Weird Fiction

The Quotable King

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That’s how old I was when I became a Stephen King fan.

I remember that summer because we spent it on my great-uncle’s farm. By day the world outside was blazing in the sun, but I was nestled in cool shadows with two books I had brought along to keep me company – Night Shift and Salem’s Lot. At that time I had just come to fully appreciate horror in fiction, rather than just in comic books and films, so the words scrawled across the pages weren’t just mere configurations of letters to me. They were vessels of dread, valor, love, and the indomitable spirit of survival in the face of supernatural odds. They taught me that fear could be both a poison and an antidote, a haunting experience that often underscored the fragilily of hope.

Stephen King didn’t just write stories for me, he spun worlds out of the mundane, breathed life into the macabre, and in doing so, he whispered truths about life, death, and everything in between, in a way only he could, and I paid attention. His unique descriptions and evocative phrases had a way of lingering long after the book was closed and shelved. And I’m not just talking about banal expressions like “dirty pillows” (Carrie’s Mom’s name for breasts). King had some genuine poetry enmeshed with his sentences. These nestled in the crevices of my mind, growing with me, shaping my perspective, and becoming fragments of the lens through which I viewed the world.

Each quote of his was like a key, unlocking deeper understanding, evoking a spectrum of emotions, and often, sending a chill down the spine. They were not just sentences, but life lessons veiled in metaphor and chilling narrative. The blend of the profound with the eerie, the hopeful with the harrowing, created a tapestry of thought that was as evocative as it was enlightening.

So, here I am, years later, with gratitude and a mind enriched by the profound simplicity and the strange complexity of King’s words, ready to embark on a journey down memory lane, hopefully with all of you in tow. Let’s take a journey to revisit the words that molded, comforted, scared, and elated all us Constant Readers.

Below you will find some of Stephen King’s best and most quotable lines, mostly from his fiction, but there’s a fair bit of non-fiction sprinkled in as well. Enjoy!

The Quotes of Stephen King

On Fear

• “The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

– from On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

• “Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.”

– from Shawshank Redemption

• “He who hesitates is lost – a saying truer in the Dark Tower than almost anywhere else.”

– from The Dark Tower series

• “There are no safe places. Only safe actions.”

– from Gerald’s Game

On Life and Humanity

• “Each life makes its own imitation of immortality.”

– from The Green Mile

• “We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.”

– from Skeleton Crew

• “The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted.”

– from The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

• “The world moves fast, changing everything around us with each new day.”

– from Mr. Mercedes

• “The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them.”

– from Different Seasons

• “You can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.”

– from Hearts in Atlantis

On Writing

• “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

– from On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

• “Words create sentences; sentences create paragraphs; sometimes paragraphs quicken and begin to breathe.”

– from Everything’s Eventual

• “In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”

– from On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

• “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”

– from On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

On Death

• “Death is when the monsters get you.”

– from Salem’s Lot

• “Sooner or later, everything old is new again.”

– from The Colorado Kid

• “Hearts can break. Yes, hearts can break. Sometimes I think it would be better if we died when they did, but we don’t.”

– from Hearts in Atlantis

• “The last thing you ever know in life is whether it’s better to be alive or dead.”

– from Insomnia

On Love

• “I am yours, don’t give myself back to me.”

– from The Stand

• “So do we pass the ghosts that haunt us later in our lives; they sit undramatically by the roadside like poor beggars, and we see them only from the corners of our eyes, if we see them at all. The idea that they have been waiting there for us rarely if ever crosses our minds. Yet they do wait, and when we have passed, they gather up their bundles of memory and fall in behind, treading in our footsteps and catching up, little by little.”

– from Wizard and Glass

• “Love is the kiss in the quiet nest while the leaves are trembling, mirrored in the water.”

– from IT

On Reality

• “You can’t change what happened. The only thing you can control is how you deal with it.” – from Sleeping Beauties • “Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”

– from IT


• “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”

– from The Shining

• “People want to know why I do this, why I write such gross stuff. I like to tell them I have the heart of a small boy… and I keep it in a jar on my desk.”

– (From an interview)

• “God is cruel. Sometimes he makes you live.” – from Desperation • “Time’s the thief of memory.”

– from The Gunslinger

• “Home is where they want you to stay longer.” – from It • “Sometimes it seems unfair that events so old can reach forward through the years, sinking claws into one’s life and twisting all that follows it. Yet perhaps that is the ultimate justice: we are the sum of all we have done added to the sum of all that has been done to us. There is no escaping that, not so long as memory lasts.”

– from IT

• “Time takes it all, whether you want it to or not.” – from The Green Mile • “The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.”

– from Needful Things

• “Sometimes reality is too complex for oral communication. But legend embodies it in a form which enables it to spread all over the world.”

– from IT

• “The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there… and still on your feet.”

– from The Stand

These quotes offer a glimpse into the diverse and profound themes explored by Stephen King in his vast body of work, each category unraveling a different facet of human experience as seen through the lens of this master storyteller. I hope you enjoyed them, constant readers.

Final Thoughts

The journey through the mind of Stephen King, as encapsulated in these quotes, is akin to wandering through a shadowy forest with paths that lead to the depth of human fear, the intricacies of love, the inevitable embrace of death, and the unyielding lust for life. Each quote is a leaf, a stone, a cloud, a raindrop that adds to the atmospheric tapestry King paints with his words. They are not merely reflections but doorways into introspection, evoking a resonance that lingers, whispers, and sometimes, shouts from the pages into the quiet corners of our minds.

But what are your thoughts, fear friends? Do you share my saccharine reverence for sail King’s brain droppings? The comments section below is your space to share a Stephen King quote that struck a chord, frightened a little, or perhaps, enlightened a lot. Which of his words have nestled in your memory? What reflections have they spurred in the silences of your thoughts?

Furthermore, if you’ve enjoyed this journey through the “Quotable King,” consider subscribing to the blog for more explorations into the literary, the eerie, and the profoundly human. Every subscription is a step alongside in this ongoing journey through the eerie realms of thought and emotion that a gifted few seem to capture in ink.

Remember to subscribe to the blog, share this post on your socials, and let the words of the “Quotable King” be the start of many more conversations to come. Until our expedition into terror, I wish you “long days and pleasant nights.”

Article Info

Process: This post was outlined and drafted in LOD’s go-to writing app Scrivener, polished in Sudowrite and Quillbot, then rocketed into the Social Media Stratosphere by Crowdfire.

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On my fifth birthday a relative gifted me a black box filled with old horror, war, and superhero comics. On that day, my journey through the Weird began, and The Longbox of Darkness was born. Four decades of voracious reading later, and here we are.