2011-09-06T06:07:43+01:00

Notebook of Mignon

Here are my notes from a book called The Complete Neurotic's Notebook written by Mignon McLaughlin which is a book compose of two separate ones "The neurotic's notebook" + "The second neurotic's notebook".

This books are basically a collection of thoughts from Mignon about life.

I noted down a lot of them (see below) and organized them in a group of wise words, women wise words, neurotic thoughts and cynicisms. In exactly this order, having cynicism at the end as least useful. But sometimes it's hard to choose if some thought is wise or cynical. ;-)

Wise words:

  • p21 Home is a place you can leave whenever you like, but they can't put you out.
  • p24 One of life's few really reliable pleasures: to have a family you love, and to leave them for a week.
  • p25 Children expect to eat when they're hungry; our job is to teach them to eat when there's food.
  • p27 Children lack morality, but they also lack fake morality.
  • p37 There are always a few people you do a lot for, and a few who so a lot for you, but they're not the same people.
  • p39 He who shows you his weakness today will show you his brutality tomorrow.
  • p39 Women gather together to wear silly hats, eat dainty food, and forget how unresponsive their husbands are. Men gather to talk sports, eat heavy food, and forget how demanding their wives are. Only where children gather is there any real chance of fun.
  • p44 If you can tell anyone about it, it's not the worst thing you ever did.
  • p56 There are now electrical appliances with the main unit so sealed in that it cannot be got at for repair. There have always been humans beings like that.
  • p57 If it came true, it wan't much of a dream.
  • p57 We are seldom happy with what we now have, but would go to pieces if we lost any part of it.
  • p58 Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent.
  • p58 We all have a pretty clear understanding of goodness, but it seldom applies to the situation we're in at the moment.
  • p58 We hear only half of what is said to us, understand only half of that, believe only half of that, and remember only half of that.
  • p59 In life, as in restaurant, we swallow a lot of indigestible stuff just because it comes with the dinner.
  • p60 The three horrors of modern life - talk without meaning, desire without love, work without satisfaction.
  • p61 Many of us go through life feeling as an actor might feel who does not like his part, and does not believe in the play.
  • p62 What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.
  • p62 It is romantic to expect that things will get better, cynical to suppose that they will not, bestial not to care.
  • p63 Our friends are seldom capable of telling us any profound truths about ourselves, ant if they were, we would not be capable of listening.
  • p64 We are always apologizing to some of our friends for some of our other friends.
  • p64 We waste a lot of time running after people we could have caught by just standing still.
  • p66 It's important to our friends to believe that we are unreservedly frank with them, and important to the friendship that we are not.
  • p67 The people you admire most you usually don't know very well.
  • p68 When we meet someone who truly sees good in everyone, it is hard to believe that he knows the same people we do.
  • p68 If you know of wounding thing to say, sooner or later you'll say them.
  • p70 It takes so little to start a cult: just a man who can't stop talking.
  • p72 Every society honours its live conformists, and dead troublemakers.
  • p72 Psychiatrists are terrible ads for themselves, like dermatologist with acne.
  • p75 A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote.
  • p76 No matter how brilliantly an idea is stated, we will not really be moved unless we have already half-thought of it ourselves.
  • p78 God and the devil lose to a common enemy: inertia.
  • p79 Despair is anger with no place to go.
  • p80 The death of someone we know always reminds us that we are still alive - perhaps for some purpose which we ought to re-examine.
  • p82 We'd all like a reputation for generosity, and we'd like to buy it cheap.
  • p83 If insulation is what you're after, get rich quick.
  • p84 Happiness is like the penny candy of our youth: we got a lot more for our money back when we had no money.
  • p84 An artist is a socially unattractive person whom socially attractive people make money out of.
  • p85 Plan for masochists: Pay now, live later.
  • p86 Young lovers and young nations face the same problem: after orgasm, what?
  • p88 In youth we are plagued by desire; in later years, by the desire to feel desire.
  • p88 When I was a child, nobody died; but now it happens all the time.
  • p89 Don't fool yourself that important things can be put off till tomorrow; they can be put off forever, or not at all.
  • p89 As the twig is bent, the tree won't grow.
  • p92 Being the youngest always seems such fun, except to the one who is.
  • p93 The past is rich in lessons from which we would greatly profit except that the present is always so full of Special Circumstances.
  • p94 Age is a slowing down of everything except fear.
  • p95 How strange that the young should always think the world is against them - when in fact that is the only time it is for them.
  • p96 What you were sure of yesterday, you know now to be false, but what you are sure of today is absolutely true.
  • p96 The past is strapped to our backs. We do not have to see it; we can always feel it.
  • p102 People often say they love each other when they really don't, but it's strange how often just saying it makes it come true.
  • p105 In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.
  • p107 We can all do without love, but not much.
  • p110 Love unlocks doors and opens windows that weren't even there before.
  • p112 If your child doesn't think you're wonderful, you certainly aren't.
  • p115 We don't mind our children having different virtues from ours, but it seems disloyal of them to have different faults.
  • p116 If your children spend most of their time in other people's houses, you're lucky; if they all congregate at your house, you're blessed.
  • p117 The ideal home: big enough for you to hear the children, but not very well.
  • p118 Trust a woman, and not a man, in casual moments; a man, and not a woman, in crucial ones. For that's when each tends to tell the truth.
  • p119 No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you'll see why.
  • p128 Hate leaves ugly scars, love leaves beautiful ones.
  • p130 Forget about calories - *everything* makes thin people thinner, and fat people fatter.
  • p131 Don't be yourself - be someone a little nicer.
  • p135 A sense of humor is a major defence against minor troubles.
  • p135 Charm makes everyone feel wonderful except, often, its possessor.
  • p141 Good food, good sex, good digestion, good sleep: to these basic animal pleasures, man has added nothing but the good cigarette.
  • p147 The time we can often do something wonderful is when we are suppose to be doing something else.
  • p148 Most of us would rather risk catastrophe than read the directions.
  • p150 If people find your silences interesting, don't disillusion them.
  • p151 Anybody can sit and talk all night, but it takes iron discipline to listen for fifteen minutes.
  • p153 Surrounded by people who love life, you love it too; surrounded by people who don't, you don't.
  • p153 It's easier to part with a friend than an opinion.
  • p153 To talk easily with people, you must firmly believe that either you or they are interesting. And even then it's not easy.
  • p156 Every now and then you run across radiantly attractive people, and you're delighted to find they adore you, till you realize that they adore just about everybody - and that's what's made them radiantly attractive.
  • p161 When a nation has been defeated and loses its pride, a leader always springs up who restores it, in psychopathic doses.
  • p161 There's only one person who needs a glass of water oftener than a small child tucked in for the night, and that's a writer sitting down to write.
  • p162 Creative people usually head for the big cities: more than the theatres, museums or libraries, they need each other.
  • p164 When threatened, the first thing a democracy gives up is democracy.
  • p165 It took man thousands of years to put word down on paper, and his lawyers still wish he wouldn't.
  • p166 I dare to drink the water when there is reason to doubt, yet cannot make the same concession to God.
  • p167 My religious position: I think that God could do a lot better, and I'm willing to give Him the chance.
  • p167 Never is a long, long word, but it's less frustrating than "God knows when."
  • p169 Basis for a workable religion: when you have nothing better to do, do something for someone else.
  • p169 The young do not need God, and the old cannot find Him.
  • p170 "Your money, or your life." We know what to do when a burglar makes this demand of us, but not when God does.
  • p170 Don't look for God where He is needed most; if you didn't bring Him there, He isn't there.
  • p173 Money is much more exciting than anything it buys.
  • p173 There are a handful of people whom money won't spoil, and we all count ourselves among them.
  • p176 I wish I'd said it first, and I don't even know who did: The only problem that money can solve are money problems.
  • p178 Anything you lose automatically doubles in value.
  • p179 There are so many things that we wish we had done yesterday, so few that we feel like doing today.
  • p179 The two main hazards of psychoanalysis: that it might fail, and that if it suceeds, you'll never be able to forgive yourself for all those wasted years.
  • p180 Vengefulness is self-pity's first cousin, loneliness its favorite climate, whisky its best friend.
  • p180 The young quickly learn to love and be loved, to betray and be betrayed. The only further lesson maturity can teach them is how to keep from paying too high a price.
  • p182 When the salt has lost its savor, pepper makes a poor substitute.
  • p182 After twenty, we demand more of love, but not with any practical hope of receiving it.
  • p183 In months, not years, the mask becomes the face.
  • p183 Your life is made up of years that mean nothing, moments that mean all.
  • p184 There are people who get everything done, and people who get nothing done, and hardly anyone in between.
  • p185 Loneliness, insomnia, and change: the fear of these is even worse than the reality.
  • p187 Fine feathers make fine birds, until it comes time to fly.
  • p187 The human comedy can keep amusing you, but only if you keep your distance.
  • p188 It's the most unhappy people who most fear change.
  • p188 People determined to hide their feelings are usually nonstop talkers.
  • p190 If only we could be old and sick while we're still young and healthy enough to put up with it!
  • p191 Epitaph for the human race: We've been terrible, but dear God how we've paid for it.

Women wise words:

  • p33 Nymphomaniac: woman as obsessed with sex as an average man.
  • p33 Women do not live longer then men; they only exist longer.
  • p100 Every wife who doesn't much love her husband considers it his fault.
  • p100 Love is to man an embarrassment, even the word; it is to woman an excuse for existence, especially the word.
  • p101 If you see right through him, it's because you do not want him.
  • p101 When a husband and wife agree all the time, he's henpecked.
  • p102 Love requires a willingness to die; marriage, a willingness to live.
  • p103 When a man stops being in love with you, it's no consolation to remind yourself that you may not have been in love with him in the first place.
  • p103 Marriage is the refuge of the very lonely, and the very self-sufficient.
  • p105 Love is fact for women, fiction for men.
  • p105 A woman needs at least one man on whom to test her sense of power; he's the wrong man to marry, though.
  • p106 Women insist upon marriage and then hate it; men are dragged there and then love it.
  • p107 If marriage is your object, you'd better start loving your subject.
  • p108 What's for dinner?" is the only question many husbands ask their wives, and the only one which they care about the answer.
  • p108 No wife can forgive her husband for saying angry things to her and then placidly going to sleep.
  • p109 A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
  • p109 A husband only worries about a particular Other Man; a wife distrusts her whole species.
  • p111 It's easy enough to get along with a loved and loving child - at least till you try to get him to do something.
  • p115 A marriage without children is like a Chinese dinner without rice: the flavor may be there, but not the substance.
  • p118 Men are convinced that women have it easy, but they haven't convinced many women.
  • p126 There are three kind of women: those who enjoy losing to a man, those who enjoy losing to a woman, and those who just enjoy losing.
  • p128 Ask a woman how she feels, and she tells you. Ask a lady, and she says, "Fine, thank, you."
  • p132 As every woman knows, laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and some man will comfort you.
  • p187 I have an understanding with my husband: on any day when I haven't done any writing, I must play him three games of chess. The trouble is, if I have been working, I enjoy the chess; if not, all I want to play is Russian roulette.

Neurotic thoughts:

  • p29 No good neurotic finds it difficult to be both opinionated and indecisive.
  • p41 The neurotic has perfect vision in one eye, but he cannot remember which.
  • p45 Reason tells us that money will not buy happiness; passion says it will. Reason tells us virtue is it's own reward; passion demands more. Reason tells us passion will be our undoing; passion replies that reason is cold and dead. Both seem to speak truth, so we listen to both, and remain neurotic.
  • p51 The neurotic wants to be alone - but he wants to be alone with someone else.
  • p60 As we are human, we can't do what we can't do; as we're neurotic, we can't do what we can.
  • p94 We sometimes feel that we have been really understood, but it was always long ago, by someone now dead.
  • p95 We all spend our lives in solitary confinement, but the neurotic believes he's the only one.
  • p130 Neurotics dream of a good life, or a great suicide note.
  • p135 Without sex, alcohol, sleeping pills, you are always with yourself.
  • p138 It's terrifying to see someone inside of whom a vital spring seems to have broken. It's particularly terrifying to see him in your mirror.
  • p139 Of course no one is so sensitive as you, but try to remember they think they are.
  • p140 When we say "If I don't do it, someone else will," we mean, of course, some other son of a bitch.
  • p141 If I knew what I was so anxious about, I wouldn't be so anxious.
  • p142 Your best work always seems to have been done by someone else.
  • p142 The way the neurotic sees it: bars on his door mean that he's locked in; bars on your door mean that he's locked out.
  • p142 Love gives no warning and no quarter; it is sneaky and cruel; if we weren't so lonely, we'd never put up with it.
  • p146 Neurotics chase after people and jobs they don't really want, just to prove that they're like everybody else - which is the last thing they really want.
  • p147 When you're nervous it makes you cranky, and when, you're cranky it makes people hostile, and when people are hostile it makes you nervous.
  • p150 No matter how many times you change jobs or mates or neighbourhoods, there's always someone in your life you can't get along with.
  • p151 Few of us could bear to have ourselves for neighbours.
  • p152 The neurotic always wishes people would let him alone - until they do.
  • p159 Neurotics make poor patriots; if you're ashamed of something as big as yourself, it's hard to be proud of something as small as your country.
  • p166 Neurotics are afraid to pray: God might be listening.
  • p169 The neurotic believes that life has meaning, but that his life hasn't.
  • p176 Neurotics look on sex and money as just two more weapons.
  • p177 Too much money is as demoralizing as too little, and there's no such thing as exactly enough.
  • p178 The habit of saving money is hard to acquire, and even harder to break.
  • p185 For neurotics, success is a five-minute wonder; failure, a five-year plan.
  • p188 The neurotics boat keeps drifting farther and farther out to sea, and people keep asking him why he's so nervous.
  • p189 Neurotics expect you to remember all the things that they tell you, and many that they don't.

Cynicisms:

  • p9 No one has ever loved anyone the way everyone wants to be loved.
  • p13 When desire has been satisfied, we can begin to think seriously about love.
  • p19 The hardest-learned lesson: that people have only their kind of love to give, not our kind.
  • p42 The moment we're born they try to make us cry, and it sometimes seems as though they never stop.
  • p47 From time to time we encounter people of a cheerful, kindly, envious nature. They usually run elevators.
  • p48 We long for self-confidence, till we look at the people who have it.
  • p51 Pessimism is as silly as optimism, but less destructive.
  • p52 We often pray to be better, when in truth we only want to feel better.
  • p54 We listen only to those who flatter, amuse, or comfort us, and you know that's not many people.
  • p63 Every group feels strong once it has found a scapegoat.
  • p63 We are keenly aware of the faults of our friends, but if they like us enough it doesn't matter.
  • p76 We have to call it "freedom": who'd want to die for "a lesser tyranny"?
  • p77 I believe that of all the people in the world, only a certain tiny percentage is truly good; and I also believe that this percentage has remained mysteriously constant since the beginning of man.
  • p77 So long as God reveals Himself, or doesn't, He is behaving like God.
  • p114 Our children seem to have wonderful taste, or none - depending, of course, on whether or not they agree with us.
  • p133 A cynic is one who believes it matters not whether you win, nor how you play the game.
  • p133 People will disapprove of you if you're unhappy, or if you're happy in The Wrong Way.
  • p136 Other people's truth may comfort us, but only our own persuades us.
  • p140 The next voice you hear will undoubtedly be your own.
  • p143 Youth is not enough. And love is not enough. And success is not enough. And, if we could achieve it, enough would not be enough.
  • p145 With each passing year, one has less to say, and knows better how to say it.
  • p149 The time to begin most things is ten years ago.
  • p160 Peace and Prosperity make nice campaign slogans. And who knows? They might even work some day, on some other planet.
  • p174 Be glad that you're greedy; the national economy would collapse if you weren't.
  • p174 We're all born brave, trusting, and greedy, and most of us remain greedy.
  • p186 Every human being is born wanting to do his best, at least until he tries it a few times and gets slapped down.

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