a mystery, and burial is a secret.
    • Stephen King in introduction.
  • Oh, about beer I never lie. A man who lies about beer makes enemies.
    • Jud, to Louis
  • I don't want Church to be like all those dead pets! I don't want Church to ever be dead! He's my cat! He's not God's cat! Let God have His own cat! Let God have all the damn old cats He wants, and kill them all! Church is mine!
    • Ellie on her fears for Church
  • It takes the average human seven minutes to go to sleep, but according to Hand's Human Physiology, it takes the same average human fifteen to twenty minutes to wake up. It is as if sleep is a pool from which emerging is more difficult than entering. When the sleeper wakes, he or she comes up by degrees, from deep sleep to light sleep to what is sometimes called "waking sleep," a state in which the sleeper can hear sounds and will even respond to questions without being aware of it later...except perhaps as fragments of dreams.
  • They are secret things. Women are supposed to be the ones good at keeping secrets, and I guess they do keep a few, but any woman who knows anything at all would tell you she's never really seen into any man's heart. The soil of a man's heart is stonier, Louis - like the soil up there in the old Micmac burying ground. Bedrock's close. A man grows what he can... and he tends it.
    • Jud speaking to Louis, after the burying the cat
  • Maybe I did it because kids need to know that sometimes dead is better.
    • Jud, to Louis
  • Some things it don't pay to be curious about.
    • Jud, to Louis
  • He was waiting to choke you on a marble, to smother you with a dry-cleaning bag, to sizzle you into eternity with a fast and lethal boogie of electricity- Available At Your Nearest Switch plate Or Vacant Light Socket Right Now. There was death in a quarter bag of peanuts, an aspirated piece of steak, the next pack of cigarettes. He was around all the time, he monitored all the checkpoints between the mortal and the eternal. Dirty needles, poison beetles, downed live wires, forest fires. Whirling roller skates that shot nerdy little kids into busy intersections. When you got into the bathtub to take a shower, Oz got right in there too- Shower With A Friend. When you got on an airplane, Oz took your boarding pass. He was in the water you drank, the food you ate. Who's out there? you howled in the dark when you were all frightened and all alone, and it was his answer that came back: Don't be afraid, it's just me. Hi, howaya? You got cancer of the bowel, what a bummer, so solly, Cholly! Septicemia! Leukemia! Atherosclerosis! Coronary thrombosis! Encephalitis! Osteomyelitis! Hey-ho, let's go! Junkie in a doorway with a knife. Phone call in the middle of the night. Blood cooking in battery acid on some exit ramp in North Carolina. Big handfuls of pills, munch em up. That peculiar cast of the fingernails following asphyxiation- in its final grim struggle to survive the brain takes all oxygen that is left, even that in those living cells under the nails. Hi, folks, my name's Oz the Gweat and Tewwible, but you can call me Oz if you want- hell, we're old friends by now. Just stopped by to whop you with a little congestive heart failure or a cranial blood clot or something; can't stay, got to see a woman about a breech birth, then I've got a little smoke-inhalation job to do in Omaha.
  • It's probably wrong to believe there can be any limit to the horror which the human mind can experience. On the contrary, it seems that some exponential effect begins to obtain as deeper and deeper darkness falls - as little as one may like to support the idea that when the nightmare grows black enough, horror spawns horror, one coincidental evil begets other, often more deliberate evils, until finally blackness seems to cover everything. And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity. That such events have their own Rube Goldberg absurdity goes almost without saying. At some point, it all starts to become rather funny. That may be the point at which sanity begins either to save itself or to buckle and break down; that point at which one's sense of humor begins to reassert itself.
  • What you buy is what you own, and sooner or later what you own will come back to you.

Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)[edit]

  • Something inhuman has come to Tarker's Mills, as unseen as the full moon riding the night sky high above. It is the Werewolf, and there is no more reason for its coming now than there would be for the arrival of cancer, or a psychotic with murder on his mind, or a killer tornado. Its time is now, its place is here, in this little Maine town where baked bean church suppers are a weekly event, where small boys and girls still bring apples to their teachers, where the Nature Outings of the Senior Citizen's Club are religiously reported in the weekly paper. Next week there will be news of a darker variety.
    Outside, its tracks begin to fill up with snow, and the shriek of the wind seems savage with pleasure. There is nothing of God or Light in that heartless sound—it is all black winter and dark ice.
    The cycle of the Werewolf has begun.
    • January
  • Love is like dying.
    • February
  • The smoking butt end of the year, November's dark iron has come to Tarker's Mills.
    • November

Cat's Eye (1985)[edit]

  • It takes a son of a bitch to change a habit.

IT (1986)[edit]

  • Kids, the fiction is the truth inside the lie, and the truth of this fiction is simple enough: the magic exists.
  • The boat dipped and swayed and sometimes took on water, but it did not sink; the two brothers had waterproofed it well. I do not know where it finally fetched up, if it ever did; perhaps it reached the sea and sails there forever like a magic boat in a fairytale. All I know is that it was still afloat and still running on the breast of the flood when it passed the incorporated town limits of Derry, Maine, and there it passes out of this tale forever.
  • Once you get into cosmological shit like this, you got to throw away the instruction manual.
    • The Voice of The Turtle
  • Maybe, he thought, there aren't any such things as good or bad friends - maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you're hurt and who help you feel not so lonely. Maybe they're always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for. Maybe worth dying for, too, if that's what has to be. No good friends. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart.
  • So you leave, and there is an urge to look back, to look back just once as the sunset fades, to see that severe New England skyline one final time...Best not to look back. Best to believe that there will be happily ever afters all the way around - and so there may be; who is to say there will not be such endings? Not all boats which sail away into darkness never find the sun again, or the hand of another child; if life teaches anything at all, it teaches that there are so many happy endings that the man who believes there is no God needs his rationality called into serious question...So drive away quick, drive away while the last of the light slips away...drive away from Derry, from memory...but not from desire. That stays, the bright cameo of all we were and all we believed as children, all that shone in our eyes even when we were lost and the wind blew in the night. Drive away and try to keep smiling. Get a little rock and roll on the radio and go toward all the life there is with all the courage you can find and all the belief you can muster. Be true, be brave, stand. All the rest is darkness.
    • Page 1087
  • We all float down here!
    • Pennywise
  • I will write about all of this one day, he thinks, and knows it's just a dawn thought, an after-dreaming thought. But it's nice to think so for a while in the morning's clean silence, to think that childhood has its own sweet secrets and confirms mortality, and that mortality defines all courage and love. To think that what has looked forward must also look back, and that each life makes its own imitation of immortality: a wheel.
    Or so Bill Denbrough sometimes thinks on those early mornings after dreaming, when he almost remembers his childhood, and the friends with whom he shared it.

Misery (1987)[edit]

  • The reason authors almost always put a dedication on a book, Annie, is because their selfishness even horrifies themselves in the end.
  • In a book, all would have gone according to plan.... but life was so fucking untidy - what could you say for an existence where some of your most crucial conversations of your life took place when you needed to take a shit, or something? An existence where there weren't even any chapters?

The Eyes of the Dragon (1987)[edit]

  • She was a grown up now, and she discovered that being a grown up was not quite what she had suspected it would be when she was a child. She had thought then that she would make a conscious decision one day to simply put her toys and games and little make-believes away. Now she discovered that was not what happened at all. Instead, she discovered, interest simply faded. It became less and less and less, until a dust of years drew over the bright pleasures of childhood, and they were forgotten.
  • Did they live happily ever after? They did not. No one ever does, in spite of what the stories may say. They had their good days, as you do, and they had their bad days, and you know about those. They had their victories, as you do, and they had their defeats, and you know about those, too. There were times when they felt ashamed of themselves, knowing they had not done their best, and there were times when they knew they had stood where their God had meant them to stand. All I'm trying to say is that they lived as well as they could.

Needful Things (1991)[edit]

  • The devil's voice is sweet to hear.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes (1993)[edit]

  • When I was a kid I believed everything I was told, everything I read, and every dispatch sent out by my own overheated imagination. This made for more than a few sleepless nights, but it also filled the world I lived in with colors and textures I would not have traded for a lifetime of restful nights.
    • Introduction
  • The idea for each of the stories in this book came in a moment of belief and was written in a burst of faith, happiness, and optimism. Those positive feelings have their dark analogues, however, and the fear of failure is a long way from the worst of them. The worst—for me, at least—is the gnawing speculation that I may have already said everything I have to say, and am now only listening to the steady quacking of my own voice because the silence when it stops is just too spooky.
    • Introduction

Desperation (1996)[edit]

  • Do you know how cruel your God can be, David. How fantastically cruel? ...Sometimes he makes us live.

The Green Mile (1996)[edit]

I'm rightly tired of the pain I hear and feel, boss. I'm tired of bein on the road, lonely as a robin in the rain.
Originally published in a serialized edition with six parts: The Two Dead Girls, The Mouse on the Mile, Coffey's Hands, The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix, Night Journey, and Coffey on the Mile
  • There was no death row at Cold Mountain, only E Block, set apart from the other four and about a quarter their size, brick instead of wood, with a horrible bare metal roof that glared in the summer sun like a delirious eyeball.
  • He looked like he could have snapped the chains that held him as easily as you might snap the ribbons on a Christmas present, but when you looked in his face, you knew he wasn't going to do anything like that.
  • "Your name is John Coffey."
    "Yes, sir, boss, like the drink only not spelled the same way."
  • "I'm rightly tired of the pain I hear and feel, boss. I'm tired of bein on the road, lonely as a robin in the rain. Not never havin no buddy to go on with or tell me where we's comin from or goin' to or why. I'm tired of people bein ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head. I'm tired of all the times I've wanted to help and couldn't. I'm tired of bein in the dark. Mostly it's the pain. There's too much. If I could end it, I would. But I cain't.
  • "He kill them with they love", John said. "They love for each other. You see how it was?" I nodded, incapable of speech.
    He smiled. The tears were flowing again, but he smiled. "That's how it is every day", he said, "all over the world."
  • We each owe a death, there are no exceptions, I know that, but sometimes, oh God, the Green Mile is so long.

Bag of Bones (1998)[edit]

  • This is how we go on: one day a time, one meal at a time, one pain at a time, one breath at a time. Dentists go on one root canal at a time; boat builders go on one hull at a time. If you write books, you go on one page at a time. We turn from all we know and all we fear. We study catalogues, watch football games, choose Sprint over AT&T. We count the birds in the sky and will not turn from the window when we hear the footsteps behind as something comes up the hall; we say yes, I agree that clouds often look like other things - fish and unicorns and men on horseback - but they are really only clouds. Even when the lightning flashes inside them we say they are only clouds and turn our attention to the next meal, the next pain, the next breath, the next page. This is how we go on.

Hearts in Atlantis (1999)[edit]

I don't think time matters much if you're a Breaker.
  • Hearts can break. Yes. Hearts can break. Sometimes I think it would be better if we died when they did, but we don't.
  • I cried, all right. I sat there at my desk and I cried for her, for me, for both of us, for all of us. I can't remember hurting any more in my life than I did then. Hearts are tough, she said, most times hearts don't break, and I'm sure that's right … but what about then? What about who we were then? What about hearts in Atlantis?
    • Hearts in Atlantis, § 42
  • I don't think time matters much if you're a Breaker.
    • Bobby, in Heavenly Shades of Night are Falling

Storm of the Century (1999)[edit]

  • When his life was ruined, his family killed, his farm destroyed, Job knelt down on the ground and yelled up to the heavens, "Why God? Why me?" and the thundering voice of God answered, "There's just something about you that pisses me off".
  • Born in Lust, Turn to Dust. Born in Sin, Come on In

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999)[edit]

  • The world has teeth and it can bite you with them any time it wants.

Everything's Eventual (2002)[edit]

  • This is nine! Nine! This is nine! Nine! This is ten! Ten! We have killed your friends! Every friend is now dead! This is six! Six! […] Eighteen! This is now eighteen! Take cover when the siren sounds! This is four! Four! […] Five! This is five! Ignore the siren! Even if you leave this room, you can never leave this room!
  • Luck was a joke. Even good luck was just bad luck with its hair combed.

Commencement Address, University of Maine (May 7, 2005)[edit]

Online text and audio

  • Hug and kiss whoever helped get you - financially, mentally, morally, emotionally - to this day. Parents, mentors, friends, teachers. If you're too uptight to do that, at least do the old handshake thing, but I recommend a hug and a kiss. Don't let the sun go down without saying thank you to someone, and without admitting to yourself that absolutely no one gets this far alone.
  • Don't live in this place. If you're a grad student or if you have a few more courses to pick up, fine. But if you're still hanging out in Orono or Old Town three years from now, living like an undergraduate in some sleazy apartment or trailer park, there's something wrong with you. This is not Never-Neverland. Peter Pan graduated back in '73 and now has a nice little farm in Bethel. You are not the Lost Boys and Lost Girls, but if you stay here too long, you will grow the equivalent of donkey ears. For most of you, it's time to move on. If you didn't have a better time here than you did in high school, you're weird. If you want to stay here and keep being an undergraduate, you're very weird.
  • Don't forget that you're a physical being with a power-plant to take care of and maintain. I'm talking about the bod under the blue gown. I'm not going to say that we're a lazy, overweight society, a fast-food eatin', SUV-ridin', soda-guzzlin', beer-chuggin', TV-watchin', size-XL-wearin', walk-don't-run generation...except I guess I just did.
  • Don't forget that you're a mental being, with a humongous trillion gigawatt hard-drive at your disposal. Most of you have been running it like crazy for four years, moaning about all the books you've had to read, the papers you've had to write, and the tests you've had to take. Yet thanks to that hard-drive and about a thousand cups of coffee, you made it. Just...let me put it this way. I can find out where you live. I have my resources. And if I show up at your house ten years from now and find nothing in your living room but The Readers Digest, nothing on your bedroom nighttable but the newest Dan Brown novel, and nothing in your bathroom but Jokes for the John, I'll chase you down to the end of your driveway and back, screaming "Where are your books? You graduated college ten years ago, so how come there are no damn books in your house? Why are you living on the intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese?" I sound like I'm joking about this, but I'm not. You've got a brain under the cap you're wearing. Take care of the damned thing. Try to remember there's more to life than Vin Diesel and Tom Cruise. It wouldn't kill you to go to a movie once a month that has subtitles on the bottom of the screen. You can read them, you went to college, right?

Cell (2006)[edit]

  • Civilization slipped into its second dark age on an unsurprising track of blood, but with a speed that could not have been foreseen by even the most pessimistic futurist. It was as if it had been waiting to go. On October 1, God was in His heaven, the stock market stood at 10,140, and most of the planes were on time (except for those landing and taking off in Chicago, and that was to be expected). Two weeks later the skies belonged to the birds again and the stock market was a memory. By Halloween, every major city from New York to Moscow stank to the empty heavens and the world as it had been was a memory.
    • Preface
  • The event that came to be known as The Pulse began at 3:03 p.m., eastern standard time, on the afternoon of October 1. The term was a misnomer, of course, but within ten hours of the event, most of the scientists capable of pointing this out were either dead or insane. The name hardly mattered, in any case. What mattered was the effect.
    • The Pulse, ch. 1
  • Phoner: "Blet ky-yam doe-ram kazzalah a babbalah!"
    Clay Riddell: "I'll a-babbalah your a-kazzalah, you fuck!"
    • The Pulse, ch. 3
  • He had a wife who was still sort of his responsibility, and when it came to his son there was no sort-of at all. Even thinking of Johnny was dangerous. Every time his mind turned to the boy, Clay felt a panic-rat inside his mind, ready to burst free of the flimsy cage that held it and start gnawing anything it could get at with its sharp little teeth. If he could make sure Johnny and Sharon were okay, he could keep the rat in its cage and plan what to do next. But if he did something stupid, he wouldn't be able to help anyone. In fact, he would make things worse for the people here.
    • The Pulse, ch. 12
  • The phone crazies own the days; when the stars come out, that's us. We're like vampires. We've been banished to the night. Up close we know each other because we can still talk; at a little distance we can be pretty sure of each other by the packs we wear and the guns more and more of us carry; but at a distance, the one sure sign is the waving flashlight beam. Three days ago we not only ruled the earth, we had survivor's guilt about all the other species we'd wiped out in our climb to the nirvana of round-the-clock cable news and microwave popcorn. Now we're the Flashlight People.
    • Gaiten Academy, ch. 3
  • What Darwin was too polite to say, my friends, is that we came to rule the Earth not because we were the smartest, or even the meanest, but because we have always been the craziest, most murderous motherfuckers in the jungle.
    • Gaiten Academy, ch. 16
  • Alice had managed to get herself back under some sort of control, but it was thin. Thin enough to read a newspaper through, his bingo-playing mother might have said. Although a kid herself, Alice had managed to keep herself shiny-side up mostly for the other kid's sake, so he wouldn't give way entirely.
    • Gaiten Academy, ch. 24

Lisey's Story (2006)[edit]

  • To the public eye, the spouses of well-known writers are all but invisible, and no one knew it better than Lisey Landon. Her husband won the Pulitzer and the National Book Award, but Lisey had given one interview in her life. This was for the well-known women's magazine that publishes the column "Yes, I'm Married to Him!" She spent roughly half of its five hundred word length explaining that her nickname rhymed with "CeeCee". Most of the other half had to do with her recipe for slow-cooked roast beef. Lisey's sister Amanda said that the picture accompanying the interview made Lisey look fat.

    None of Lisey's sister were immune to the pleasures of setting the cat among the pigeons ("stirring up a stink" had been their father's phrase for it), or having a good natter about someone else's dirty laundry, but the only one Lisey had a hard time liking was this same Amanda. Eldest (and oddest) of the onetime Debusher girls of Lisbon Falls, Amanda currently lived alone, in a house which Lisey had provided, a small, weather-tight place not too far from Castle View where Lisey, Darla, and Cantata could keep a eye on her. Lisey had bought it for her seven years ago, five before Scott died. Died Young. Died Before His Time, as the saying was. Lisey still had trouble believing he'd been gone for two years. It seemed both longer and the blink of an eye.

    • PART I: BOOL HUNT, ch.1
  • "Lisey?" Amanda asked. Her brow was deeply furrowed.

    "I'm sorry," Lisey said. "I just kind of...went off there for a second".

    "You often do," Amanda said. "I think you got it from Scott. Pay attention, Lisey. I made a little number on each of his magazines and journals and scholarly things. The ones piled over there against the wall." Lisey nodded as if she knew where this was going. "I made the numbers in pencil, just light," Amanda went on. "Always when you're back was turned or you were somewhere else, because I thought if you saw you might have told me to stop."

    "I wouldnt've." She took the little notebook which was limp with its owner sweat. "Eight hundred and forty six! That many!" And she knew the publications running along the wall weren't the sort she herself might read and have in the house, ones like O and Good Housekeeping and Ms., but rather Little Sewanee Review and Glimmer Train and things with incomprehensible names like Piskya.

    "Quite a few more than that," Amanda said, and cocked a thumb at the piles of books and journals. When Lisey really looked at them, she saw that her sister was right. Many more than eight hundred and forty-some. Had to be. "Almost three thousand in all, and where you'll put them or who'd want them I'm sure I can't say. No, these eight hundred and forty-six is just the number that have pictures of you."

    • I. Lisey and Amanda (Everything the Same), ch. 1

Under the Dome (2009)[edit]

  • He told himself that everything was fine — he only had to look at the sleeping dog on the floor if he doubted — but in the middle of the night it was hard to be an optimist. When the dawn was still long hours away, bad thoughts took on flesh and began to walk. In the middle of the night thoughts became zombies.
    • Nyuck-Nyuck-Nyuck, 11, p. 286-287 (First Scribner hardcover edition November 2009)
  • Selectman Rennie's assumption that no one had seen Brenda come to his house that morning was correct. But she was seen in her morning travels, not by one person but by three, including one who also lived on on Mill Street. If Big Jim had known, would the knowledge have given him pause? Doubtful; by then he was committed to his course and it was too late to turn back. But it might have caused him to reflect (for he was a reflective man, in his own way) on murder's similarity to Lay's potato chips: it's hard to stop with just one.
    • In the Jug, 1, p. 499 (First Scribner hardcover edition November 2009)
  • Denial gives way to acceptance; acceptance breeds dependence. Anyone who's ever cared for a terminal patient will tell you that, too. Sick people need someone who will bring them their pills and glasses of cold sweet juice to wash them down with. They need someone to soothe their aching joints with arnica gel. They need someone to sit with them when the night is dark and the hours stretch out. They need someone to say, Sleep now, it will be better in the morning. I'm here, so sleep. Sleep now. Sleep and let me take care of everything.
    • Play That Dead Band Song, 18, p. 739 (First Scribner hardcover edition November 2009)
  • America's two great specialties are demagogues and rock and roll, and we've all heard plenty of both in our time.
    • Busted, 16, p. 803 (First Scribner hardcover edition November 2009)

11/22/63 (2011)[edit]

Love is a uniquely portable magic. I don’t think it’s in the stars, but I do believe that blood calls to blood and mind calls to mind and heart to heart.


Misattributed[edit]

  • He thrusts his fists against the post and still insists he sees the ghosts.
    • William "Stuttering Bill" Denbrough recites this in IT (1985), but it is part of a tongue-twister that dates at least to its publication in "Exercises in Articulation" in The Dayspring (March 1874), p. 39:
Amid the moist and coldest frosts,
With barest wrists and stoutest boasts,
He thrusts his fists against the post,
And still insists he sees the ghosts.

External links[edit]

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