If You're Too Afraid to Fail, You'll Never Succeed | Neil Gaiman

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I hope you’ll make mistakes. If you make mistakes, it means you’re out there doing something. I never graduated from any such establishment. I never even started at one. I escaped from school as soon as I could, when the prospect of four more years of enforced learning before I could become the writer I wanted to be, seemed stifling. I got out into the world, I wrote, and I became a better writer the more I wrote, and I wrote some more, and nobody ever seemed to mind that I was making it all up as I went along. They just read what I wrote and they paid me for it … or they didn’t. The nearest thing I had, was a list I made when I was about 15, of everything I wanted to do. I wanted to write an adult novel, a children’s book, a comic, a movie, record an audio-book, write an episode of Doctor Who, and so on. I didn’t have a career, I just did the next thing on the list. When you start out in the arts, you have no idea what you’re doing. This is great. People who know what they’re doing know the rules, and they know what is possible and what is impossible. You do not, and you should not. The rules on what is possible and impossible in the arts, were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible, by going beyond them, and you can. If you don’t know it’s impossible, it’s easier to do, and because nobody’s done it before, they haven’t made up rules to stop anyone doing that particular thing again. That’s much harder than it sounds, and sometimes, in the end, so much easier than you might imagine, because normally, there are things you have to do before you can get to the place you want to be. When you start out, you have to deal with the problems of failure. You need to be thick-skinned. The things I did because I was excited and wanted to see them exist in reality have never let me down, and I’ve never regretted the time I spent on any of them. If you have an idea of what you want to make, what you were put here to do, then just go and do that, whether you’re a musician or a photographer, a fine artist, or a cartoonist, a writer, a dancer … singer, a designer, whatever you do, you have one thing that’s unique, you have the ability to make art. For me, and for so many of the people I’ve known, that’s been a lifesaver … the ultimate lifesaver. It gets you through good times, and it gets you through the other ones. The one thing that you have that nobody else has, is you … your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw, and build and play, and dance and live, as only you can. Do what only you can do best, make good art. Make it on the bad days. Make it on the good days too.

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    Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love

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    Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up

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    I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing

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    In a perfect world, you could fuck people without giving them a piece of your heart. And every glittering kiss and every touch of flesh is another shard of heart you’ll never see again

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    Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten

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    I like the stars. It's the illusion of permanence, I think. I mean, they're always flaring up and caving in and going out. But from here, I can pretend...I can pretend that things last. I can pretend that lives last longer than moments. Gods come, and gods go. Mortals flicker and flash and fade. Worlds don't last; and stars and galaxies are transient, fleeting things that twinkle like fireflies and vanish into cold and dust. But I can pretend

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    Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here

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    [D]on't ever apologise to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that's what they're there for. Use your library). Don't apologise to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend's copy. What's important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read

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    She seems so cool, so focused, so quiet, yet her eyes remain fixed upon the horizon. You think you know all there is to know about her immediately upon meeting her, but everything you think you know is wrong. Passion flows through her like a river of blood. She only looked away for a moment, and the mask slipped, and you fell. All your tomorrows start here

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    Sleep my little baby-ohSleep until you wakenWhen you wake you'll see the worldIf I'm not mistaken...Kiss a loverDance a measure,Find your nameAnd buried treasure...Face your lifeIts pain, Its pleasure,Leave no path untaken

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    I don't want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted just like that, and it didn't mean anything? What then?

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    I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy

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    Never trust a demon. He has a hundred motives for anything he does ... Ninety-nine of them, at least, are malevolent

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    Nobody looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody.'I said, 'Are you a monster? Like Ursula Monkton?'Lettie threw a pebble into the pond. 'I don't think so,' she said. 'Monsters come in all shapes and sizes, Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren't.'I said, 'People should be scared of Ursula Monkton.''P'raps. What do you think Ursula Monkton is scared of?''Dunno. Why do you think she's scared of anything? She's a grown-up, isn't she? Grown-ups and monsters aren't scared of things.'Oh, monsters are scared," said Lettie. "That's why they're monsters. And as for grown-ups...' She stopped talking, rubbed her freckled nose with a finger. Then, 'I'm going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world

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    Name the different kinds of people,’ said Miss Lupescu. ‘Now.’Bod thought for a moment. ‘The living,’ he said. ‘Er. The dead.’ He stopped. Then, ‘... Cats?’ he offered, uncertainly

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    25 And the Lord spake unto the Angel that guarded the eastern gate, saying 'Where is the flaming sword that was given unto thee?'26 And the Angel said, 'I had it here only a moment ago, I must have put it down some where, forget my own head next.'27 And the Lord did not ask him again

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    Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it's much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!

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    Often the adult book is not for you, not yet, or will only be for you when you're ready. But sometimes you will read it anyway, and you will take from it whatever you can. Then, perhaps, you will come back to it when you're older, and you will find the book has changed because you have changed as well, and the book is wiser, or more foolish, because you are wiser or more foolish than you were as a child

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    I think I fell in love with her, a little bit. Isn't that dumb? But it was like I knew her. Like she was my oldest, dearest friend. The kind of person you can tell anything to, no matter how bad, and they'll still love you, because they know you. I wanted to go with her. I wanted her to notice me. And then she stopped walking. Under the moon, she stopped. And looked at us. She looked at me. Maybe she was trying to tell me something; I don't know. She probably didn't even know I was there. But I'll always love her. All my life

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    I wondered if that was true: if they were all really children wrapped up in adult bodies, like children's books hidden in the middle of dull, long adult books, the kind with no pictures or conversations

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    Librarians are the coolest people out there doing the hardest job out there on the frontlines. And every time I get to encounter or work with librarians, I'm always impressed by their sheer awesomeness

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    and we held our breath, just for a moment, to see if the world had ended, but it hadn't, so we yawned and drank our champagne and carried on living, except for those of us who died, and everything continued such as before

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    Trees there were, old as trees can be, huge and grasping with hearts black as sin. Strange trees that some said walked in the night

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    I would fall asleep with my face pressed into her fur, while her deep electrical purr vibrated softly against my cheek. They made me think of the seaside, and so I called her Ocean, and I could not have told you why

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    There are no whores in Scaithe’s Ebb, or none that consider themselves as such, although there have always been many women who, if pressed, would describe themselves as much-married, with one husband on this ship here every six months, and another husband on that ship, back in port for a month or so every nine months. The mathematics of the thing have always kept most folk satisfied; and if ever it disappoints and a man returns to his wife while one of her other husbands is still in occupancy, why, then there is a fight — and the grog shops to comfort the loser. The sailors do not mind the arrangement, for they know that this way there will, at the least, be one person who, at the last, will notice when they do not come back from the sea, and will mourn their loss; and their wives content themselves with the certain knowledge that their husbands are also unfaithful, for there is no competing with the sea in a man’s affections, since she is both mother and mistress, and she will wash his corpse also, in time to come, wash it to coral and ivory and pearls

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    It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people

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    Each of the dancers took a partner, the living with the dead, each to each. Bod reached out his hand and found himself touching fingers with, and gazing into the grey eyes of, the lady in the cobweb dress. She smiled at him.“Hello, Bod,

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    If there is a moral to this part of the story, and I distrust morals in the same way that I distrust beginnings, it is simply this: know that with which you deal

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    There were ten tongues within one head, and one went out to fetch some bread, to feed the living and the dead." "What does it mean?" "A wren made a nest inside the skull of a gibbeted corpse, flying in and out of the jaw to feed its young. In the midst of death, as it were, life just keeps on happening

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    Nothing happened. Nothing continued to happen. More Nothing. The Return of Nothing. Son of Nothing. Nothing Rides Again. Nothing and Abbot and Costello meet the Wolfman

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    Now, where do I bring this thing down?" I asked. There was a hesitation, then, "You don't. We didn't design it to return. It was a redundancy we had no need for. Too costly, in terms of resources." "So what do I do? I just saved the Earth. And now I suffocate out here?

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    There was a table laid with jellies and trifles, with a party hat beside each place, and a birthday cake with seven candles on it in the center of the table. The cake had a book drawn on it, in icing. My mother, who had organized the party, told me that the lady at the bakery said that they had never put a book on a birthday cake before, and that mostly for boys it was footballs or spaceships. I was their first book

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    I think . . . I said things to Silas. He'll be angry.''If he didn't care about you, you couldn't upset him,' was all she said

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    Oh ... My twitchy witchy girl I think you are so nice, I give you bowls of porridge And I give you bowls of ice-cream

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    There are a hundred things she has tried to chase away the things she won't remember and that she can't even let herself think about because that's when the birds scream and the worms crawl and somewhere in her mind it's always raining a slow and endless drizzle.You will hear that she has left the country, that there was a gift she wanted you to have, but it is lost before it reaches you. Late one night the telephone will sign, and a voice that might be hers will say something that you cannot interpret before the connection crackles and is broken.Several years later, from a taxi, you will see someone in a doorway who looks like her, but she will be gone by the time you persuade the driver to stop. You will never see her again. Whenever it rains you will think of her

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    There is something about riding a unicorn, for those people who still can, which is unlike any other experience: exhilarating, and intoxicating, and fine

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    Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you've never been. Once you've visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different

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    Until that moment she had never thought she could do it. Never thought she would be brave enough or scared enough, or desperate enough to dare

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    Gods are great," said Atsula, slowly, as if she were imparting a great secret. "But the heart is greater. For it is from our hearts they come, and to our hearts they shall return

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    You are not dead, until every person who knew you is dead as well." Where did I hear that? It doesn't matter. There is a village in my head

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    The world is full of all sorts of brilliant stuff and I haven't found out all about it yet, so I don't want anyone messing it about or endin' it before I've had the chance to find out about it.-Adam to DEATH & the 4 horsepeople of the Apocalypse

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    Shadow crawled across the floor to the yellow foam-rubber pad and climbed onto it, pulling the thin blanket over himself, and closed his eyes, and he held onto nothing, and he held onto dreams

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    She looked at the girl in the mirror and the girl in the mirror looked back at her. I will be brave, thought Coraline. No, I am brave

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    Hey," said Shadow. "Huginn or Muninn, or whoever you are." The bird turned, head tipped, suspiciously, on one side, and it stared at him with bright eyes."Say 'Nevermore,'" said Shadow."Fuck you," said the raven

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    Fat Charlie wondered what Rosie's mother would usually hear in a church. Probably just cries of "Back! Foul best of Hell!" followed by gasps of "Is it alive?" and a nervous inquiry as to whether anybody had remembered to bring the stakes and hammers

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    It's still National Library Week. You should be especially nice to a librarian today, or tomorrow. Sometime this week, anyway. Probably the librarians would like tea. Or chocolates. Or a reliable source of funding

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    Let us begin this letter, this prelude to an encounter, formally, as a declaration, in the old-fashioned way: I love you. You do not know me (although you have seen me, smiled at me). I know you (although not so well as I would like. I want to be there when your eyes flutter open in the morning, and you see me, and you smile. Surely this would be paradise enough?). So I do declare myself to you now, with pen set to paper. I declare it again: I love you

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    A philosopher once asked, "Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?" Pointless, really..."Do the stars gaze back?" Now, that's a question

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    The irritating question they ask us -- us being writers -- is: "Where do you get your ideas?"And the answer is: Confluence. Things come together. The right ingredients and suddenly: Abracadabra!

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    Along with the standard computer warranty agreement which said that if the machine 1) didn't work, 2) didn't do what the expensive advertisements said, 3) electrocuted the immediate neighborhood, 4) and in fact failed entirely to be inside the expensive box when you opened it, this was expressly, absolutely, implicitly and in no event the fault or responsibility of the manufacturer, that the purchaser should consider himself lucky to be allowed to give his money to the manufacturer, and that any attempt to treat what had just been paid for as the purchaser's own property would result in the attentions of serious men with menacing briefcases and very thin watches. Crowley had been extremely impressed with the warranties offered by the computer industry, and had in fact sent a bundle Below to the department that drew up the Immortal Soul agreements, with a yellow memo form attached just saying: 'Learn, guys

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    In every way that counted, I was dead. Inside somewhere maybe I was screaming and weeping and howling like an animal, but that was another person deep inside, another person who had no access to the lips and face and mouth and head, so on the surface I just shrugged and smile and kept moving. If I could have physically passed away, just let it all go, like that, without doing anything, stepped out of life as easily as walking through a door I would have done. But I was going to sleep at night and waking in the morning, disappointed to be there and resigned to existence

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    Yes. We both have a bad feeling. Tonight we shall take our bad feelings and share them, and face them. We shall mourn. We shall drain the bitter dregs of mortality. Pain shared, my brother, is pain not doubled, but halved. No man is an island

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    Reading is important.Books are important.Librarians are important. (Also, libraries are not child-care facilities, but sometimes feral children raise themselves among the stacks.)

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    So what I want to know is why it is that I can no longer find you, in my mind. You are still there, just, but you are there like a ghost, a will o' the wisp. Not long ago you burned--your heart burned--in my mind like silver fire. But after that night in the inn it became patchy and dim, and now it is not there at all.""Could it be that the heart that you seek is no longer my own? I have given my heart to another.""The boy? The one in the inn? With the unicorn?""Yes.""You should have let me take it back then, for my sisters and me. We could have been young again, well into the next age of the world. Your boy will break it, or waste it, or lose it. They all do.""Nonetheless, he has my heart. I hope your sisters will not be too hard on you, when you return to them without it

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    I'm not blessed, or merciful. I'm just me. I've got a job to do, and I do it. Listen: even as we're talking, I'm there for old and young, innocent and guilty, those who die together and those who die alone. I'm in cars and boats and planes; in hospitals and forests and abbatoirs. For some folks death is a release, and for others death is an abomination, a terrible thing. But in the end, I'm there for all of them

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    Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end

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    Loki was trying to look serious, but even so, he was smiling at the corners of his mouth. It was not a reassuring smile

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    Libraries really are the gates to the future. So it is unfortunate that, round the world, we observe local authorities seizing the opportunity to close libraries as an easy way to save money, without realising that they are stealing from the future to pay for today. They are closing the gates that should be open

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    Literature does not occur in a vacuum. It cannot be a monologue. It has to be a conversation, and new people, new readers, need to be brought into the conversation too

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    There was a smile dancing on his lips, although it was a wary smile, for the world is a bigger place than a little graveyard on a hill; and there would be dangers in it and mysteries, new friends to make, old friends to rediscover, mistakes to be made and many paths to be walked before he would, finally, return to the graveyard or ride with the Lady on the broad back of her great grey stallion

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    A short story is the ultimate close-up magic trick -- a couple of thousand words to take you around the universe or break your heart

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    I am the only one of us who brings in any money. the other two cannot make money fortune telling. this is because they only tell the truth, and the truth is not what people want to hear. it is a bad thing and it troubles people, so they do not come back

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    It was a survival thing: he didn't answer back, didn't say anything about job security for prison guards, debate the nature of repentance, rehabilitation, or rates of recidivism. He didn't say anything funny or clever, and, to be on the safe side, when he was talking to a prison official, whenever possible, he didn't say anything at all. Speak when you're spoken to. Do your own time. Get out. Go home. ... Rebuild a life

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    Have you ever been in love? Horrible, isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up this whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life… You give them a piece of you. They don't ask for it. They do something dumb one day like kiss you, or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore

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    You attend the funeral, you bid the dead farewell. You grieve. Then you continue with your life. And at times the fact of her absence will hit you like a blow to the chest, and you will weep. But this will happen less and less as time goes on. She is dead. You are alive. So live

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    We have eyes and we have nervesesWe have tails we have teethYou'll all get what you deservesesWhen we rise from underneath

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    He shivered. His coat was thin, and it was obvious he would not get his kiss, which he found puzzling. The manly heroes of the penny dreadfuls and shilling novels never had these problems getting kissed

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    It must be a real betrayal, when your body turns against you. I wonder if she likes flowers. All the bits of you that can go wrong...I don't like flowers, not really. I like growing them, but that's only because I like seeing them blossom, and seeing them die...But oh, how I do love to play God

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    I am the most miserable person who ever lived," he said... "You are young, and in love," said Primus. "Every young man in your position is the most miserable young man who ever lived

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    You're alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you're dead, it's gone. Over. You've made what you've made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished

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    Few of us have seen the stars as folk saw them then - our cities and towns cast too much light into the night - but, from the village of Wall, the stars were laid out like worlds or like ideas, uncountable as the trees in a forest or the leaves on a tree

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    Gods, religions and national boundaries are absolutely imaginary. They don't tend to exist. As soon as you pull back half a mile and look down at the Earth there are no national boundaries. There aren't even national boundaries when you get down and walk around. They're just imaginary lines we draw on maps. I just get fascinated by people who assume that things that are imaginary have no relevance to their lives

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    Loyalty was a great thing, but no lieutenants should be forced to choose between their leader and a circus with elephants

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    So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life

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    Neil Gaiman quote

    There are some dogs which, when you meet them, remind you that, despite thousands of years of man-made evolution, every dog is still only two meals away from being a wolf. These dogs advance deliberately, purposefully, the wilderness made flesh, their teeth yellow, their breath a-stink, while in the distance their owners witter, "He's an old soppy really, just poke him if he's a nuisance," and in the green of their eyes the red campfires of the Pleistocene gleam and flicker

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    He was painfully shy, which, as is often the manner of the painfully shy, he overcompensated for by being too loud at the wrong times

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    Death and Famine and War and Pollution continued biking towards Tadfield. And Grievous Bodily Harm, Cruelty To Animals, Things Not Working Properly Even After You've Given Them A Good Thumping but secretly No Alcohol Lager, and Really Cool People travelled with them

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    DEATH: "Mostly they aren't too keen to see me. They fear the sunless lands. But they enter your realm each night without fear."MORPHEUS: "And I am far more terrible than you, sister

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    Today, fantasy is, for better or for worse, just another genre, a place in a bookshop to find books that, too often, remind one of far too many other books; it is an irony, and not entirely a pleasant one, that what should be, by definition, the most imaginative of all types of literature has become so staid, and, too often, downright unimaginative

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    You don’t need princes to save you. I don’t have a lot of patience for stories in which women are rescued by men

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    I tended to do anything as long as it felt like an adventure, and to stop when it felt like work. Which meant that life did not feel like work

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    Neil Gaiman quote

    There's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous

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    Neil Gaiman quote

    He couldn’t see why people made such a fuss about people eating their silly old fruit anyway, but life would be a lot less fun if they didn’t. And there was never an apple, in Adam’s opinion, that wasn’t worth the trouble you got into for eating it

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    It is good for children to find themselves facing the elements of a fairy tale - they are well-equipped to deal with these

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    I know that David Tennant's Hamlet isn't till July. And lots of people are going to be doing Dr Who in Hamlet jokes, so this is just me getting it out of the way early, to avoid the rush..."To be, or not to be, that is the question. Weeelll.... More of A question really. Not THE question. Because, well, I mean, there are billions and billions of questions out there, and well, when I say billions, I mean, when you add in the answers, not just the questions, weeelll, you're looking at numbers that are positively astronomical and... for that matter the other question is what you lot are doing on this planet in the first place, and er, did anyone try just pushing this little red button?

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    Neil Gaiman quote

    People talk about books that write themselves, and it's a lie. Books don't write themselves. It takes thought and research and backache and notes and more time and more work than you'd believe

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    Hearts may break, but hearts are the toughest of muscles, able to pump for a lifetime, seventy times a minute, and scarcely falter along the way. Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things, can prove remarkably difficult to kill

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    I took the dog out for a walk tonight, and together we wandered across the meadow next door. It was a warm summer's night, dark, and moonless. There were a handful of fireflies flickering intermittently, some so close to me I could see they were burning green as they flew, and some further away, who seemed to be flashing white.And in the sky above them a continual roil of distant summer lightning (the storm distant enough that it was silent) burned and flashed and illuminated the clouds. It seemed as if the lightning bugs were talking to the lightning, in a perfect call and response of flash and counterflash. I watched the sky and the meadow flash and flash while the dog walked ahead of me, and realised that I was perfectly happy

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    Listen, gods die when they are forgotten. People too. But the land's still here. The good places, and the bad. The land isn't going anywhere. And neither am I

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    If you only write when you’re inspired you may be a fairly decent poet, but you’ll never be a novelist because you’re going to have to make your word count today and those words aren’t going to wait for you whether you’re inspired or not.You have to write when you’re not inspired. And you have to write the scenes that don’t inspire you. And the weird thing is that six months later, a year later, you’ll look back at them and you can’t remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you just wrote because they had to be written next.The process of writing can be magical. …Mostly it’s a process of putting one word after another

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    I thought I was looking at a building at first: that it was some kind of tent, as high as a country church, made of grey and pink canvas that flapped in the gusts of storm wind, in that orange sky: a lopsided canvas structure aged by weather and ripped by time. And then it turned and I saw its face

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    Stories you read when you're the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you'll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit

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    Know that diamonds and roses are as uncomfortable when they tumble from one's lips as toads and frogs: colder, too, and sharper, and they cut

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    Because a book is a little empathy machine. It puts you inside somebody else’s head. You see out of the world through somebody else’s eyes. It’s very hard to hate people of a certain kind when you’ve just read a book by one of those people

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    You can take your gold, but afterwards, things are, things are flat. There is less beauty in a rainbow, less meaning in a sermon, less joy in a kiss…Less

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    Have you thought about what it means to be a god?" asked the man. He had a beard and a baseball cap. "It means you give up your mortal existence to become a meme: something that lives forever in people's minds, like the tune of a nursery rhyme. It means that everyone gets to re-create you in their own minds. You barely have your own identity any more. Instead, you're a thousand aspects of what people need you to be. And everyone wants something different from you. Nothing is fixed, nothing is stable

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