Dirty Havana Trilogy Quotes

Awhile back, I did a Google search for Dirty Havana Trilogy quotes and I found very few quotes. So here it is, for all the Pedro Juan Gutierrez fans around the globe. If one of your favorites is not on here please leave a comment.

Chapter 1.1

“Now I was training myself to take nothing seriously. A man’s allowed to make lots of small mistakes, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if the mistakes are big ones and they weigh him down, his only solution is to stop taking himself seriously. It’s the only way to avoid suffering—suffering, prolonged, can be fatal. I stuck the postcard up behind the door, put on a tape of Armstrong’s “Snake Rag,” felt much better, and stopped thinking.”-PJG

Music from Ch.1.1, song,Snake Rag.

“Sex isn’t for the squeamish. Sex is an exchange of fluids. Saliva, breath and smells, urine, semen, shit, sweat, microbes, bacteria. Or there is no sex. If it’s just tenderness and ethereal spirituality, then it can never be more than a sterile parody of the real act. Nothing.”-PJG

Ch. 1.2
“If you have ideas of your own-even only a few-you have to realize that you’ll always be coming up against detractors, people who’ll stand in your way, cut you down to size, “help you understand” that what your saying is nothing, or that you should avoid a certain person because he’s crazy, a fag, a traitor, a loser; somebody else might be a pervert and a voyeur, somebody else a thief; somebody else a santero, spiritist, druggie; somebody else trash, shameless, a slut, a dyke, rude. Those people reduce the world to a few hybrid types, colorless, boring, and “perfect”. And they want to turn you into a snob and a prick too. They swallow you up in their private society, a society for ignoring and suppressing everyone else. And they tell you, “That’s life, my friend, a process of natural selection. The truth is ours, and everyone else can go fuck themselves.” And if they spend thirty-five years hammering that into your skull, later, when you’re on your own, you think you’re better than everybody else and you’re impoverished and you miss out on the joy of variety, when variety is the spice of life, the acceptance that we’re not all alike and that if we were, life would be very dull.”-PJG

Ch.1.5
“In fact, wanting a thing is all that really matters, when you want something badly enough, you’re already halfway there.”-PJG

“At the age of forty, there’s still time to abandon routines, fruitless and boring worries, and find another way to live. It’s just that hardly anybody dares. It’s safer to stick to your rut until the bitter end.”-PJG

Ch.1.6
“I found one of Pedro Joan’s notebooks lying around. He had been reading lots of books all at once. The notebook was full of quotes, copied from Hernan Hesse, Garcia Marquez, Grace Paley, Saint-Exupery, Charles Bukowski and Thor Heyerdahl. A good mix. That combination, plus rock, will keep a fifteen-year-old boy in a state of constant tornment, and he’ll never be bored. Which is good, I say. The important thing is to not be bored.”-PJG

Ch. 1.8
“The truth is, I have no interest in any kind of straight and narrow life, no interest in anything that moves smoothly from one point to the next, tracing a route that clearly begins in one place and ends somewhere else. No. There’s no use trying to be sound and practical or to live along a precisely plotted path. Life is a game of chance.”-PJG

Ch. 1.9
“But the flesh is weak. At least mine is weak, and sinful. And I suppose it’s the same for everyone when it comes to flesh, but it bothers people to realize it, and so they’ve come up with the concepts of decency and indecency. Except that nobody knows where the boundary is between decent people and indecent ones.”-Pedro Juan Gutierrez

Ch.1.10
“In those days, I was pursued by nostalgia. I always had been, and I didn’t know how to free myself so I could live in peace. I still haven’t learned. And I suspect I never will. But at least I do know something worth while now: it’s impossible to free myself from nostalgia because it’s impossible to be freed from memory. It’s impossible to be freed from what you have loved.
All of that will always be a part of you. The yearning to relive the good will always be just as strong as the yearning to forget and destroy memories of the bad, erase the evil you’ve done, obliterate the memory of people who’ve harmed you, eliminate your disappointments and your times of happiness.
It’s entirely human, then, to be engulfed in nostalgia and the only solution is to learn to live with it. Maybe, if we’re lucky, nostalgia can be transformed from something sad and depressing into the arms of a new lover, a new city, a new era, which, no matter whether it’s better or worse, will be different. And that’s all we ask each day; not to squander our lives in loneliness, to find someone, to lose ourselves a little, to escape routine, to enjoy our piece of the party.”-PJG

“In the end life is crazy. It takes many unexpected turns.”-PJG

Ch.1.12
“I hope I make it to eighty three with a dream or two intact, even if it’s the foolish dream of finding myself a girlfriend and getting married, believing that love is possible and that poverty and hunger will soon be things of the past.”-PJG

Ch.1.15

“I write to jar people a little and force others to wake up and smell the shit. You’ve got to get your shouts to the ground and smell the shit. That’s how I terrorize cowards and mess with the people who like to muzzle those of us who speak up. I couldn’t keep quiet any longer, writing stupid little things in exchange for a few words of praise. The rules of the game were too strict. You could only say “yes”. And it wasn’t worth it. I said to hell with it all, and I wrote some naked stories. My stories could run bare-assed out the middle of the street shouting, “Freedom, freedom, freedom.””-PJG

Ch.1.16
“I can barely deal with my own problems, so tell me why I should get myself mixed up with politicians, who are sons of bitches and in the end just do whatever their dicks tell them to do. It’s the same no matter where you are. Politics is the art of the scam.”-PJG

Ch.1.17
“Every monkey has his hour, someday you’ll publish your stories. Keep up the good fight.”-Jose Montalvo (PJG)

“That’s how it goes. Like a pendulum. Back and forth. Sometimes I read from years ago, and I feel that the past has come back to haunt me: I’m lonelier now. Little by little, we all get lonelier. All the women I’ve loved I’ve left behind. The places I was happy. Children move on. All my friends. Everything I once had and is now lost. Things I wanted to preserve but tossed overboard instead. And I catch myself writing as if the end is near. And God won’t help me cleanse my soul and accept everything as it is.”-PJG

Ch.1.18
“Art only matters if it’s irreverent, tormented, full of nightmares and desperation. Only an angry, obscene, violent, offensive art can show us the other side of the world, the side we never see or try not to see as to avoid troubling our consciences.”-PJG

Ch.1.21
“Death has no meaning when you’re young. It’s too far away.”-PJG

Ch.1.22
“To hell with schedules, bosses, and power trips. Anybody with half a brain can make good money.”-PJG

“Sometimes, almost always, in fact, it’s best to let yourself be guided by instinct and not think. Planning screws up a lot of things in life.”-PJG

Ch.2.1
“Doctors are good diplomats. They never reveal their ignorance or admit it when they make mistakes. At least, their mistakes they cover up, and ignorance can always be disguised.”-PJG

Ch.2.2
Oh, don’t worry, everybody’s afraid. Fear springs up before anything else. You’ve got to forget it. Forget your fear. Pretend it doesn’t exist, and live your life.”-PJG

Ch.2.10
“I was like a bat in the moonlight, under a beautiful moon, the night sky clear and blue. The sea was barely moving, and the malecon was quiet, almost empty. I was in ecstasy, suspended in space, thinking of nothing. It’s glorious to hover in the air, by the sea, a cool June breeze blowing, silence all around. It’s then a person thinks of nothing. Me and myself, united. It was like a miracle in the middle of storms and shipwrecks. A miracle inside of me.-PJG

Ch.2.13
“All we need is true love, and a little soul and religion and philosophy. But that requires time and silence and reflection. Which means we lose ourselves moving too fast, surrounded by too much noise. The noise gets inside us and we act impulsively, without stopping to think.-PJG

Ch.2.14
“Sitting on a bench, I looked at the stained glass windows, and of course, the Gregorian chants swelled so strongly that I couldn’t understand why no one else heard them. They boomed so loudly inside me that I was sure everyone must be able to hear. But no. No one did. Nothing else happened. I was too giddy to hear. Either I had nothing to wish for or I couldn’t pray and give thanks. I never ask God for anything. I just thank him.-PJG
Gregorian Chant Monks of Silos

Ch.2.16
“I came out of a tiny theater on Industria, behind the capitol, where they show old movies like “The Bridge on the River Kwai”, I whistled the marching tune for a long time, walking and whistling. When that movie came out, I was seven years old. Forty years have gone by, and I’m still whistling the same thing.”-PJG
The River Kwai March tune

Ch.2.18
“I like people like that, strong people. Soft people are always whining and crying. It’s the weaklings who think each day is their last. Really, it’s the opposite that’s true: everyday is a new beginning.”-PJG

Part III
“Man is not made for defeat…A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”-Ernest Hemingway “The Old Man and the Sea”

Ch.3.4
“I was waiting. Waiting for what? For nothing. Just waiting. Everybody’s always waiting, day after day. Nobody knows what they’re waiting for. Time passes, and your brain goes numb, which is a good thing. When you don’t want to think, it helps if you brain is numb.”-PJG

“A huge white three-masted luxury yacht-Le Posant- was drifting in the gold and orange afternoon light, waiting for the pilot boat to usher it into port. There must have been at least fifty hotshots on board. I guess it is worth having money, and not just the bare minimum. You need enough left over so you can step on board a yacht like that and sail around the Caribbean swigging the best bourbon, chomping on almonds, a skinny chick with big tits by your side. Beautiful. That way you never have to know the people on shore are living like cockroaches. From a yacht, all you can see are palm trees, golden sunsets, and beautiful beaches lapped by turquoise-blue waves. Once you and your money are on board, you forget about all the dirty tricks you’ve had to play and the people you’ve had to crush and bully to keep your pockets full. That’s the way it is. The more money you have, the more you make, and the poorer you are, the poorer you get.”-PJG

Ch.3.9
“I didn’t have anything to do. What’s more, I had no idea what to do the next day, next month, next year, or next century. Maybe not knowing is the best way to keep from worrying or sinking into despair. You don’t know how you’ll survive, but it doesn’t matter. You live like a kite blowing in the wind, and you feel all right. But then sometimes there isn’t even any wind.”-PJG

“Why go looking for trouble when there’s already plenty to go around?”-PJG

Ch.3.11
“When you’re single in the jungle, you’ve got to be constantly on the prowl, every single day. A man doesn’t need much: a little money, food, some rum, a few cigars, a woman.”-PJG

Ch.3.15
Greta Garbo in “Mata Hari”

Ch.3.17
“Life should be governed by two basic laws. The first: every human being has the right to do whatever he wants. And the second: nobody is required to obey the first law.”-PJG

Ch.3.19
An interview with Frank Lloyd Wright: “How long will we last if we are stripped of our poetic principles? How long can a civilization last without a soul? Science can’t save us: it has led us to the edge of the abyss. It will have to be art and religion, which house the soul of civilization.”-PJG

Ch.3.20
“You have to live in the present. Yesterday’s past, and tomorrow’s hasn’t come yet.”-PJG

“People weren’t to be trusted. If you give them and inch, they’d take a mile.”-PJG

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