quotes from the book and other items of interest
Roman Payne is interviewed by Literature Weekly Magazine
Selected Quotes from the Novel...
“Mine was the twilight and the morning. Mine was a world of rooftops and love songs."
- from the 1st Soliloquy
I’m staying here in Paris, ‘in the polis,’ where I’ll squander my health and my sanity. Morning after morning, waking up in a bachelor’s mansard, washing my face in a basin while the fat boulangères open their bread shops down on the street below, the plump pigeons coo and mate in the planters, weaving nests with poppy stems and panty straps and other relics of last night’s feasts. I’ll squander the final rays of youth rolling in the flesh of passion, and the sun will eventually set, casting shade over my soul. But rich will be my life if I can keep my memories full and brimming, and record them on clear-eyed mornings while I set joyously to work setting pen to holy craft."
- from the 17th Soliloquy
“My work will flourish as the days grow cold. Let Autumn wipe her moist glove on my cheek, for I will subdue her with the heroic work that will soon gush from my mighty and inexhaustible pen!"
- from the 2nd Soliloquy
[Author's Note] "Finished with my hero’s Tale, I see the square filling up with tender-throated girls and I agree to run down and celebrate. I drink fine liquers, red-carbonated waters from Swiss springs infused with rice liquors infused with desert spices. I kiss some sweet girls and then something inspires me to run back up to my room and start my next work: a tragedy. I get suddenly angry at the people in the square but I feel myself victorious that they are not able to wrestle me away from my desk. The music grows louder but I am not tempted. I tell of the tragedy of P-- dying. Good story. When I wake up my head is stuffed in a pile of papers."
- From Payne's notes for the novel (unpublished)
“Go, you two! Lie on your holy bed. The moon is vast and steady tonight, and it will bathe you in its light. Everything here is beautiful. Take the key, I am going now. Be still.”
- from the 20th Soliloquy
“Then there was bald-headed August who knew nothing of travel, having never left Paris city-limits. His ambitions were few but his virtues were many. He loved people and delighted in hearing wild stories told. His mother had opened the Bone Shop during the Second World War to sell fortunes to credulous people, along with tarot cards, animal skeletons, loose semi-precious stones, silver and copper in many forms, dyes and powders, crushed insects legs and wings to make magic potions, as well as healing herbs. She performed mystic curiosities and became a well-known clairvoyante in her time. People gathered in the Bone Shop at night to ask her to read their palms and grant them passionate love and eternal life. When she herself died of old age and a weak heart, August took over the shop. He, however, performed no rites, having little interest in the occult. He simply sold the jewels and silver lockets and other curiosities to denizens of the quarter and tourists alike. When he met the young Pavel, the two became great friends and the one offered the other a place to live in exchange for work. The loft upstairs where they slept was very small: having only a medium-sized bed for August, a tiny cot for Pavel, as well as a table and four chairs. ”
- from the 13th Soliloquy
rooftop soliloquy by roman payne
"From all that I saw,
And everywhere I wandered,
I learned that time cannot be spent
It only can be squandered."

- from the 8th Soliloquy
“What an assortment of crockery that was! Forsake Parisian society? And for a Cuban fishing village of all things?! No, my good sir, that won’t do at all. There is 'no world without Paris walls'—as the old saying goes. No, they’d have exile me again to leave this land for good. And then it’d be off to Patagonia ... or Phuket! Hey what is this here on the sidewalk? A silver bracelet? Oh, no it’s nothing. I thought it was a silver bracelet but it’s just a bit of cord…"
- from the notes for the novel (unpublished)
"After joyfully working each morning, I would leave off around midday to challenge myself to a footrace. Speeding along the sunny paths of the Jardin du Luxembourg, ideas would breed like aphids in my head—for creative invention is easy and sublime when air cycles quickly through the lungs and the body is busy at noble tasks."
- from the 19th Soliloquy
"And with that she was off, leaving me in the doorway with a stack of mail and a heart shivering with relief. “I’m saved! I can finish my hero’s tale, after all! [...] The envelopes were uninteresting. Some commercial offers. A discount on Marie’s Provincial Tartines at the local grocery. One crisp envelope informed me that the city was experiencing an abundance of stylish neckties at all-time low prices. I tossed these aside and started opening the package. Pretty was the paper—and scented too!"
- from the 20th Soliloquy
"Autumn, that wild season when rural men rack orchard trees with sticks and weep with the desire to kiss faraway Demeter’s supple breasts, to set lips to her travel-swollen eyes. They seek goddesses, but I desired only Anne."
- from the 11th Soliloquy
Photo of Roman Payne and Literary Quote
"It’s not that we have to quit this life one day, but it’s how many things we have to quit all at once: music and laughter, the physics of falling leaves, coffee, holding hands, automobiles, vanilla and poppies, rain, the concept of subway trains... if only one could leave this life slowly!"
- from the notes for the novel (unpublished)
"‘Rest in Peace?’ Why that phrase? That’s the most ridiculous phrase I’ve ever heard! You die, and they say ‘Rest in Peace!’ …Why would one need to ‘rest’ when they’re dead?! I spent thousands of years of world history resting. While Agamemnon was leading his ships to Troy, I was resting. While Ovid was seducing women at the chariot races, I was resting. While Jeanne d’Arc was hallucinating, I was resting. I wait until airplanes are scuttling across the sky to burst out onto the scene, and I’m only going to be here for a short while, so when I die, I certainly won’t need to rest again! Not while more adventures of the same kind are going on…"
- from the 13th Soliloquy
“Once the monk Ascidas had left the room, the young man locked the door and led his twice-wedded bride to the bed and lay her down on the mattress and cupped her knees in his hands and kissed her. Their bodies were washed in moonlight as they made love together for the first time. It was beautiful and it was holy and they prayed upon each other’s firm and sweaty bodies and though the bodies were beautiful alters of flesh."
- from the 20th Soliloquy
"Fueled by my inspiration, I ran across the room to steal the cup of coffee the bookshelf had taken prisoner. Lapping the black watery brew like a hyena, I tossed the empty cup aside. I then returned to the chair to continue my divine act of creation. Hot blood swished in my head as my mighty pen stole across the page…"
- from the 19th Soliloquy
“I was surrounded by friends, my work was immense, and pleasures were abundant. Life, now, was unfolding before me, constantly and visibly, like the flowers of summer that drop fanlike petals on eternal soil. Overall, I was happiest to be alone; for it was then I was most aware of what I possessed. Free to look out over the rooftops of the city. Happy to be alone in the company of friends, the company of lovers and strangers. Everything, I decided, in this life, was pure pleasure."
- from the 2nd Soliloquy
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