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140 F. Scott Fitzgerald Quotes on Life, Love, and Writing

1. “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings—that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”

2. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

3. “Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.”

4. “I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self-respect. And it’s these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all she should be.”

5. “I hope she’ll be a fool. That’s the best thing a girl can be in this world—a beautiful little fool.”

6. “I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.”

7. “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”

8. “And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties, there isn’t any privacy.”

9. “Angry, and half in love with her, and tremendously sorry, I turned away.”

10. “I wasn’t actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity.”

11. “There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.”

12. “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”

13. “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

14. “Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.”

15. “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

16. “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

17. “It was only a sunny smile and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light, it scattered the night and made the day worth living.”

18. “I’m not sentimental—I’m as romantic as you are. The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last. The romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won’t.”

19. “You see, I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad things that happened to me.”

20. “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”

21. “Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”

22. “I don’t want just words. If that’s all you have for me, you’d better go.”

23. “Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.”

24. “I’ve been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library.”

25. “Great books write themselves, only bad books have to be written.”

26. “That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it.”

27. “I’m just a whole lot of different simple people.”

28. “Grown up—and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another.”

29. “I’m not sure what I’ll do, but— well, I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale.”

30. “Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope.”

31. “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”

32. “It was always the becoming he dreamed of—never the being.”

33. “I hope something happens. I’m restless as the and have a horror of getting fat or falling in love and growing domestic.”

34. “You’re not sorry to go, of course. With people like us, our home is where we are not.”

35. “You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”

36. “Strange children should smile at each other and say, ‘Let’s play.’”

37. “Sometimes, it is harder to deprive oneself of than of pleasure.”

38. “Life is so damned hard, so damned hard. It just people and hurts people, until finally it hurts them so that they can’t be hurt ever any more. That’s the last and worst thing it does.”

39. “One writes of scars healed, a loose parallel to the pathology of the skin, but there is no such thing in the life of an individual. There are open wounds, shrunk sometimes to the size of a pin-prick, but wounds still.”

40. “They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.”

41. “I don’t ask you to always love me like this, but I ask you to remember.”

42. “I’ll be different. But somewhere lost inside me, there’ll always be the person I am tonight.”

43. “No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”

44. “He looked at her the way all women want to be looked at by a man.”

45. “Actually, that’s my secret—I can’t even talk about you to anybody because I don’t want any more people to know how wonderful you are.”

46. “If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him.”

47. “There is a moment—oh, just before the first kiss, a whispered word—something that makes it worthwhile.”

48. “A woman should be able to kiss a man beautifully and romantically without any desire to be either or his mistress.”

49. “New friends can often have a better time together than old friends.”

50. “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!”

51. “So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.”

52. “I’m a cynical idealist.”

53. “This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the impossible, come true.”

54. “Youth is a dream—a form of chemical madness.”

55. “Later, she remembered all the hours of the afternoon as happy—one of those uneventful times that seem at the moment only a link between past and future pleasure, but turn out to have been the pleasure itself.”

56. “For what it’s worth, it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want.”

57. “Life is much more successfully looked at from a single window.”

58. “So he tasted the deep pain that is reserved only for the strong, just as he had tasted for a little while the deep happiness.”

59. “If you spend your life sparing people’s feelings and feeding their vanity, you can’t distinguish what should be respected in them.”

60. “There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice.”

61. “I want to know you moved and breathed in the same world as me.”

62. “And for a moment, I thought I loved her. But I am slow-thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires.”

63. “You’re the only girl I’ve seen for a long time that actually did look like something blooming.”

64. “She was dazzling—alight; it was agony to comprehend her beauty in a glance.”

65. “I won’t kiss you. It might become a habit and I can’t get rid of habits.”

66. “You are the finest, loveliest, tenderest, and most beautiful person I have ever known—and even that is an understatement.”

67. “It seemed that the only lover she had ever wanted was a lover in a dream.”

68. “Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch, she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”

69. “It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down, as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again.”

70. “Here’s to alcohol—the rose colored glasses of life.”

71. “It’s a great advantage not to drink among hard drinking people.”

72. “First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”

73. “I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others—young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.”

74. “It takes two to make an accident.”

75. “Do you ever wait for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always wait for the longest day of the year and then miss it!”

76. “There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind.”

77. “Don’t let yourself feel worthless. Often through life, you will really be at your worst when you seem to think best of yourself.”

78. “I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor.”

79. “People over forty can seldom be permanently convinced of anything. At eighteen, our convictions are hills from which we look; at forty-five, they are caves in which we hide.”

80. “I like people and I like them to like me, but I wear my heart where God put it—on the inside.”

81. “All I kept thinking about, over and over, was, ‘You can’t live forever; you can’t live forever.’”

82. “Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine—I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.”

83. “I’m a slave to my emotions, to my likes, to my hatred of boredom, to most of my desires.”

84. “Gatsby believed in the green light—the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter. Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.”

85. “The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun.”

86. “No one person in the world is necessary to you or to me.”

87. “I shall go on shining as a brilliantly meaningless figure in a meaningless world.”

88. “The marks of suffering are more comparable to the loss of a finger, or of the sight of an eye. We may not miss them, either for one minute a year, but if we should, there is nothing to be done about it.”

89. “She was feeling the pressure of the world outside and she wanted to see him and feel his presence beside her and be reassured that she was doing the right thing after all.”

90. “We all have souls of different ages.”

91. “It is not life that’s complicated, it’s the struggle to guide and control life.”

92. “An artist is someone who can hold two opposing viewpoints and still remain fully functional.”

93. “It occurred to me that there was no difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well.”

94. “The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time—in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.”

95. “His dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him.”

96. “You know, I’m old in some ways. In others, well, I’m just a little girl. I like sunshine and pretty things and cheerfulness, and I dread responsibility.”

97. “All the bright, precious things fade so fast, and they don’t come back.”

98. “If I knew words enough, I could write the longest love letter in the world and never get tired.”

99. “Life is just a progression toward and then a recession from one phrase—’I love you.’”

100. “What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon? And the day after that, and the next thirty years?”

101. “Gatsby turned out alright at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.”

102. “Unloved women have no biographies—they have histories.”

103. “You’re a slave—a bound, helpless slave to one thing in this world: your imagination.”

104. “So we’ll just let things take their course, and never be sorry.”

105. “They had arrived with clean hands, or so it seemed, after no traffic with the merely curious and clandestine.”

106. “He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something—some idea of himself, perhaps—that had gone into loving Daisy.”

107. “Once in a while, I go off on a spree and make a fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart, I love her all the time.”

108. “His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was.”

109. “Well, you never knew exactly how much space you occupied in people’s lives.”

110. “She was incomprehensible, for in her, soul and spirit were one—the beauty of her body was the essence of her soul.”

111. “Good manners are an admission that everybody is so tender that they have to be handled with gloves.”

112. “She wanted to exist only as a conscious flower—prolonging and preserving herself.”

113. “The rich get richer and the poor get children.”

114. “I may turn out an intellectual, but I’ll never write anything but mediocre poetry.”

115. “He was so terrible that he was no longer terrible, only dehumanized.”

116. “Love is fragile, but perhaps the pieces are saved, the things that hovered on lips, that might have been said. The new love-words, the tenderness learned, and treasured up for the next lover.”

117. “Everywhere we go, and move on, and change, something’s lost—something’s left behind. You can’t ever quite repeat anything, and I’ve been so yours.”

118. “I can’t tell you just how wonderful she is. I don’t want you to know. I don’t want anyone to know.”

119. “A stirring warmth flowed from her, as if her heart was trying to come out to you concealed in one of those breathless, thrilling words.”

120. “Beauty means the scent of roses and then the death of roses.”

121. “Was it the infinite sadness of her eyes that drew him or the mirror of himself that he found in the gorgeous clarity of her mind?”

122. “Human sympathy has its limits.”

123. “Summer is only the unfulfilled promise of spring, a charlatan in place of the warm balmy nights I dream of in April. It’s a sad season of life . It has no day.”

124. “It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment.”

125. “Draw your chair up close to the edge of the precipice and I’ll tell you a story.”

126. “Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply.”

127. “What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story.”

128. “All I think of ever is that I love you.”

129. “So I and left him standing there in the moonlight—watching over nothing.”

130. “Experience is the name so many people give to their mistakes.”

131. “Mother says that two souls are sometimes created together and in love before they’re born.”

132. “You will walk differently alone, dear, through a thicker atmosphere, forcing your way through the shadows of chairs, through the dripping smoke of the funnels. You will feel your own reflection sliding along the eyes of those who look at you. You are no longer insulated; but I suppose you must touch life in order to spring from it.”

133. “Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind.”

134. “People living alone get used to loneliness.”

135. “Thirty—the promise of a decade of loneliness, a thinning list of single men to know, a thinning brief-case of enthusiasm, thinning hair.”

136. “I don’t care about the truth. I want some happiness.”

137. “It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life.”

138. “Youth is like having a big plate of candy. Sentimentalists think they want to be in the pure, simple state they were in before they ate the candy. They don’t. They just want the fun of eating it all over again.”

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