Hubert Selby, Jr.

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Hubert "Cubby" Selby, Jr. (23 July 192826 April 2004) was a 20th century American writer.


Last Exit to Brooklyn (1964)[edit]

  • Sometimes we have the absolute certainty there's something inside us that's so hideous and monstrous that if we ever search it out we won't be able to stand looking at it. But it's when we're willing to come face to face with that demon that we face the angel.
  • A cigarette only takes a certain amount of time to smoke and though this takes time it seems to take less and less with each one and you can only smoke so many, there comes a time when you have to stop, when you just cant light the next one . . . at least not for a while.

The Room (1971)[edit]

  • Its quite an experience to be locked up all by yourself in any size room, no less a little cell.
  • He flowed deeper and deeper into himself, wrapped in the comforting strength of hate.
  • A little sleep and then a little wakefulness. Then a slipping to some soothing place in between.
  • They had all they needed. They had the madness of pain.
  • I guess I had fun. But not enough to stay.
  • There was a sense of security in old, familiar feelings in spite of their discomfort.
  • Time has to pass. But sometimes its so goddamn long. Sometimes it just seems to drag and drag and weigh a ton. And hang on you like a monkey. Like its going to suck the blood out of you. Or squeeze your guts out. And sometimes it flies. And is gone somewhere, somehow, before you know it was even here. As if time is only here to make you miserable. That's the only reason for time. To squeeze you. Crush you. To tie you up in knots and make you fucking miserable.
  • A dark yet shallow sleep. A submission to exhaustion. A loss of consciousness and an avoidance of light, Yet not deep enough to avoid the turbulence on the surface while deep enough to feel the pressure from the bottom. Whatever or whoever he was sought to find the finite area where all pressures are equal and constant. To find that small pocket of weightlessness where no pressure is felt, where there is no tugging in opposite directions, no straining for a painless balance, where all of him was suspended and cushioned between the 2 crushing and yanking pressures where no pressures existed. Where no light existed. Where no time existed. Where no need or desire existed. Where there existed no blackness. There, where there existed nothing, not even a void.
  • Yet the harder he fought to find this the more distant it became. The more he struggled against the pressures the more imprisoned he became. The more enmeshed he became in their conflicting directions. the further he was tugged in opposite directions that kept him immobile. And the harder he fought for movement, any movement, the more stationary became his position, the more painful his existence.
  • He fought despairingly to go deeper into the blackness of a sleep, any sleep, even the sleep of death or some form of non-existence, but even with the loss of consciousness he dreamt he was awake, lying on the bed trying desperately to sleep. If he could find some way to prove that time had passed, no matter how short that time, he could tell himself that he had slept and perhaps then, just perhaps, he would feel rested.
  • Time seemed stationary, yet the painful pressure of time was constantly felt. If only the pressure would crush the life out of him and allow him simply to sink into the inviting movement of clock hands or feel the passing of time he could then feel he was getting closer to something or at least further away from something, it didnt really matter which. Nothing really mattered. If only there were some kind of movement. But everything remained motionless, the body not even moving on the bed, while feeling the tearing pressures from all sides in all directions. Feeling deep within him in that pit where there lived the violent and contorting pain of maggots crawling through your guts between the rusty cans and broken bottles and the screaming urgency to get time to move, to just move before every FUCKING GODDAMN PART OF YOUR BODY SCREWS UP INTO A FUCKING BALL AND YOUR WHOLE FUCKING BODY DISINTEGRATES, JUST SHATTERS and there was no escape, even with the lack consciousness, for with it came dreams of wakefulness. There was no escape from the past. The struggle against it only entangled him deeper in the fear of the future. There was no place for him to go. No place he could hide. No place where his enemy didnt exist. No escape from unconscious wakefulness. There was no rest.
  • Theres always somebody bugging you. They just wont leave you alone. No matter how simple things are there always some sonofabitch complicating things and fucking with your life. Jesus, this fucking world stinks. People are nothing but a bunch of shits. A rotten bunch of shits. They always want to screw you.
  • He replaced the gray of the walls with a darker shade by closing his eyes. It felt good to shut out some of the light. Not all, but just some. Just enough so there was a gray without images or threatening corners. Not the blackness that gives birth to those sudden flashes of stinging light that slashes your eyes, or the velvety darkness that thickens and become animated and flows and somehow moves around and over you. Just a soothing gray. Nothing to see.
  • They dont know the terrors that go through your mind as you lie there in the pit waiting for a hint of light to tell you that the night is over.

The Demon (1976)[edit]

  • And their love life got better with time. Familiarity bred excitement. They loved discovering those little things, the touch, that made the other respond with a quiver or a sigh, and, in turn, having the discovery made.
  • And the goddamn subway reeked like a sewer. All those goddamn animals jammed into the train like the ark . . . yeah, thats what they are, a bunch of stinking animals.

Requiem for a Dream (1978)[edit]

  • There is nothing worse than a cultural barbarian with pretensions.
  • Obviously, I believe that to pursue the American Dream is not only futile but self-destructive because ultimately it destroys everything and everyone involved with it. By definition it must, because it nurtures everything except those things that are important: integrity, ethics, truth, our very heart and soul. Why? The reason is simple: because Life/life is giving, not getting.

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