“My own kind. I'm not sure there's a name for us. I suspect we're born this way: our hearts screwed in tight, already a little broken. We hate sentimentality and yet we're deeply sentimental. Low-grade Romantics. Tough but susceptible. Afflicted by parking lots, empty courtyards, nostalgic pop music. When we cried for no reason as babies, just hauled off and wailed, our parents seemed to know, instinctively, that it wasn't diaper rash or colic. It was something deeper that they couldn't find a comfort for, though the good ones tried mightily, shaking rattles like maniacs and singing, "Happy Birthday" a little louder than called for. We weren't morose little kids. We could be really happy.”
—Which Brings Me to You by Steve Almond and Julianna Baggott
“It's like this when you fall hard for a musician. It's a crush with religious overtones. You listen to the songs and you memorize the words and the notes and this is a form of prayer. You attend the shows and this is the liturgy. You're interested in relics - guitar picks, set lists, the sweaty napkin applied to his brow. You set up shrines in your room. It's not just about the music. It's about who you are when you listen to the music and who you wish to be and the way a particular song can bridge that gap, can make you feel the abrupt thrill of absolute faith.”
—Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life by Steve Almond
“But something occurred to me as I sped through that dirty shroud of fog, something Vonnegut has been trying to explain to the rest of us for most of his life. And that is this: Despair is a form of hope. It is an acknowledgement of the distance between ourselves and our appointed happiness.
At certain moments, it is reason enough to live.”
“The truth is, I don't give a shit how many books you sell. I don't care how much dough you give away, or how many famous people you make cry. At the end of the day, you're a TV star. You show up on a tiny screen and give lonely people a place to park their emotions for an hour. You're the world's leading retailer of inspiration. You're the Wal-Mart of Hope.
Literature, though, isn't supposed to be a convenient shopping experience. It's a solitary imaginative endeavor aimed at arousing the anguish hidden inside us, the bad news of our hearts. There's no celebrity shrink on hand to dispense hankies, no empathic host to buzz manage our tears. There's no assurance that our frail human experiment will end in triumph by the final commercial break. You tell me, Oprah: Should the Savior of Publishing be available with your basic cable package? ”