There are a couple of websites which have various quotes from MacDonald’s books. I am putting down some I like, and you are free to add any by e-mailing me.
from The Last One Left :
“Friendships, like marriages, are dependent on avoiding the unforgivable.”
from A Flash of Green:
"Now it stands to reason, mister, any damn fool stares into the sun long enough, he'll end up seeing exactly what some other damn fool tells him he's going to see."
from Where is Janice Gantry? :
“Somebody has to be tireless...or the fast buck operators would asphalt the entire coast, fill every bay and slay every living thing incapable of carrying a wallet.
from A Purple Place For Dying :
* "...it is like what we have done to chickens. Forced growth under optimum conditions, so that in eight weeks they are ready for the mechanical picker. The most forlorn and comical statements are the ones made by the grateful young who say Now I can be ready in two years and nine months to go out in and earn a living rather than wasting 4 years in college. Education is something that should be apart from the necessities of earning a living, not a tool therefore. It needs contemplation, fallow periods, the measured and guided study of the history of man’s reiteration of the most agonizing question of all: Why? Today the good ones, the ones who want to ask why, find no one around with any interest in answering the question, so they drop out, because theirs is the type of mind which becomes monstrously bored at the trade-school concept. A devoted technician is seldom an educated man. He can be a useful man, a contented man, a busy man. But he has no more sense of the mystery and wonder and paradox of existence than does one of those chickens fattening itself for the mechanical plucking, freezing and packaging."
from A Deadly Shade of Gold:
* "The only thing in the world worth a damn is the strange, touching, pathetic, awesome nobility of the individual human spirit."
* "I know just enough about myself to know I cannot settle for one of those simplifications which indignant people seize upon to make understandable a world too complex for their comprehension. Astrology, health food, flag waving, bible thumping, Zen, nudism, nihilism -- all of these are grotesque simplifications which small dreary people adopt in the hope of thereby finding The Answer, because the very concept that maybe there is no answer, never has been, never will be, terrifies them."
* "I think there is some kind of divine order in the universe. Every leaf on every tree in the world is unique. As far as we can see, there are other galaxies, all slowly spinning, numerous as the leaves in the forest. In an infinite number of planets, there has to be an infinite number with life forms on them. Maybe this planet is one of the discarded mistakes. Maybe it's one of the victories. We'll never know."
from Dress Her in Indigo:
* "Any man who outgrows the myths of childhood is ninety-nine percent aware and convinced of his own mortality. But then comes the chilly breath on the nape of the neck, a stirring of the air by the wings of the bleak angel. When a man becomes one hundred percent certain of his inevitable death, he gets The Look."
* "And that, of course, is the tragic flaw in the narcotics laws -- that possession of marijuana is a felony. Regardless of whether it is as harmless as some believe, or as evil and vicious as others believe, savage and uncompromising law is bad law, and the good and humane judge will jump at any technicality that will keep him from imposing a penalty so barbaric and so cruel. The self-righteous pillars of church and society demand that "the drug traffic be stamped out" and think that making possession a felony will do the trick. Their ignorance of the roots of the drug traffic is as extensive as their ignorance of the law."
From The Long Lavender Look :
* "The only thing that prisons demonstrably cure is heterosexuality."
from A Tan and Sandy Silence:
Note: This quote has often been used as if JDM wrote it as a poem:
* "Up with life. Stamp out all small and large indignities. Leave everyone alone to make it without pressure. Down with hurting. Lower the standard of living. Do without plastics. Smash the servo-mechanisms. Stop grabbing. Snuff the breeze and hug the kids. Love all love. Hate all hate."
Others from the same book:
* "We're all children. We invent the adult facade and don it and try to keep the buttons and the medals polished. We're all trying to give such a good imitation of being an adult that the real adults in the world won't catch on. Each of us takes up the shticks that compose the adult image we seek. I'd gone the route of lazy, ironic bravado, of amiable, unaffiliated insouciance. Tinhorn knights of a stumbling Rosiante from Rent-A-Steed, maybe with one little area of the heart so pinched, so parched, I never dared let anything really lasting happen to me. Or dared admit the the flaw...
"The adult you pretend to be convinces himself that the risk is worth the game, the game worth the risk. Tells himself the choice of life style could get him killed -- on the Daytona track, in the bull ring, falling from the raw steel framework forty stories up, catching a rodeo hoof in the side of the head.
"Adult pretenses are never a perfect fit for the child underneath, and when there is the presentiment of death, like a hard black light making panther eyes glow in the back of the cave, the cry is, 'Mommy, mommy, mommy, it's so dark out there, so dark and so forever.'"
from The Scarlet Ruse :
* "Way over half the murders committed in this country are by close friends or relatives of the deceased. A gun makes a loud and satisfying noise in a moment of passion and requires no agility and very little strength. How many murders wouldn't happen, if they all had to use hammers and knives?"
from The Dreadful Lemon Sky:
"It was easy to see the shape and history of Bayside, Florida. There had been a little town on the bay shore, a few hundred people, a sleepy downtown with live oaks and Spanish moss. Then International Amalgamated Development had moved in, bought a couple of thousand acres, and put in shopping centers, town houses, condominiums, and rental apartments, just south of town. Next had arrived Consolidated Construction Enterprises and done the same thing north of town. Smaller operators had done the same things on a smaller scale west of town. When downtown decayed, the town fathers widened the streets and cut down the shade trees in an attempt to look just like a shopping center. It didn't work. It never does. This was instant Florida, tacky and stifling and full of ugly and spurious energies. They had every chain food-service outfit known to man, interspersed with used-car lots and furniture stores."
from Nightmare In Pink:
- ...it isn't foolish or wicked to enjoy. Wickedness is hurting people on purpose. I love what you are and what you are and how you are. You give me great joy. And you make horrible coffee.
- By feeling insecure about our making love, Nina, you make the inference that we are a pair of cheap people involved in some cheap pleasant friction. Pull on the pants and walk away, adding up the score. I think we're interested in each other, involved with each other, curious about each other. This was a part of exploring and learning. When it's good you learn something about yourself too. If the spirit is involved, if there is tenderness and respect and awareness of need, that's all the morality I care about.
from The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper:
- It's no good telling somebody they're trying too hard. It's very much like ordering a child to go stand in a corner for a half hour and never once think about elephants.
- I am not suited to the role of going around selling the life-can-be-beautiful idea. It can be, indeed. But you don't buy the concept from your friendly door-to-door lecture salesman.