Quotes About Narrative

Quotes tagged as "narrative" (showing 1-30 of 150)
Douglas Adams
“There's always a moment when you start to fall out of love, whether it's with a person or an idea or a cause, even if it's one you only narrate to yourself years after the event: a tiny thing, a wrong word, a false note, which means that things can never be quite the same again.”
Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

Roger Zelazny
“No word matters. But man forgets reality and remembers words.”
Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light

Charlotte Eriksson
“The stars are brilliant at this time of night
and I wander these streets like a ritual I don’t dare to break
for darling, the times are quite glorious.

I left him by the water’s edge,
still waving long after the ship was gone
and if someone would have screamed my name I wouldn’t have heard for I’ve said goodbye so many times in my short life that farewells are a muscular task and I’ve taught them well.
There’s a place by the side of the railway near the lake where I grew up and I used to go there to burry things and start anew.
I used to go there to say goodbye.
I was young and did not know many people but I had hidden things inside that I never dared to show and in silence I tried to kill them,
one way or the other,
leaving sin on my body
scrubbing tears off with salt
and I built my rituals in farewells.
Endings I still cling to.

So I go to the ocean to say goodbye.

He left that morning, the last words still echoing in my head
and though he said he’d come back one day I know a broken promise from a right one
for I have used them myself and there is no coming back.
Minds like ours are can’t be tamed and the price for freedom is the price we pay.

I turned away from the ocean
as not to fall for its plea
for it used to seduce and consume me
and there was this one night
a few years back and I was not yet accustomed to farewells
and just like now I stood waving long after the ship was gone.
But I was younger then and easily fooled
and the ocean was deep and dark and blue
and I took my shoes off to let the water freeze my bones.
I waded until I could no longer walk and it was too cold to swim but still I kept on walking at the bottom of the sea for I could not tell the difference between the ocean and the lack of someone I loved and I had not yet learned how the task of moving on is as necessary as survival.

Then days passed by and I spent them with my work
and now I’m writing letters I will never dare to send.
But there is this one day every year or so
when the burden gets too heavy
and I collect my belongings I no longer need
and make my way to the ocean to burn and drown and start anew
and it is quite wonderful, setting fire to my chains and flames on written words
and I stand there, starring deep into the heat until they’re all gone.
Nothing left to hold me back.

You kissed me that morning as if you’d never done it before and never would again and now I write another letter that I will never dare to send, collecting memories of loss
like chains wrapped around my veins,
and if you see a fire from the shore tonight
it’s my chains going up in flames.

The time of moon i quite glorious.
We could have been so glorious.”
Charlotte Eriksson

Umberto Eco
“To read fiction means to play a game by which we give sense to the immensity of things that happened, are happening, or will happen in the actual world. By reading narrative, we escape the anxiety that attacks us when we try to say something true about the world. This is the consoling function of narrative — the reason people tell stories, and have told stories from the beginning of time.”
Umberto Eco, Six Walks in the Fictional Woods

J.R.R. Tolkien
“Human stories are practically always about one thing, really, aren't they? Death. The inevitability of death. . .
. . . (quoting an obituary) 'There is no such thing as a natural death. Nothing that ever happens to man is natural, since his presence calls the whole world into question. All men must die, but for every man his death is an accident, and even if he knows it he would sense to it an unjustifiable violation.' Well, you may agree with the words or not, but those are the key spring of The Lord Of The Rings”
J.R.R. Tolkien

Jeanette Winterson
“Truth for anyone is a very complex thing. For a writer, what you leave out says as much as those things you include. What lies beyond the margin of the text? The photographer frames the shot; writers frame their world. Mrs Winterson objected to what I had put in, but it seemed to me that what I had left out was the story’s silent twin. There are so many things that we can’t say, because they are too painful. We hope that the things we can say will soothe the rest, or appease it in some way. Stories are compensatory. The world is unfair, unjust, unknowable, out of control. When we tell a story we exercise control, but in such a way as to leave a gap, an opening. It is a version, but never the final one. And perhaps we hope that the silences will be heard by someone else, and the story can continue, can be retold. When we write we offer the silence as much as the story. Words are the part of silence that can be spoken. Mrs Winterson would have preferred it if I had been silent.

Do you remember the story of Philomel who is raped and then has her tongue ripped out by the rapist so that she can never tell? I believe in fiction and the power of stories because that way we speak in tongues. We are not silenced. All of us, when in deep trauma, find we hesitate, we stammer; there are long pauses in our speech. The thing is stuck. We get our language back through the language of others. We can turn to the poem. We can open the book. Somebody has been there for us and deep-dived the words. I needed words because unhappy families are conspiracies of silence. The one who breaks the silence is never forgiven. He or she has to learn to forgive him or herself.”
Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Isaac Babel
“A well-thought-out story doesn’t need to resemble real life. Life itself tries with all its might to resemble a well-crafted story.”
Isaac Babel

William Goldman
“The Princess Bride
S. Morgenstern's
Classic Tale of True Love
and High Adventure

You had to admire a guy who called his own new book a classic before it was published and anyone had a chance to read it.”
William Goldman, The Princess Bride

Vera Nazarian
“All stories have a curious and even dangerous power. They are manifestations of truth -- yours and mine. And truth is all at once the most wonderful yet terrifying thing in the world, which makes it nearly impossible to handle. It is such a great responsibility that it's best not to tell a story at all unless you know you can do it right. You must be very careful, or without knowing it you can change the world.”
Vera Nazarian, Dreams of the Compass Rose

Refaat Alareer
“Sometimes a homeland becomes a tale. We love the story because it is about our homeland and we love our homeland even more because of the story.”
Refaat Alareer, Gaza Writes Back

“The history of Science is not a mere record of isolated discoveries; it is a narrative of the conflict of two contending powers, the expansive force of the human intellect on one side, and the compression arising from traditionary faith and human interests on the other.”
John William Draper, History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science

Jeffrey Eugenides
“Reading a novel after reading semiotic theory was like jogging empty-handed after jogging with hand weights. What exquisite guilt she felt, wickedly enjoying narrative! Madeleine felt safe with a nineteenth century novel. There were going to be people in it. Something was going to happen to them in a place resembling the world. Then too there were lots of weddings in Wharton and Austen. There were all kinds of irresistible gloomy men.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot

Charles  de Lint
“Music’s the soundtrack of my life and has been since I was a teenager. There’s always music. If I’m not playing it, I’m listening to it. With my writing…sometimes it inspires a story, sometimes it highlights something I’m working on, sometimes it simply helps me stay in the narrative mood.”
Charles de Lint

Terry Tempest Williams
“What other species now require of us is our attention. Otherwise, we are entering a narrative of disappearing intelligences.”
Terry Tempest Williams, Finding Beauty in a Broken World

Javier Marías
“...and yet the idea is hard to accept, it's so hard to succeed in making something happen, even what's been decided on and planned out, not even the will of a god seems forceful enough to manage it, if our own will is made in its semblance. It may be, rather, that nothing is ever unmixed and the thirst for totality is never quenched, perhaps because it is a false yearning. Nothing is whole or of a single piece, everything is fractured and evenomed, veins of peace run through the body of war and hatred insinuates itself into love and compassion, there is truce amid the quagmire of bullets and a bullet amid the revelries, nothing can bear to be unique or prevail or be dominant and everything needs fissures and cracks, needs it negation at the same time as its existence. And nothing is known with certainty and everything is told figuratively.”
Javier Marías

Gertrude Stein
“I think one is naturally impressed by anything having a beginning a middle and an ending when one is beginning writing and that it is a natural thing because when one is emerging from adolescence, which is really when one first begins writing one feels that one would not have been one emerging from adolescence if there had not been a beginning and a middle and an ending to anything.”
Gertrude Stein, Narration: Four Lectures by Gertrude Stein

Gilles Deleuze
“The historical fact is that cinema was constituted as such by becoming narrative, by presenting a story, and by rejecting its other possible directions. The approximation which follows is that, from that point, the sequences of images and even each image, a single shot, are assimilated to propositions or rather oral utterances [...].”
Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time-Image

Annette Simmons
“It is safe to assume that any individual or group you wish to influence has access to more wisdom than they currently use. It is also safe to assume that they also have considerably more facts than they can process effectively. Giving them even more facts adds to the wrong pile. They don't need more facts. They need help finding their wisdom. Contrary to popular belief, bad decisions are rarely made because people don't have all the facts.”
Annette Simmons, The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion through the Art of Storytelling

James W. Sire
“A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundations on which we live and more and have our being.”
James W. Sire

W.H. Auden
“Drama is based on the Mistake. I think someone is my friend when he really is my enemy, that I am free to marry a woman when in fact she is my mother, that this person is a chambermaid when it is a young nobleman in disguise, that this well-dressed young man is rich when he is really a penniless adventurer, or that if I do this such and such a result will follow when in fact it results in something very different. All good drama has two movements, first the making of the mistake, then the discovery that it was a mistake.”
W.H. Auden

Alexandra Katehakis
“Are you repeating someone else's narrative, taking it for granted? Talk therapy sessions and 12-step recovery shares help develop the ability to present a coherent life narrative through the safe structure of clear rules of communication that support healthy self-expression and self-awareness.”
Alexandra Katehakis, Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence

Lydia Davis
“We all have an ongoing narrative inside our heads, the narrative that is spoken aloud if a friend asks a question. That narrative feels deeply natural to me. We also hang on to scraps of dialogue. Our memories don’t usually serve us up whole scenes complete with dialogue. So I suppose I’m saying that I like to work from what a character is likely to remember, from a more interior place.”
Lydia Davis

Neil Postman
“The opposite of a correct statement is an incorrect statement. The opposite of a profound truth is another profound truth (Niels Bohr)." By this, he means that we require a larger reading of the human past, of our relations with each other, the universe and God, a retelling of our older tales to encompass many truths and to let us grow with change.”
Neil Postman, Building a Bridge to the 18th Century: How the Past Can Improve Our Future

Don DeLillo
“It's my contention that each book creates its own structure and its own length. I've written three or four slim books. It may be that the next novel is a big one, but I don't know.”
Don DeLillo

Carlos Fuentes
“The novel is the privileged vehicle of two ways of being: narrative and freedom: to be new (novel) in a speech open to all, and to be free in a speech that never concludes.”
Carlos Fuentes, Myself with Others: Selected Essays

Ursula K. Le Guin
“The social function of narrative is not limited to 'primitive' people sitting around the fire telling each other where Fire came from and why they're sitting around it.”
Ursula K. Le Guin

Angie Klink
“December 29, 1946: Snowing this morning. The year seems to be dying in a light white blanket. Only three more days of this year, then comes a new one. Then, what? No one knows.
-- Diary of Bertha Kate Gaddis who passed away 6 months later, age 78, West Lafayette, IN.”
Angie Klink, Divided Paths, Common Ground: The Story of Mary Matthews and Lella Gaddis, Pioneering Purdue Women Who Introduced Science into the Home

“[I]ndividual readers may conceivably choose (or be led) to regard a given text as literary in cases where such a response is not shared by others, but until their individual responses lose their idiosyncratic nature by being adopted by a larger interpretive community, such responses will be regarded as being to a greater or lesser degree aberrant, and the offender will be regarded as lacking in good taste or good sense or both.”
Patrick O'Neill

Dustin Long
“Okay, first of all, I would have shaped the stories such that they culminated climactically, but I would not have allowed that climax to be the sole focus of the book. I'd concentrate more on the full process of the act of love - figuratively speaking, of course - and less on the orgasm itself. With less of an ejaculatory, post-coital let down, as well... Ideally, then, I would leave the reader turned on with a few unresolved strands that might lead to further climax upon intense reflection of the experience. More negative space. What is not said placed on a level of equal importance with what is said. The suggestive... And perhaps some form of narrative cuddling afterward.”
Dustin Long, Icelander

Juan Carlos Onetti
“No mentiría; pero la mejor verdad está en lo que cuento...”
Juan Carlos Onetti, Cuentos completos

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