So peaceful, the streets; so tranquil, so orderly; yet underneath the deceptively placid surfaces, a tremor, like that near a high-voltage power line. We’re stretched thin, all of us; we vibrate; we quiver, we’re always on the alert. Reign of terror, they used to say, but terror does not exactly reign. Instead it paralyzes. Hence the unnatural quiet. –Margaret Atwood, The Testaments

Being that afraid means that you’re exploring something new. It’s kind of charting these waters right outside the edge of yourself. –Swoon, quoted in Molly Simms’s “Out of Bounds,” in the December 2013/January 2014 issue of Bust

... her terror was a wordless thing that existed below the level of conscious thought, below the level of language. –Joe Hill, NOS4A2

You didn’t think of those things at six. You only thought about how fear could be split down the middle like an orange, so both of you could eat half. –Kristen Simmons, Breaking Point

Maybe I was a coward? The thought was too awful to contemplate. As bad was the possibility that my nerve had broken like a bit of dry wood and would never be there again. –Anthony Loyd, My War Gone By, I Miss It So

Learn that every day will be different; some days you can be “brave,” and some days you cannot. Don’t punish yourself with it, it’s okay. It’s normal. –ditto

Fear had become a real person standing too close and pressing against her, hard and crude, daring her to cry out in panic. –Susan Elia MacNeal, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary

Fears are very needy. They cluster around us like blowing dirt. Fears need your energy and attention. Without it, fear cannot survive. –Sark, Living Juicy: Daily Morsels for Your Creative Soul

Fear envelopes bones like new skin,
envelopes blood with night’s skin,
the earth moves beneath the soles of the feet—
it is not your hair but the terror in your head,
like long hair made of vertical nails,
and what you see are not shattered streets,
but rather, within you, your own crushed walls,
your frustrated infinity …
–Pablo Neruda, “Cataclysm, Part X”

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom. –Bertrand Russell, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish

… terror is its own sort of drug. Terror is hot, liquid; it washes up every limb. Small specks, like the big bang, and then the universe formed. That’s terror. –Lauren Slater, “When Love Doesn’t Come Easily”

Real terror was not when you had walked into danger and used adrenaline to save yourself as best you could; it was when you had been delivered into peril by those you loved. –Clare Boylan, Beloved Stranger

Terror works like a musical composition, so many instruments, all in tune, playing perfectly together to create their desired effect. Sorrow and horror and fear. –Nancy Gibbs, “If You Want to Humble an Empire...”

But we always lived in terror, we know how to live in terror, it’s our natural habitat. In this our people have no peers. –an anonymous source quoted in Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices From Chernobyl

And basically I found out that the frightening things in life happen quietly and naturally. –Zoya Danilovna Bruk, in Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices From Chernobyl

Terror ... often arises from a pervasive sense of dis-establishment; that things are in the unmaking. –Stephen King, Danse Macabre

Is an imaginable terror scarier than an unimaginable one? Not by a long shot. –Diane Ackerman, An Alchemy of Mind

We must travel in the direction of our fears. –John Berryman, “A Point of Age”

Courage takes many forms. There is physical courage, there is moral courage. Then there is a still higher type of courage—the courage to brave pain, to live with it, to never let others know of it and to still find joy in life; to wake up in the morning with an enthusiasm for the day ahead. –Howard Cosell, Like It Is

Fear tastes like a rusty knife and do not let her into your house. –John Cheever, The Wapshot Chronicle

Fear is a noose that binds until it strangles. –Jean Toomer, Definitions and Aphorisms

A coward has no scar. –Zimbabwean proverb

Maybe Courage is like Memory—a muscle that needs exercise to get strong. So I decided that maybe if I started in a small way, I could gradually work my way up to being brave like the others. –Geraldine McCaughrean, The White Darkness

You take a number of small steps which you believe are right, thinking maybe tomorrow somebody will treat this as a dangerous provocation. And then you wait. If there is no reaction, you take another step: courage is only an accumulation of small steps. –George Konrád, in the Sunday Correspondent, April 15, 1990 (he was talking about being a writer in Hungary during Communist rule)

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do. –Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn By Living

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Helen Keller, Let Us Have Faith

One man with courage makes a majority. –Andrew Jackson, attributed in the Washington Post, February 7, 1964

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. –Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. –Nelson Mandela

Remember how easy it was, being afraid? You look back and yearn for the distance of terror, how aesthetic fear was. These fluttering hands now press hard fingerprints onto a freezing face, and suddenly you know why it moves, why you feel it so well. It is yours. –William Stafford

Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. –Rainer Maria Rilke

He suddenly found that fear, too, must be cultivated slowly in a human being—at least the kind of fear that can be sensed with the whole body, that lurks in the brain like a compressed spring, dictating every thought and giving to every move a strange direction, which conscious effort cannot always control. –Arved Viirlaid, Graves Without Crosses

We think there are limits to the dimensions of fear. Until we encounter the unknown. Then we can all feel boundless amounts of terror. –Peter Høeg, Smilla’s Sense of Snow

To build up a solid panic takes a fraction of a second. Getting rid of it can take half an evening. –ditto

The thing most feared in secret always happens. –Cesare Pavese, in his journal

All the world is a very narrow bridge. The most important thing is not to be afraid. –Hebrew song

Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow. –Dan Rather

Live bravely in the hurt of light. –C.H.R.

To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another. –Katherine Paterson

They will not smell my fear, my fear, my fear. –Sylvia Plath, “The Bee Meeting”

Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. –Marie Curie

There would be no one to frighten you if you refused to be afraid. –Mohandas K. Gandhi

Often the test of courage is not to die but to live. –Vittorio Alfieri, Oreste

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear. –Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson

Fear has many eyes and can see things underground. –Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom. –Bertrand Russell, “An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish”

If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living. –Seneca, Epistles

... fear ... has been the source of all defects in human behavior throughout the ages. –Mahmoud Mohammed Taha

I feel the dread of this place overpowering me. I am in fear—in awful fear—and there is no escape for me; I am encompassed about with terrors that I dare not think of. –Bram Stoker, Dracula

There is only one thing that remains to us, that cannot be taken away: to act with courage and dignity and to stick to the ideals that have given meaning to life. –Jawaharlal Nehru

Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace. –Amelia Earhart, Courage

Without courage, you cannot practice any other virtue. You have to have courage—courage of different kinds: first, intellectual courage, to sort out different values and make up your mind about which is the one which is right for you to follow. You have to have moral courage to stick up to that—no matter what comes in your way, no matter what the obstacle and the opposition is. Opposition comes not only from your enemies but sometimes from your friends, and the latter is much more difficult to face. You have to have physical courage, because very often going along the path of your choice is full of physical hardships. –Indira Gandhi

The brave don’t live forever, but the cautious don’t live at all. –Timothy Luce

Fear has its use, but cowardice has none. –Mahatma Gandhi

For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me. And what I dreaded has happened to me, I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes. –Job 3:25,26

Though in many of its aspects this visible world seems formed in love, the invisible spheres were formed in fright. –Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” –Mary Anne Radmacher-Hershey

It takes more courage to suffer than it does to die. –Napoleon Bonaparte

There is a fear hangin’ in the air of sleeping halls, and in the air of empty streets. Fear walks through the city, fear without name, fear without shape. All men feel it and none dare to speak it. –Ayn Rand, LXIX

Remember the high board at the swimming pool? After days of looking up at it you finally climbed the wet steps to the platform. From there, it was high[er] than ever. There were only two ways down: the steps to defeat or the dive to victory. You stood on the edge, shivering in the hot sun, deathly afraid. At last you leaned too far forward; it was too late for retreat, and you dived. The high board was conquered, and you spent the rest of the day diving. Climbing a thousand high boards, we demolish fear and turn into human beings. –Richard Bach, A Gift of Wings

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. –HP Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature

Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile initially scared me to death. –Betty Bender

Have a vision not clouded by fear. –Cherokee proverb

With higher intelligence comes an awareness of the complexity of the world, and from this awareness arises a sense of mystery, wonder. Superstition is the dark side of wonder. Creatures with simple animal intelligence fear only real things, such as their natural predators. But those of us who have higher cognitive abilities are able to torture ourselves with an infinite menagerie of imaginary threats: ghosts and goblins and vampires and brain-eating extraterrestrials. Worse, we find it difficult not to dwell on the most terrifying two words in any language, even in monkey talk: what if … –Dean Koontz, Seize the Night

Sick with a fear that had no form … –Edwin Arlington Robinson

I feel that the period will sooner or later arrive when I must abandon life and reason together, in some struggle with the grim phantasm, FEAR. –Edgar Allan Poe, “The Fall of the House of Usher”

Clowns have not always scared me … as a matter of fact, as a child I used to think they were funny. I trusted them! Now that I’m all grown up and know the truth, if I was to see one in the distance, I would run and scream like a sissy. –Wavespy, on his evil clown website

… is there some catharsis unknown
to me, when what you fear will happen
happens and there’s nothing more to fear,
and one reaches that calm meadow where
the sacred few are allowed to rest
beyond the walled, polluted city
that cast them out?
–David Bergman, “In the Waiting Room”

The time has come to close your eyes
even how vast is the pain
for the only fear that confronts you
shall always be your own rain.
–Gary Shivers

Do not fear your enemies. The worse they can do is kill you. Do not fear friends. At worst, they may betray you. Fear those who do not care; they neither kill nor betray, but betrayal and murder exist because of their silent consent. –Bruno Jasienski (Yasensky)

Manliness consists not in bluff, bravado, or lordliness. It consists in daring to do the right and facing consequences, whether it is in matters social, political, or other. It consists in deeds, not in words. –Mahatma Gandhi

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. –Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love

The time when you need to do something is when no one else is willing to do it, when people are saying it can’t be done. –Mary Frances Berry