Famous Quotes & Sayings

Nick Flynn Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 86 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Nick Flynn.

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Famous Quotes By Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 2208740

The only strategy I know of is to write every day, which I don't always do, because sometimes I just can't, for various reasons that seem out of my control. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 996660

For years before I became a father, I would try to spend as much time as I could with my friends who were parents and their kids. And I was really impressed. They all sort of managed to do it, and do it gracefully. — Nick Flynn

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For the first few months, I was a comically inept parent. The first night home from the hospital, I held her bare body against my bare chest until a friend who was a doctor came by and asked what I was doing, and told me to put some clothes on that baby. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 353630

I'm riding beside my best friend, and I tell him, in the same offhand tone my mother had used, That's my grandfather's funeral, and he looks at me as if I'm insane. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1917629

That Dick Cheney is pro-torture surprises no one; he freely admits it. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1567074

Read as much as you can. Write only when you feel the inner need to do so. And don't ever rush into print. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 330648

Our job as writers, as far as I can tell, is to attempt to express what seems inexpressible. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1294744

Here's a secret: Everyone, if they live long enough, will lose their way at some point. You will lose your way, you will wake up one morning and find yourself lost. This is a hard, simple truth. If it hasn't happened to you yet, consider yourself lucky. When it does, when one day you look around and nothing is recognizable, when you find yourself alone in a dark wood having lost the way, you may find it easier to blame it on someone else
an errant lover, a missing father, a bad childhood
or it may be easier to blame the map you were given
folded too many times, out-of-date, tiny print
but mostly, if you are honest, you will only be able to blame yourself.
One day I'll tell my daughter a story about a dark time, the dark days before she was born, and how her coming was a ray of light. We got lost for a while, the story will begin, but then we found our way. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 2175595

When I was really drunk, I started that stupid business with the bullet in my guts again. I was the only guy at the bar with a bullet in their guts. I kept putting my hand under my jacket, on my stomach and all, to keep the blood from dripping all over the place. I didn't want anybody to know I was even wounded. I was concealing the fact that I was a wounded sonuvabitch ... . — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 652380

By the time I make my way to the border of Mauritania, to the edge of the Sahara, I see no end to being lost. You can spend your entire life simply falling in that direction. It isn't a station you reach but just the general state of going down. Once you make it back, if you make it back, you will stand before your long-lost friends but in some essential way they will no longer know you. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1745352

Writers, especially poets, are particularly prone to madness. There exists a striking association between creativity and manic depression. Why are more creative people prone to madness? They have more than average amounts of energies and abilities to see things in a fresh and original way - then because they also have depression, I think they're more in touch with human suffering. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 682087

What I was trying to say, maybe, is that I don't know what it is I'm capable of transforming into. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 555636

I'm not sure why working at a homeless shelter made sense to me, except that I needed to immerse myself in some sort of larger real-life situation to get me out of the cage of my mind, in some ways. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1060818

You do know, right,
that between the no-

longer & the still-

you are being continually
tattooed, inked

with the skulls of

you've ever loved - the you
& the you

& the you & the you - you don't
sit in a chair, thumb

through a binder, pick a
design, it simply

happens each time you
bring your fingers to your face

to inhale him back into you . . .
tiny skulls, some of us are

covered. You, love, could

simply tattoo an open
door, light

pouring in from somewhere
outside, you

could make your body a door
so it appears you

(let her fill you) are made
of light. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 861864

But what of Ham? It didn't matter if he told anyone about his drunken father or not, if he chided him or tried to dress him, if he lifted his struggling body back into bed, if he took his hand and told him where to place his feet, none of this changed the fact of what he'd seen. It's possible he opened a door innocently, followed the sound of Noah's voice cursing God and the sky, possible he didn't even look, that he turned away before seeing. And it's likely that Noah hadn't noticed the door opening, couldn't have told you who had come in, which son, wouldn't remember anyway. Apparently it's God's call. Ham saw his father drunken and naked, and for this he was cursed, and all of his offspring, and the races that led from these offspring, accursed forever. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 822273

And though he knew it was only the whiskey talking, he also knew that the whiskey talked daily. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 205761

My father's on my radar, but most of the time I shut it off. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 155885

IN Incognito the neuroscientist David Eagleman proposes that we are unknown to ourselves: Most of what we do and think and feel is not under our conscious control. — Nick Flynn

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Alcohol is the river we sit on the banks of, contemplating. Sometimes we watch ourselves float past, sometimes we watch ourselves sink. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1566428

On a good day I write, all day. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1712704

My father had always identified himself as a writer to my mother when they met. When they met, he was writing this great novel, there was no doubt about it. Part of why she left him was this delusion of greatness and identifying it very directly with being an artist. — Nick Flynn

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Not a formidable presence, except in that madman way that drunks wield, that does-it-look-like-I-give-a-fuck-about-anything? — Nick Flynn

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Perhaps it is our fear, that in the silence between stories, in the moment of falling, the fear that we will never find the one story which will save us, and so we lunge for another, and we feel safe again, if only for as long as we are telling it. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 938431

The boat has become supreme isolation, chosen isolation, holding myself apart from the world, which I only dimly understand anyway. I can sit on the aft deck and never be surprised by anything again- no phone will ever ring, no one will knock that I haven't seen coming for a quarter mile. that I can go to sleep any night and wake up having broken loose- a failed knot, a line frayed, the anchor dragged- that I can drift out of sight of land makes a twisted sense, in line with my internal weather. When everything has proven tenuous one can either move toward permanence or toward impermanence. The boat's sublimely impermanent. Some mornings the fog's so thick that I exist only in a tight globe of clearing, beyond which is all foghorn and unknown. — Nick Flynn

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I know cigarettes can kill & wonder why she wants to die. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 2040430

He claims not to be drinking, but I don't think he knows what this means. — Nick Flynn

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Disclaimer:This is a work of nonfiction, but it is also full of dreams, speculations, and shadows. Many names have been changed. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1729117

It takes an entire book to tell you what it was like. To see Robert De Niro play your father - it's not a simple answer. To see Julianne Moore play your mother. To see Paul Dano play you - that's an even more inscrutable question ... he's amazing, he's totally amazing, but I can't really say if he's a good me or not. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1895327

I became an electrician after high school. But I always had this thing in me to write. But it was always a little shameful. To say you were a poet was saying you were kind of crazy, and I carried that around for a long time. I still kind of carry that. And I think it might be true, actually. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1711644

OUT of that moment Jesus was nailed to his cross flowed our attempts to represent it, to create a narrative that could contain it. Yet the body, hanging there, is still, simply, terrible. Caravaggio's genius was to paint Jesus with dirty feet, to bring him back down to earth. — Nick Flynn

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Trinity Park lies directly across from the library, Trinity Church rising like a midieval thought amidst the glass and steel towers. — Nick Flynn

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You come to realize people are not simple. — Nick Flynn

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Perhaps everyone has a story that could break your heart ... — Nick Flynn

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I can weep pretty easily. I can get tears in my eyes from a beautiful work of art. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 2009376

By the time I'm nine I know the world is a dangerous place. I've heard whispers about razorblades in apples, about Charlie Manson and his family. But no one is offering any clear information. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 123531

When I was a child, writing was the worst possible choice of a career in my family. My father had always identified himself as a writer to my mother when they met. When they met, he was writing this great novel, there was no doubt about it. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 2209445

What I do is write, and I try to write as closely as I can into what I call 'the mystery.' — Nick Flynn

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There's this sort of male energy that we have that can seem very destructive. But it doesn't have to be. It actually can be a very positive force. — Nick Flynn

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His impunity thrills me, I mistake it for fearlessness, though years later he will admit to being afraid all the time. — Nick Flynn

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Even a life raft is only supposed to get you from the sinking ship back to land, you were never intended to live in the life raft, to drift years on end, in sight of land but never close enough. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 2106422

My friend asked me if it had been cathartic, to write my memoir. I looked down at the sculptures - it was cathartic for me to look at them, but I could imagine it might have been hell to make them (I was cheered / when I came first to know / that there were flowers also / in hell). No, I answered - how was it for you to read it? Aristotle, in his Poetics, never promised catharsis for the makers of art, only for the audience. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 2104842

I was unable to throw myself in the ocean, she writes, the handwriting more erratic as the painkillers seep into every cell, shutting out lights in empty rooms. — Nick Flynn

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Certain stories we carry with us, events in our life, they define who we are. It's not a matter of getting over anything; we have to make the best of it. — Nick Flynn

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To be honest, in my five years as an electrician, I never got the license. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1999524

In life you get one take, and it's perfect. — Nick Flynn

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I've come to believe that the function of torture in our society is not about getting information, in spite of what we might want to believe. It is merely about power. It tells the world that there is now no limit to what we will do when we feel threatened. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1951237

The South African artist William Kentridge speaks to this type of certainty: 'To say that one needs art, or politics, that incorporate ambiguity and contradiction is not to say that one then stops recognizing and condemning things as evil. However, it might stop one being so utterly convinced of the certainty of one's own solutions. There needs to be a strong understanding of fallibility and how the very act of certainty or authoritativeness can bring disasters.'
The outcome of the current crisis is already determined. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1933560

I believe poetry has very little to do with memory. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 2240558

The first book I could call mine, my first book, was a picture book, 'The Magic Monkey' - it was adapted from an old Chinese legend by a thirteen-year-old prodigy named Plato Chan with the help of his sister. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1870470

We fill the nothing with suns,
line them up,
swallow sap, swallow
field, drop by drop, each stem
a pump. Rose to rose to rose to
rose to rose to rose to rose, calyx &
anther, all summer
gone. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1861948

Who doesn't want to just disappear, at some point in the day, in a year, to just step off the map and float? — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1755194

Everything he did, as long as you stayed in the village, whether shouting obscenities at passing children or sleeping in the cemetery, all would be remembered when they looked at you, they would say to themselves or to whomever they were with, It's his father, you know, the crazy one, the drunk, and they couldn't help but wonder what part of his madness had passed on to you, which part you had escaped. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 376489

The attention one gets from being a poet isn't great. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 601832

Change is one of the only constants in Buddhism; as meditation became the way I breathed in the days, this became apparent. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 541846

It's the way I walk through the world, carrying that fear, that the beloved will go, will die, and that I will be the one to blame. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 521320

Many fathers are gone. Some leave, some are left. Some return, unknown and hungry. Only the dog remembers. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 481265

Sometimes I'd see my father, walking past my building on his way to another nowhere. I could have given him a key, offered a piece of my floor. A futon. A bed. But I never did. If I let him inside I would become him, the line between us would blur, my own slow-motion car wreck would speed up. The slogan on the side of a moving company truck read TOGETHER WE ARE GOING PLACES
modified by a vandal or a disgruntled employee to read TOGETHER WE ARE GOING DOWN. If I went to the drowning man the drowning man would pull me under. I couldn't be his life raft. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 463648

I get inspired by my friends, and if a friend is a writer, that is even deeper. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 460094

Memoir is actually the most egoless genre, even though it might seem ostensibly so much ego-driven. In order for it to succeed, you have to dissolve the self into these larger universal truths, and explore these deeper mysteries. If it's purely autobiographical and ego-driven, it's going to fail. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 409171

In my experience, whatever happens clings to us like barnacles on the hull of a ship, slowing us slightly, both uglifying and giving us texture. You can scrape all you want, you can, if you have money, hire someone else to scrape, but the barnacles will come back or at least leave a blemish on the steel. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 397064

I have plenty of places to go, but no place to be. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 616423

(2002) In Rome, month upon month, I struggled with how to structure the book about my father (He already had the water, he just had to discover jars). At one point I laid each chapter out on the terrazzo floor, eighty-three in all, arranged them like the map of an imaginary city. Some of the piles of paper, I imagined, were freestanding buildings, some were clustered into neighborhoods, and some were open space. On the outskirts, of course, were the tenements
abandoned, ramshackled. The spaces between the piles were the roads, the alleyways, the footpaths, the rivers. The bridges to other neighborhoods, the bridges out ... In this way I could get a sense if one could find their way through the book, if the map I was creating made sense, if it was a place one would want to spend some time in. If one could wander there, if one could get lost. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 356472

There are many ways to drown, only the most obvious wave their arms as they're going under. — Nick Flynn

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Everything we do, I'd imagine, influences everything we will do. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 256104

Note: The phrase Son of God had many meanings in Jesus' time, one of which was "a son born without a father," which, by all accounts, Jesus was. Just as the phrase virgin birth could mean simply an unmarried woman giving birth, which, by all accounts, describes Jesus' mother (see Geza Vermes, The Authentic Gospel of Jesus). — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 252873

Some part of me knew he would show up, that if I stood in one place long enough he would find me, like you're taught to do when you're lost. But they never taught us what to do if both of you are lost, and you both end up in the same place, waiting. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 180912

I know cigarettes can kill & wonder why she wants to die. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 169911

That's the thing about a book: You're in the public life for a little bit, and then you sort of go away for a little while - several years, in my case - and then you come out again, hopefully. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 155142

If it had been a heart attack, the newspaper
might have used the word massive,
as if a mountain range had opened
inside her, but instead
it used the word suddenly, a light coming on
in an empty room. The telephone
fell from my shoulder, a black parrot repeating
something happened, something awful
a sunday, dusky. If it had been
terminal, we could have cradled her
as she grew smaller, wiped her mouth,
said good-bye. But it was sudden,
how overnight we could be orphaned
& the world became a bell we'd crawl inside
& the ringing all we'd eat. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 817932

I'm fast becoming the one who leaves things behind, — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1387234

You know the way Jesus
rips open his shirt
to show us his heart, all flaming and thorny,
the way he points to it. I'm afraid
the way I'll miss you will be this obvious. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1353828

inside us, a flower taken whole,

a field built inside. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1306500

I offer Emily half of my hit of acid- Love Saves the Day. It's my second or third time tripping, Emily's first, and she's understandably trepid. Awake all night, at one point I find her touching her reflection in a cruelly lit dorm bathroom, asking if she'll ever be the same. I kiss her then for the first time and whisper, No. — Nick Flynn

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That soldiers do terrible things during wartime should not surprise us. — Nick Flynn

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It is the emptiness of the bowl that creates the bowl — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 1043490

I'd always imagined that one day I would be a father, but mostly it was off my radar. I admired friends who had somehow figured out how to cross that threshold. — Nick Flynn

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If you're going to write about someone's life, you don't just use them for wallpaper. You have to honor and respect that life. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 919856

Some mornings you wake up fully in your body, and you know this is all there is
the air, the shape your body makes in the air, your hand, the skin that covers your hand, the air that covers your skin, the light that fills the air, a few colors in the light, this one thought, this dream dissolving
it is a dream that, in your half-awake state, embarrasses you. You don't tell it to the woman waking up beside you, the woman you love, because it is about another woman, whom you might also love. This is the dream you need to hold onto, this is your shadow speaking, attempting to bewilder you again. Sometimes, if you lay still, you can feel the air entering each cell, sometimes you can feel the blood in your lips. Sometimes, if you lay very still, you can feel the whole web tremble. — Nick Flynn

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My statement to Harris that his book contains much to admire is specious hyperbole. In The End of Faith, Harris rails against religious fundamentalism, which seems obvious, as well as against religious moderates, which seems intolerant. — Nick Flynn

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There is a physics to the world, which non-fiction has a contract to stand in awe of, otherwise it becomes completely self-centered and ego-driven, which is the death of a memoir. — Nick Flynn

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We got him to talk to a psych doctor once, the doctor asked if he heard things other people don't. Sure, Paul answered, I hear birds in the morning when everyone's sleeping, I hear trees rustling when no one's around. — Nick Flynn

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I had to steel myself against this psychic devastation - to see your father on the street. It's hard enough to pick up somebody you don't know from the streets, and then to actually have other people pick your father up - it was psychically devastating. — Nick Flynn

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Aside from these infrequent outbursts he possesses the gentle demeanor that sometimes trails the newly sober, that deep acceptance that comes with realizing how badly you'd fucked up your life. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 673136

If not for the rats you could crawl beneath a bush. A bush. A bench. The alliterative universe. Rats too can pass through that needle's eye to enter heaven ... This box held a refrigerator, the refrigerator is an apartment, a man is in the box ... Wake up on the grass, soaking wet. Dew is the piss of God. 'Another bullshit night in suck city, my father mutters. — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 655640

Water can be a symbol of purification, to stand naked before someone a sign of truth, of nothing to hide. - Nick Flynn — Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Quotes 648536

What you fear your whole life comes to pass. You end up living toward it, you spend your life running from it but your foot is nailed to the sidewalk. You circle around it until you wear yourself own. — Nick Flynn