Literary Therapy: 11 Quotes For Your Loneliness


“Loneliness is solitude with a problem.”

-Maggie Nelson, Bluets

“I love her / him / them.
I’d never go back.”

-Susan Wheeler, Meme

“Then suddenly one night after supper as I was pacing in the cold windy darkness of the yard I felt tremendously depressed and threw myself right on the ground and cried “I’m gonna die!” because there was nothing else to do in the cold loneliness of this harsh inhospitable earth, and instantly the tender bliss of enlightenment was like milk in my eyelids and I was warm.”

-Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

“A businessman blowing an octopus
for the pure taste of the sea.”

-Will Butler, “Oyster Bar”

“There are things I’d like to tell the version of myself who sat in the Planned Parenthood counseling room. I would tell her she is going through something large and she shouldn’t be afraid to confess its size, shouldn’t be afraid she’s “making too big a deal of it.” She shouldn’t be afraid of not feeling enough because the feelings will keep coming – different ones – for years. I would tell her that commonality doesn’t inoculate against hurt. The fact of all those women in the waiting room, doing the same thing I was doing, didn’t make it any easier.”

-Leslie Jamison, The Empathy Exams

“The man keeps staring at me and all I can think is either he doesn’t see me or I’m not here. I don’t know why I think that. People are afraid to merge. Wonder if he’s for sale.”

-Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero

“She smoked because she craved something to do with her hands, that delicate interplay of light and cup and first inhale. Craved the repetition of it. It was so difficult sometimes to be still in a room, alone with oneself. To bare oneself to the lonely.”

-Kate Zambreno, Green Girl

“My then-boyfriend used to say there was something gross about strip clubs. “Strippers just pretend to like you,” he said while smoking outside a strip club where we were buying a cheap dinner. “Who wants to pay someone to pretend to like you?””

-Lindsey Kugler, Here.

“One night he goes to bed the only way he can sleep, drunk or drugged. In climbing into the bed, or in turning over, or in tossing about, he knocks over his candle. And then there’s the thing their father has feared most all these years.
Branwell laughs in his sleep, finally warm.”

-Douglas Martin, Branwell

“I live alone but I have a ton of roommates. Luckily, they’re not human beings. I couldn’t stand the idea of having someone else’s belongings around. I don’t have the mental space. Worse yet, suppose they suddenly hung on the wall something I didn’t like? I can’t listen to someone else’s music or borrow their books either. No sirree, no real-life people sharing my bathroom or reading my newspapers before me! Instead, I live with artists.”

-John Waters, Role Models

“When she got home she got off and any disquieting feelings were immediately dissolved by the heroin and she didnt even bother bathing, that could wait until morning. She just stretched out on her couch, in front of her television, ignoring the smell from her body and lips, thinking over and over that Big Tim was right, this is good stuff. That taste will last a long time. She smiled to herself. And theres more where that came from, and no one to share it with. I can always have as much as I want. She hugged herself and smiled, I can always feel like this.”

-Hubert Selby Jr., Requiem for a Dream

featured image – Brianna Wiest