Top 10 Harry Crews Quotes
#10 - A HELL OF A DAY
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"I can leave the place where I live a couple of hours before daylight and be on a deserted little strip of sand called Crescent Beach in time to throw a piece of meat on a fire and then, in a few minutes, lie back sucking on a vodka bottle and chewing on a hunk of bloody beef while the sun lifts out of the Atlantic Ocean (somewhat unnerving but also mystically beautiful to a man who never saw a body of water bigger than a pond until he was grown) and while the sun rises lie on a blanket, brain singing from vodka and a bellyful of beef, while the beautiful bikinied children from the University of Florida drift down the beach, their smooth bodies sweating baby oil and the purest kind of innocent lust (which of course is the rankest sort) into the bright air. If all that starts to pall—and what doesn't start to pall?—I can leave the beach and in three hours be out on the end of a dock, sitting in the Captain's Table eating hearts-of-palm salad and hot boiled shrimp and sipping on a tall, icy glass of beer while the sun I saw lift out of the Atlantic that morning sinks into the warm, waveless Gulf of Mexico. It makes a hell of a day." —"Why I Live Where I Live," Florida Frenzy, 1982

#09 - ALASKA
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"It was no doubt gratuitous, even sentimental, but looking at the butterfly on the young whore's ass, I thought of the long snaking pipeline falling from Prudhoe Bay across the interior of Alaska to the Bay of Valdez. I thought: If Alaska is not our young whore, what is she? She is rich, but who can live with her? She is full of all that will pleasure us, but she is hard and cold to the bone. And if we scar her, leaver her with pestilence and corrupted with infection, irrefutably marked with our own private design, who can blame us? Didn't we buy her with a trifling sum to start with?" —"Going Down in Valdez," Blood and Grits, 1979

#08 - DEAD-END
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"I'm at the end of my road. I was warned about everything except what I should have been warned about. I was warned about tobacco and I don't smoke. I was warned about whiskey and I don't drink except when I can't stand it. I was warned about women and I never married. But I was never warned about work. Work hard, they say, and you'll be happy. Get a car, get a house, get a business, get money. Get get get get get get get. Well, I got. And now it's led me here where everything is a dead-end." —The Hawk is Dying, 1973

#07 - A SHIRT FULL OF PUKE
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"Alcohol whipped me. Alcohol and I had many, many marvelous times together. We laughed, we talked, we danced at the party together; then one day I woke up and the band had gone home and I was lying in the broken glass with a shirt full of puke and I said, 'Hey, man, the ball game's up.'" —"Still in the Game: On the Straight and Narrow with Writer Harry Crews," Getting Naked with Harry Crews, 1999

#06 - GOLDEN YEARS
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"American society is so disgusting. You get a house. You build a big, big fence. You buy a lot of insurance. You save your money for your Golden Years. Has anything ever in the history of the world been more of a misnomer than 'Your Golden Years'? Christ, your teeth are gone, your eyesight's gone, you can't have sex, your mind—everything's gone." —"Harry Goes Cruising for a Bruising," Getting Naked with Harry Crews, 1999

#05 - NO BLASPHEMY INTENDED
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"No blasphemy intended, but I learned a long time ago that for many of us where we drink is more important than what we drink, more important even if we drink, because a bar that's right is a place you can go and sit for hours in the friendly supportive dark, sipping warm Coke and eating endless bags of fried hogskins, greasing and regreasing your stomach after some mild outrage in the bar the night before. Such a bar should never be crowded. If a bar's crowded, you know immediately it's no good because there are never enough people who know a good bar from a bad bar to cause a crowd. A crowded bar always pours a lot of things like Tequila Sunrises and Black Russians, drinks that have nothing to do with the pleasures of whiskey." —"Tuesday Night with Cody, Jimbo, and a Fish of Some Proportion," Blood and Grits, 1979

#04 - A BUNCH OF SHIT
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"I had possessions once. I mean, I had them up around my fucking neck. I thought and felt that I was not in control, that they owned me. After all, if you have a house and a car and nine jillion pieces of furniture, you're not mobile. You're not anything. You're stuck. Some people will say it's a great way to be stuck, and maybe it is for them, but the notion of having a bunch of shit that I have to stay around and take care of doesn't wear well with me." —"The Freedom to Act: An Interview with Harry Crews," Getting Naked with Harry Crews, 1999

#03 - LAKES OF FIRE
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"Hell came right along with God, hand in hand. The stink of sulfur swirled in the air of the church, fire burned in the aisles, and brimstone rained out of the rafters. From the evangelist's oven mouth spewed images of a place with pitchforks, and devils, and lakes of fire that burned forever. God had fixed a place like that because he loved us so much." —A Childhood: The Biography of a Place, 1978

#02 - LIVE DIFFERENTLY
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"You have to go to considerable trouble to live differently from the way the world wants you to live. That's what I've discovered about writing. The world doesn't want you to do a damn thing. If you wait till you got time to write a novel or time to write a story or time to read the hundred thousands of books you should have already read—if you wait for the time, you'll never do it. 'Cause there ain't no time; world don't want you to do that. World wants you to go go the zoo and eat cotton candy, preferably seven days a week." —"Some of Us Do It Anyway: An Interview with Harry Crews," Getting Naked with Harry Crews, 1999

#01 - HOME FREE
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"For many and complicated reasons, circumstances had collaborated to make me ashamed that I was a tenant farmer's son. As weak and warped as it is, and as difficult as it is even now to admit it, I was so humiliated by the fact that I was from the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp in the worst hookworm and rickets part of Georgia. I could not bear to think of it, and worse to believe it. Everything I had written had been out of a fear and loathing for what I was and who I was. It was all out of an effort to pretend otherwise. I believe to this day, and will always believe, that in that moment I literally saved my life, because the next thought—and it was more than a thought, it was a dead-solid conviction—was that all I had going for me in the world or would ever have was that swamp, all those goddamn mules, all those screwworms that I'd dug out of pigs and all the other beautiful and dreadful and sorry circumstances that had made me the Grit I am and will always be. Once I realized that the way I saw the world and man's condition in it would always be exactly and inevitably shaped by everything which up to that moment had only shamed me, once I realized that, I was home free. Since that time I have found myself perpetually fascinating. It wasn't many weeks before I loved myself endlessly and profoundly. I have found no other such love anywhere in the world, nor do I expect to." —"Television's Junkyard Dog," Blood and Grits, 1979

"Out of the Gates, Slowly Bleeding": The Life & Times of Harry Crews

User Comments - Add a Comment
Jerry @ gonzogizmo@gmail.com - 2013-07-10 14:43:00

on #05 - NO BLASPHEMY INTENDED i'm pretty sure Harry didn't say he was "sipping warm cock" [Editor's Note: We were sabotaged! Thanks, it's been fixed!]