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Wolf in White Van Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
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Wolf in White Van Quotes Showing 1-30 of 78
“This is why people cry at the movies: because everybody’s doomed. No one in a movie can help themselves in any way. Their fate has already staked its claim on them from the moment they appear onscreen.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“There are only two stories: either you go forward or you die.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“I didn’t feel like I’d really won anything, but I had come through the day no worse off than I’d come into it, which, as I have been telling myself for many years now, is a victory whether it feels like one or not.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“but people underestimate just how starved everybody is for some magic pathway back into childhood.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“In video games you sometimes run into what they call a side quest, and if you don't manage to figure it out you can usually just go back into the normal world of the game and continue on toward your objective. I felt like I couldn't find my way back to the world now: like I was somebody locked in a meaningless side quest, in a stuck screen.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“It isn’t really much of a mystery, this occasional need I have to comfort my father. I did something terrible to his son once.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“People trying to help you when you’re past help are raw and helpless. Nobody wins: you get nothing; they feel worse.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“There is something fierce and starved about first ideas.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“You should avoid seeing too much of yourself anywhere: in the outside world, in others, in the imagined worlds that give you shelter.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“Some things are hard to explain to your parents. Some things are hard to explain, period, but your parents especially are never going to understand them.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“I am heavy in his arms, and I feel safe there, but I am lost, and I need constantly to be shoring up the wall that holds my emotions at bay, or I will feel something too great to contain.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“Normal adult shopping is something I will never actually do, because it’s no more possible for me to go shopping like normal adults do than it is for a man with no legs to wake up one day and walk. I can’t miss shopping like you’d miss things you once had. I miss it in a different way. I miss it like you would miss a train.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“For reasons that seem obvious to me, I don’t believe in happy endings or even in endings at all, but I am as susceptible to moments of indulgent fantasy as anybody else.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“And I started to say “fine,” and I meant to say “fine,” but I ended up saying that I felt my life was filled like a big jug to the brim with almost indescribable joy, so much that I hardly knew how to handle it.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“When anger rears up in me I have a trick I do where I picture it as a freshly uncoiled snake dropping down from the jungle canopy and heading for my neck. If I look at it directly it’ll disappear, but I have to do it while the snake’s still dropping or it will strike. This sounds like something they’d teach you in therapy at the hospital or something, but it’s not. It’s just a trick I found somewhere by myself. Once you’ve looked at a deadly thing and seen it disappear, what more is there to do? Walk on through the empty jungle toward the city past the clearing.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“Some lessons you learn gradually and some you learn in a sudden moment, like a flash going off in a dark room. I sift and rake and dig around in my vivid recollections of young Sean on the floor in summer, and I try to see what makes him tick, but I know a secret about young Sean, I guess, that he kind of ends up telling the world: nothing makes him tick. It just happens all by itself, tick tick tick tick tick, without any proximal cause, with nothing underneath it. He is like a jellyfish adrift in the sea, throbbing quietly in the warm waves of the surf just off the highway where the dusty white vans with smoked windows and indistinct decals near their wheel hubs roll innocently past.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“Forever is a question you start asking when you look at the ceiling. It becomes a word you hear in the same way that people who associate sound with color might hear a flat sky-blue. The open sky through which forgotten satellites travel. Forever.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“My parents’ room is an uncataloged planet, a night sky presence unknown to scientists but feared by the secret faithful who trade rumors of its mystery.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“Some lessons you learn gradually and some you learn in a sudden moment, like a flash going off in a dark room.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“People were always saying how ugly Southern California was, especially when they came back from their summer vacations. They said it looked plastic or fake or whatever, and talked about all the cool things they saw in Ohio, where their grandparents lived. Or in Pennsylvania. The wall behind the arcade was made of giant sparkling white bricks, just like all the other buildings connected to it. There was graffiti on it, indecipherable gang writing. It was dark now and getting a little cold and then the super-bright lights they have behind stores to keep bums from sleeping by the dumpsters came on, and I thought, people who don’t think Southern California is the most beautiful place in the world are idiots and I hope they choke on their tongues.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“And then I played some music, old music, and it sounded awful, and I loved it, I loved it so much.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“Who doesn’t want to rise above the obstacles in his pathway? Who wouldn’t want to go down in flames?”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“Forever is a question you start asking when you look at the ceiling.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“The inside of the Trace Italian, of course, does not exist. A player can get close enough to see it: it shines in the new deserts of Kansas, gleaming in the sun or starkly rising from the winter cold. The rock walls that protect it meet in points around it, one giving way to another, for days on end. But the dungeons into which you'll fall as you work through the pathways to its gates number in the low hundreds, and if you actually get into the entry hall, there are a few hundred more sub-dungeons before you'll actually reach somewhere that's truly safe. Technically, it's possible to get to the last room in the final chamber of the Trace Italian, but no one will ever do it. No one will ever live that long.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“But at that moment all I could see was the wolf in the white van, so alive, so strong. Hidden from view, unnoticed, concealed. And I thought, maybe he's real, this wolf, and he's really out there in a white van somewhere, riding around. Maybe he's in the far back, pacing back and forth, circling, the pads of his huge paws raw and cracking, his thick, sharp claws dully clicking against the raised rusty steel track ridges on the floor. Maybe he's sound asleep, or maybe he's just pretending. And then the van stops somewhere, maybe, and somebody gets out and walks around the side to the back and grabs hold of the handle and flings the doors open wide. Maybe whoever's kept him wears a mechanic's jumpsuit and some sunglasses, and he hasn't fed the great wolf for weeks, cruising the streets of the city at night, and the wolf's crazy with hunger now; he can't even think. Maybe he's not locked up in the back at all: he could be riding in the passenger seat, like a dog, just sitting and staring out the open window, looking around, checking everybody out. Maybe he's over in the other seat behind the steering wheel. Maybe he's driving.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“I was happy to know her in my small, formal, dependent way. And I felt a ravenous grief for nice boys who are too stupid to take care of themselves, and too dumb to remember to check the surrounding brush for snakes before settling down to sleep for the night.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“Here and there, alone, reflecting, I’d bump up against what felt like a buffer zone between me and some vast reserve of grief, but its reinforcements were sturdy enough and its construction solid enough to prevent me from really ever smelling its air, feeling its wind on my face.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“Trying to explain the feeling I had is like trying to describe what you see when your eyes are bandaged: it’s not impossible, but it’s different from describing something you can actually look at, something you might see in the course of a normal day. It is trying to describe something at which you are unable to look directly.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“either inventing internal worlds or having no world at all to inhabit,”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
“I take the knife and stab myself in the neck. I bleed out on top of the fortune-teller’s grave and then I’m dead and that’s my game. I am OK and I’ll be OK but this is the end and this is my story. CH.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van

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