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"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool."

- Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs in "Almost Famous"

"Just remember, if you want something in life, reach out and grab it."

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Christopher Johnson McCandless
"To call each thing by its right name."

John started playing this guitar riff, and I immediately knew what the song was about. It was a playful, happy-to-be-alive, phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes vibe. I ran outside with my handheld tape recorder and, with that music playing in the background, started singing the entire chorus to the song. I'll never forget looking up at the sky above that garage, out toward Griffith Park with the birds flying overhead, and getting a dose of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I really did have the point of view of those birds, feeling like an eternal outsider.

- Anthony Kiedis, "Scar Tissue"

"Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you'll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.” 

White Oleander, Janet Fitch

"He often said he had to be a writer because he wasn't good at anything else. He was not good at being an employee. Back in the mid-1950s, he was employed by Sports Illustrated, briefly. He reported to work, was asked to write a short piece on a racehorse that had jumped over a fence and tried to run away. Kurt stared at the blank piece of paper all morning and then typed, 'The horse jumped over the fucking fence,' and walked out, self-employed again."

Mark Vonnegut on his father, Kurt Vonnegut
Armageddon In Retrospect, 2008

Gets me every time. Every single time. 

Whoever you are, wherever you are…I’m starting to think we’re a lot alike. Human beings spinning on blackness. All wanting to be seen, touched, heard, paid attention to. My loved ones are everything to me here. In the last year or 3 I’ve screamed at my creator, screamed at clouds in the sky, for some explanation. Mercy maybe. For peace of mind to rain like Manna somehow.

4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence….until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him.

By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping. No negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love, it changed my life. Back then, my mind would wander to the women I had been with. The ones I cared for and thought I was in love with. I reminisced about the sentimental songs I enjoyed when I was a teenager.. the ones I played when I experienced a girlfriend for the first time. I realized they were written in a language I did not speak. I realized too much, too quickly.

Imagine being thrown from a plane. I wasn’t in a plane though. I was in a Nissan Maxima, the same car I packed up with bags and drove to Los Angeles in. I sat there and told my friend how I felt. I wept as the words left my mouth. I grieved for them, knowing I could never take them back for myself. He patted my back. He said kind things. He did his best, but he wouldn’t admit the same. He had to go back inside soon. It was late and his girlfriend was waiting for him upstairs. He wouldn’t tell me for years.

Now imagine being thrown from a cliff. No, I wasn’t on a cliff, I was still in my car telling myself It was gonna be fine and to take deep breaths. I took the breaths and carried on. I kept up a peculiar friendship with him because I couldn’t imagine keeping up my life without him. I struggled to master myself and my emotions. I wasn’t always successful.

That dance went on…I kept the rhythm for several summers after. It’s winter now. I’m typing this on a plane back to Los Angeles from New Orleans. I flew home for another marred Christmas. I have a window seat. It’s December 27 2011. By now I’ve written two albums, this being the second. I wrote to keep myself busy and sane. I wanted to create worlds that were rosier than mine. I tried to channel overwhelming emotions. I’m surprised at how far all of it has taken me.

Before writing this I’d told some people my story. I’m sure these people kept me alive, kept me safe..sincerely. These are the folks I wanna thank from the floor of my heart. Everyone of you knows who you are..great humans. Probably Angels. I don’t know what happens now, and that’s alrite. I don’t have any secrets I need kept anymore. There’s probably some small shit still, but you know what I mean. I was never alone, as much as I felt like it..As much as I still do sometimes, I never was. I don’t think I ever could be.

Thanks, to my first love, I’m grateful for you. Grateful that even though It wasn’t what I hoped for and even though it was never enough, it was. Some things never are..and we were. I won’t forget you. I won’t forget the Summer. I’ll remember who I was then I met you. I’ll remember who you were and how we’ve both changed and stayed the same. I’ve never had more respect for life and living than I have right now. Maybe it takes a near death experience to feel alive.

Thanks, to my Mother. You raised me strong. I know I’m only brave because you were first..so thank you. All of you. For everything good. I feel like a free man. If I listen closely..I can hear the sky falling too.

-Frank

Read More

"Lyrically, 'Alaska' is concerned with navigating change. For many people, self-transformation is a terrifying exercise, so we look everywhere for capable guides. Rogers is a good one. 'And I walked off you,' she sings...'And I walked off an old me.' This might seem a straightforward victory—the narrator has unburdened herself—but Rogers’s plainspoken acknowledgment of the self-destruction that accompanies true metamorphosis is eloquent."

"The process, she suggests, is twofold: first you relinquish the thing you loved, then you relinquish the part of yourself that loved it."

You write because you have an idea in your mind that feels so genuine, so important, so true. And yet, by the time this idea passes through the different filters of your mind, and into your hand, and onto the page or computer screen—it becomes distorted, and it's been diminished. The writing you end up with is an approximation, if you're lucky, of whatever it was you really wanted to say.

Khaled Hosseini