reality

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.

Stephen King, Doctor Sleep

The essential and defining characteristic of childhood is not the effortless merging of dream and reality, but only alienation. There are no words for childhood’s dark turns and exhalations. A wise child recognizes it and submits to the necessary consequences. A child who counts the cost is a child no longer.

Stephen King, Salem’s Lot

It’s true, I am afraid of dying. I am afraid of the world moving forward without me, of my absence going unnoticed, or worse, being some natural force propelling life on. Is it selfish? Am I such a bad person for dreaming of a world that ends when I do? I don’t mean the world ending with respect to me, but every set of eyes closing with mine.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

We will never cease our critique of those persons who distort the past, rewrite it, falsify it, who exaggerate the importance of one event and fail to mention some other; such a critique is proper (it cannot fail to be), but it doesn’t count for much unless a more basic critique precedes it: a critique of human memory as such. For after all, what can memory actually do, the poor thing? It is only capable of retaining a paltry little scrap of the past, and no one knows why just this scrap and not some other one, since in each of us the choice occurs mysteriously, outside our will or our interests. We won’t understand a thing about human life if we persist in avoiding the most obvious fact: that a reality no longer is what it was when it was; it cannot be reconstructed. Even the most voluminous archives cannot help.

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

I saw the world I had walked since my birth and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger.

Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.

Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

…there were those who might have suggested that reality is a highly untrustworthy concept, something perhaps no more solid than a piece of canvas stretched over an interlacing of cables like the strands of a spiderweb.

Stephen King, It

Just as when we come into the world, when we die we are afraid of the unknown. But the fear is something from within us that has nothing to do with reality. Dying is like being born: just a change.

Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits

The concept of dreaming is known to the waking mind but to the dreamer there is no waking, no real world, no sanity; there is only the screaming bedlam of sleep.

Stephen King, Rose Madder

I think reality is thin, you know, thin as lake ice after a thaw, and we fill our lives with noise and light and motion to hide that thinness from ourselves.

Stephen King, Bag of Bones

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