Songs of a Dead Dreamer Quotes

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Songs of a Dead Dreamer Songs of a Dead Dreamer by Thomas Ligotti
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Songs of a Dead Dreamer Quotes (showing 1-25 of 25)
“The only value of this world lay in its power - at certain times - to suggest another world.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“My imagination? No, I don't think it's VIVID at all. On the contrary, it's not nearly potent enough. My poor imaginative faculties have always needed...extentions. That's why I'm here with you. You're smiling again, or rather you're SMIRKING. Funny word, smirk. Rather like an extraterrestrial surname. Simon Smirk. How do you think that sounds?”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“My grandfather felt at home with his lunatics.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“Certain kinds of people, and a fortiori certain kinds of writers, have always experienced the world around them in the Gothic manner, I’m almost positive. Perhaps there was even some little stump of an apeman who witnessed prehistoric lightning as it parried with prehistoric blackness in a night without rain, and felt his soul rise and fall at the same time to behold this sublime and terrifying conflict. Perhaps such displays provided inspiration for those very first imaginings that were not born of our daily life of crude survival, who knows? Could this be why all our primal mythologies are Gothic—that is, fearsome, fantastical, and inhuman?”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“It’s strange how you’re sometimes forced to assume an unsympathetic view of yourself through borrowed eyes.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“Life is a nightmare that leaves its mark upon you in order to prove that it is, in fact, real.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“In the seventeenth century there occurred the spiritual possession by divers demons of the nuns belonging to the Ursuline convent at Aix-en-Provence. Excommunication was soon in coming for the blighted sisters, who had been seduced into assorted blasphemies by the likes of Grésil, Sonnillon, and Vérin. De Plancy’s Dictionnaire infernal respectively characterizes these demons, in the words of an unknown translator, as “the one who glistens horribly like a rainbow of insects; the one who quivers in a horrible manner; and the one who moves with a particular creeping motion.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“This whole city is most certainly a pitiful corpse, while the neighborhood outside the walls of this bar has the distinction of being the withering heart of the deceased. And I am a devoted student of its anatomy—a pathologist, after a fashion, with an eye for necroses that others overlook.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“Every story needs to be told in just the right way.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“Compassion for human hurt, a humble sense of our impermanence, an absolute valuation of justice—all of our so-called virtues only trouble us and serve to bolster, not assuage, horror. In addition, these qualities are our least vital, the least in line with life. More often than not, they stand in the way of one’s rise in the welter of this world, which found its pace long ago and has not deviated from it since. The putative affirmations of life—each of them based on the propaganda of Tomorrow: reproduction, revolution in its widest sense, piety in any form you can name—are only affirmations of our desires. And, in fact, these affirmations affirm nothing but our penchant for self-torment, our mania to preserve a demented innocence in the face of gruesome facts.

By means of supernatural horror we may evade, if momentarily, the horrific reprisals of affirmation. Every one of us, having been stolen from nonexistence, opens his eyes on the world and looks down the road at a few convulsions and a final obliteration. What a weird scenario. So why affirm anything, why make a pathetic virtue of a terrible necessity? We are destined to a fool’s fate that deserves to be mocked. And since there is no one else around to do the mocking, we will take on the job. So let us indulge in cruel pleasures against ourselves and our pretensions, let us delight in the Cosmic Macabre. At least we may send up a few bitter laughs into the cobwebbed corners of this crusty old universe.

Supernatural horror, in all its eerie constructions, enables a reader to taste treats inconsistent with his personal welfare. Admittedly, this is not a practice likely to find universal favor. True macabrists are as rare as poets and form a secret society by the bad-standing of their memberships elsewhere, some of their outside affiliations having been cancelled as early as birth. But those who have gotten a good whiff of other worlds and sampled a cuisine marginal to stable existence will not be able to stay themselves from the uncanny feast of horrors that has been laid out for them. They will loiter in moonlight, eyeing the entranceways to cemeteries, waiting for some propitious moment to crash the gates and see what is inside.

Once and for all, let us speak the paradox aloud: “We have been force-fed for so long the shudders of a thousand graveyards that at last, seeking a macabre redemption, a salvation by horror, we willingly consume the terrors of the tomb…and find them to our liking.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
tags: horror
“Thus, his ambition led him not to relieve his patients’ madness, but to exasperate it—to let it breathe with a life of its own. And this he did in certain ways that wholly eradicated what human attributes remained in these people. But sometimes that peculiar magic he saw in their eyes would seem to fade, and then he would institute his ‘proper treatment,’ which consisted of putting them through a battery of hellish ordeals intended to loosen their attachment to the world of humanity and to project them further into the realm of the ‘silent, staring universe’ where the insanity of the infinite might work a rather paradoxical cure. The result was something as pathetic as a puppet and as exalted as the stars, something at once dead and never dying, a thing utterly without destiny and thus imperishable, forever consigned to that abysmal vacuity which is the essence of all that is immortal.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“What can she do but shrink with terror? Soon she is only doll-size in dark doll’s costume. Quivering bones and feverish blood are the stuffings of this doll, its entrails tickled by fear’s funereal plume. It flies to a corner of the room and cringes within enormous shadows, sometimes dreaming there throughout the night—of carriage wheels rioting in a lavender mist or a pearly fog, of nacreous fires twitching beyond the margins of country roads, of cliffs and stars.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“I showed her my cubicle of commercial artistry, and drew her attention to my latest project. “Oh, that’s lovely,” she said when I pointed out the drawing of a nymph with flowers in her freshly shampooed hair. “That’s really nice.” That “nice” remark almost spoiled my day.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“Supernatural horror was one of the ways we found that would allow us to live with our double selves. By its employ, we discovered how to take all the things that victimize us in our natural lives and turn them into the very stuff of demonic delight in our fantasy lives. In story and song, we could entertain ourselves with the worst we could think of, overwriting real pains with ones that were unreal and harmless to our species.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“But though the stars were spread across a great reaching blackness, the streets below were bathed in a stale gray dimness which suggested neither night nor day nor any natural phase between them.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“Gaunt immortality in black and gold,
Wreathed consoler hideous to behold.
The beautiful lie of a mother's womb,
The pious trick - for it is the tomb!”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“The experimental version of this story could actually be told as two stories happening “simultaneously,” each narrated in alternating sections which take place in parallel chronologies. One section begins with the death of Nathan and moves backward in time, while its counterpart story begins with the death of the original owner of the magical pants and moves forward. Needless to say, the facts in the case of Nathan must be juggled around so as to be comprehensible from the beginning, that is to say from the end.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“And one thing we know is real: horror. It is so real, in fact, that we cannot be sure it could not exist without us. Yes, it needs our imaginations and our consciousness, but it does not ask or require our consent to use them. Indeed, horror operates with complete autonomy. Generating ontological havoc, it is mephitic foam upon which our lives merely float. And, all said, we must face up to it: horror is more real than we are.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“Perhaps one of the walls to such a room would have built into it a sliding panel that could be opened only from the other side. And next to that room would be another room that was unfurnished and seemed never to have been occupied. But leaning against one wall of this other room, directly below the sliding panel, would be some long wooden sticks; and mounted at the ends of these sticks would be horrible little puppets.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“Violence without violation is only a noise heard by no one, the most horrendous sound in the universe.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“How much I wanted to move into these rooms and live forever in this domain of medieval autumns and mute winters, serving out my sentence of life among all the visible and invisible wonders I had only dreamed about from so far away.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“Compassion for human hurt, a humble sense of our impermanence, an absolute valuation of justice—all of our so-called virtues only trouble us and serve to bolster, not assuage, horror. In addition, these qualities are our least vital, the least in line with life. More often than not, they stand in the way of one’s rise in the welter of this world, which found its pace long ago and has not deviated from it since. The putative affirmations of life—each of them based on the propaganda of Tomorrow: reproduction, revolution in its widest sense, piety in any form you can name—are only affirmations of our desires. And, in fact, these affirmations affirm nothing but our penchant for self-torment, our mania to preserve a demented innocence in the face of gruesome facts.

By means of supernatural horror we may evade, if momentarily, the horrific reprisals of affirmation. Every one of us, having been stolen from nonexistence, opens his eyes on the world and looks down the road at a few convulsions and a final obliteration. What a weird scenario. So why affirm anything, why make a pathetic virtue of a terrible necessity? We are destined to a fool’s fate that deserves to be mocked. And since there is no one else around to do the mocking, we will take on the job. So let us indulge in cruel pleasures against ourselves and our pretensions, let us delight in the Cosmic Macabre. At least we may send up a few bitter laughs into the cobwebbed corners of this crusty old universe.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
tags: horror
“The supernatural, and all it represents, is profoundly abnormal, and therefore unreal. Few would argue with these conclusions. Fine. Now the highest aim of the realistic horror writer is to prove, in realistic terms, that the unreal is real. The question is: “Can this be done?” The answer is: “Of course not.” One would look silly attempting such a thing. Consequently, the realistic horror writer, wielding the hollow proofs and premises of his art, must settle for merely seeming to smooth out the ultimate paradox. In order to achieve this effect, the supernatural realist must really know the normal world, and deeply take for granted its reality. (It helps if he himself is normal and real.) Only then can the unreal, the abnormal, the supernatural be smuggled in as a plain brown package marked Hope, Love, or Fortune Cookies, and postmarked: the Edge of the Unknown.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“The result was that Preston successfully negotiated quite a few decades without ever coming within hailing distance of puberty. In this state of arrested development, he defiantly lived through many a perverse adventure. And he still lives in the pages of those books I wrote about him, though I stopped writing them some years ago.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
“The dismembered limbs of dolls and puppets are strewn about everywhere. Posters, signs, billboards, and leaflets of various sorts are scattered around like playing cards, their bright words disarranged into nonsense. Countless other objects, devices, and leftover goods stock the room, more than one could possibly take notice of. But they are all, in some way, like those which have been described. One wonders, then, how they could add up to such an atmosphere of…isn’t repose the word? Yes, but a certain kind of repose: the repose of ruin.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer

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