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Anne Fine
“Yesterday, when we were packing, Julius asked me,

"If you could rub Tulip out of your past life, would you do it?"

And I had to shake my head. I can't regret the times we had together. Sometimes I worry I won't have times like that again, that there will be no lit nights, no incandescent days. But I know it's not true. There can be colour in a million ways. I know I'll find it on my own.”
Anne Fine, The Tulip Touch

Terry Pratchett
“Mister Teatime had a truly brilliant mind, but it was brilliant like a fractured mirror, all marvellous facets and rainbows but, ultimately, also something that was broken.”
Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

Zoë Heller
“Being alone is not the most awful thing in the world. You visit your museums and cultivate your interests and remind yourself how lucky you are not to be one of those spindly Sudanese children with flies beading their mouths. You make out To Do lists - reorganise linen cupboard, learn two sonnets. You dole out little treats to yourself - slices of ice-cream cake, concerts at Wigmore Hall. And then, every once in a while, you wake up and gaze out of the window at another bloody daybreak, and think, I cannot do this anymore. I cannot pull myself together again and spend the next fifteen hours of wakefulness fending off the fact of my own misery.

People like Sheba think that they know what it's like to be lonely. They cast their minds back to the time they broke up with a boyfriend in 1975 and endured a whole month before meeting someone new. Or the week they spent in a Bavarian steel town when they were fifteen years old, visiting their greasy-haired German pen pal and discovering that her hand-writing was the best thing about her. But about the drip drip of long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. They don't know what it is to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the laundrette. Or to sit in a darkened flat on Halloween night, because you can't bear to expose your bleak evening to a crowd of jeering trick-or-treaters. Or to have the librarian smile pityingly and say, ‘Goodness, you're a quick reader!’ when you bring back seven books, read from cover to cover, a week after taking them out. They don't know what it is to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand on your shoulder sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. I have sat on park benches and trains and schoolroom chairs, feeling the great store of unused, objectless love sitting in my belly like a stone until I was sure I would cry out and fall, flailing, to the ground. About all of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.”
Zoë Heller, What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal]

Fyodor Dostoevsky
“An anxiety with no object or purpose in the present, and in the future nothing but endless sacrifice, by means of which he would attain nothing - that was what his days on earth held in store for him... What good was life to him? What prospects did he have? What did he have to strive for? Was he to live merely in order to exist? But a thousand times before he had been ready to give up his existence for an idea, for a hope, even for an imagining. Existence on its own had never been enough for him; he had always wanted more than that. Perhaps it was merely the strength of his own desires that made him believe he was a person to whom more was allowed than others.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment

Margaret Cezair-Thompson
“I performed the part of an odd, quiet woman, and performed it to everyone's satisfaction. When others slept, I was awake; when they woke, they found me quietly occupied. I took walks by myself. I read and sewed or sat in the garden with my own self for company. I was not missed. I have never been missed. I had all the manners and necessities of other women of my society, yet I was without society.

... I simply surrendered to that brute unhappiness which had always been close at hand. I no longer made the effort to appear civil, for by then I loathed civilisation from the bottom of my heart. Solitude, after a while, becomes the worst kind of savagery.”
Margaret Cezair-Thompson, The True History of Paradise

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