Narrative Quotes

Quotes tagged as "narrative" Showing 1-30 of 269
“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

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

“Willful blindness” may hinder us from discerning the critical fault lines in the narrative of our life. Our memory may obliterate then the crucial elements that are vital to really come to know ourselves. ("Non mais, t'as vu l'heure !")”
Erik Pevernagie

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

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

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

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

Andrei Tarkovsky
“A poet is someone who can use a single image to send a universal message.”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Andrei Tarkovsky: Interviews

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 Marias Franco

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I'm lying, yes, but why do you force me to give a linear explanation; linear explanations are almost always lies.”
Elena Ferrante

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

Dani Shapiro
“I was beginning to see the danger in adhering to a single narrative, hewing to a story. The peril wasn't only in getting it wrong. It was a kind of calcification, a narrowing, a perversion of reality that hardened and stilled the spirit.”
Dani Shapiro, Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

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

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

Dubravka Ugrešić
“We are all footnotes, many of us will never have the chance to be read, all of us in an unrelenting and desperate struggle for our lives, for the life of a footnote, to remain on the surface before, in spite of our efforts, we are submerged. Everywhere we leave constant traces of our existence, of our struggle against vacuity. And the greater the vacuity, the more violent our struggle.”
Dubravka Ugrešić, Lisica

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