Genius Quotes From Books Written by Probable Stoners

Writers have been navigating fun forms of intoxication since the beginning of writer's block. Look at Alexander Dumas, Baudelaire, and their buddies who met regularly to enjoy the benefits of cannabis in the 1840s. And, hey, if you've ever tried to write anything, even a school paper, you understand why a little help can be useful.

The writers in this collection have not admitted to using, boozing, and cruising for weed, but read between the lines. My money is on some stoney inspiration for these major contributions to the literature canon.

Even granting that these passages might not have exactly been written under the influence (ehem, some totally were), tripping along with these magical words will send you on a trip of your own.

1. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

“All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others.”

2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.”

3. Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays

“There was silence. Something real was happening: this was, as it were, her life. If she could keep that in mind she would be able to play it through, do the right thing, whatever that meant.”

4. Toni Morrison, Beloved

“There is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up, holding, holding on, this motion, unlike a ship's, smooths and contains the rocker. It's an inside kind—wrapped tight like skin. Then there is the loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive. On its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one's own feet going seem to come from a far-off place.”

5. Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

“All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist."

6. Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice

“. . . yet there is no avoiding time, the sea of time, the sea of memory and forgetfulness, the years of promise, gone and unrecoverable, of the land almost allowed to claim its better destiny, only to the claim jumped by evildoers known all too well, and taken instead and held hostage to the future we must live in now forever.”

7. William Faulkner, Light in August

“Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders. Knows remembers believes a corridor in a big long garbled cold echoing building of dark red brick soot bleakened by more chimneys than its own, set in a grassless cinder strewn packed compound surrounded by smoking factory purlieus and enclosed by ten food steel-and-wire fence like a penitentiary or a zoo, where in random erratic surges, with sparrowlike child trebling, orphans in identical and uniform blue denim in and out of remembering but in knowing constant in the bleak walls, the bleak windows where in rain soot from the yearly adjacenting chimneys streaked like black tears.”

8. Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.”

9. Kate Chopin, The Awakening

"The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace."

10. Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

"In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans."

11. Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

“From that time forth he believed that the wise man is one who never sets himself apart from other living things, whether they have speech or not, and in later years he strove long to learn what can be learned, in silence, from the eyes of animals, the flight of birds, the great slow gestures of trees.”

12. Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives

“I kept having dreams all night. I thought they were touching me with their fingers. But dreams don't have fingers, they have fists, so it must have been scorpions.”

13. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

“He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced—or seemed to face—the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”

14. Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

“I remember that I'm invisible and walk softly so as not awake the sleeping ones. Sometimes it is best not to awaken them; there are few things in the world as dangerous as sleepwalkers.”

15. Michael Chabon, Wonder Boys

“Undressing her was an act of recklessness, a kind of vandalism, like releasing a zoo full of animals, or blowing up a dam.”