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Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands by Michael Chabon
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Maps and Legends Quotes Showing 1-30 of 39
“Literature, like magic, has always been about the handling of secrets, about the pain, the destruction, and the marvelous liberation that can result when they are revealed. Telling the truth when the truth matters most is almost always a frightening prospect. If a writer doesn't give away secrets, his own or those of the people he loves; if she doesn't court disapproval, reproach, and general wrath, whether of friends, family, or party apparatchiks; if the writer submits his work to an internal censor long before anyone else can get their hands on it, the result is pallid, inanimate, a lump of earth.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“All literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction....Through parody and pastiche, allusion and homage, retelling and reimagining the stories that were told before us and that we have come of age loving--amateurs--we proceed, seeking out the blank places in the map that our favorite writers, in their greatness and negligence, have left for us, hoping to pass on to our own readers--should we be lucky enough to find any--some of the pleasure that we ourselves have taken in the stuff that we love: to get in on the game. All novels are sequels; influence is bliss.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“I took comfort, as a kid, in knowing that things had always been as awful and as wonderful as they were now, that the world was always on the edge of total destruction.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“It was the pleasure that a liar takes in his lie as it enters the world wearing the accent and raiment of the truth, sounding so right and plausible that--if he is any kind of liar at all--he begins, himself, to believe it. It was the pleasure that a maker of golems takes as the force of his words, the rhythm and accuracy of his alphabetical spells, blow life into the cold clay nostrils, and the great stony hand unclenches and reaches for his own.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“Entertainment has a bad name...The word wears spandex, pasties, a leisure suit studded with blinking lights. ”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“Horror grows impatient, rhetorically, with the Stoic fatalism of Ecclesiastes. That we are all going to die, that death mocks and cancels every one of our acts and attainments and every moment of our life histories, this knowledge is to storytelling what rust is to oxidation; the writer of horror holds with those who favor fire. The horror writer is not content to report on death as the universal system of human weather; he or she chases tornadoes. Horror is Stoicism with a taste for spectacle.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“Yet entertainment--as I define it, pleasure and all--remains the only sure means we have of bridging, or at least of feeling as if we have bridged, the gulf of consciousness that separates each of us from everybody else. The best response to those who would cheapen and exploit it is not to disparage or repudiate but to reclaim entertainment as a job fit for artists and for audiences, a two-way exchange of attention, experience, and the universal hunger for connection.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“When I read these words I saw at once a connection to my own work. Anything good that I have written has, at some point during its composition, left me feeling uneasy and afraid. It has seemed, for a moment at least, to put me at risk.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“The Road is not a record of fatherly fidelity; it is a testament to the abyss of a parent’s greatest fears. The fear of leaving your child alone, of dying before your child has reached adulthood and learned to work the mechanisms and face the dangers of the world, or found a new partner to face them with. The fear of one day being obliged for your child’s own good, for his peace and comfort, to do violence to him or even end his life. And, above all, the fear of knowing—as every parent fears—that you have left your children a world more damaged, more poisoned, more base and violent and cheerless and toxic, more doomed, than the one you inherited. It is in the audacity and single-mindedness with which The Road extends the metaphor of a father’s guilt and heartbreak over abandoning his son to shift for himself in a ruined, friendless world that The Road finds its great power to move and horrify the reader.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“but a mind is blown when something that you always feared but knew to be impossible turns out to be true; when the world turns out to be far vaster, far more marvelous or malevolent than you ever dreamed; when you get proof that everything is connected to everything else, that everything you know is wrong, that you are both the center of the universe and a tiny speck sailing off its nethermost edge.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“When it works, what you get is not a collection of references, quotes, allusions, and cribs but a whole, seamless thing, both familiar and new: a record of the consciousness that was busy falling in love with those moments in the first place.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“Because Trickster is looking to stir things up, to scramble the conventions, to undo history and received notions of what is art and what is not, to sing for his supper, to find and lose himself in the act of entertaining. Trickster haunts the boundary lines, the margins, the secret shelves between the sections in the bookstore. And that is where, if it wants to renew itself in the way that the novel has done so often in its long history, the short story must, inevitably, go.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“bright men in narrow neckties and short haircuts whose terrible optimism made the sixties such an admirable and disappointing time.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“Every future we imagine is transformed inexorably into a part of our children’s understanding of their past, of the assumptions their parents and grandparents could not help but make.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“At any rate it is impossible to live intelligently as a member of a minority group in a nation that was founded every bit as firmly on enslavement and butchery as on ideals of liberty and brotherhood and not feel, at least every once in a while, that you can no more take for granted the continued tolerance of your existence here than you ought take the prosperity or freedom you enjoy.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“You hope to spend your life doing what you love and need and have been fitted by nature or God or your protein-package to do: write, draw, sing, tell stories. But you have to eat.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“Let’s blow their little minds. A mind is not blown, in spite of whatever Hollywood seems to teach, merely by action sequences, things exploding, thrilling planetscapes, wild bursts of speed. Those are all good things; but a mind is blown when something that you always feared but knew to be impossible turns out to be true; when the world turns out to be far vaster, far more marvelous or malevolent than you ever dreamed; when you get proof that everything is connected to everything else, that everything you know is wrong, that you are both the center of the universe and a tiny speck sailing off its nethermost edge.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“The short story narrates the moment when a dark door, long closed, is opened, when a forgotten error is unwittingly repeated, when the fabric of a life is revealed to have been woven from frail and dubious fiber over top of something unknowable and possibly very bad.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“Thus while claiming, on the one hand, a dubiously ahistorical, archetypical source for the superhero idea in the Jungian vastness of legend, we dissolve its true universality in a foaming bath of periodized explanations, and render the superhero and his costume a time-fixed idea that is always already going out of fashion.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“just because you have stopped believing in something you once were promised does not mean that the promise itself was a lie.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“the writing of fiction is akin to the work of a stage magician, a feat of sustained deception in which by imagery and language the trickster leads the audience to believe in the existence or possibility of a series of nonexistent or impossible things.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“Sometimes I fear to write, even in fictional form, about things that really happened to me, about things that I really did, or about the numerous unattractive, cruel, or embarrassing thoughts that I have at one time or another entertained. Just as often, I find myself writing about disturbing or socially questionable acts and states of mind that have no real basis in my life at all, but which, I am afraid, people will quite naturally attribute to me when they read what I have written.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“Literature, like magic, has always been about the handling of secrets, about the pain, the destruction, and the marvelous liberation that can result when they are revealed.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“What is the meaning of it, Watson?” said Holmes, solemnly, as he laid down the paper. “What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“Taking pains, working hard, not flaunting his or her chops so much as relying on them, the pop artisan teeters on a fine fulcrum between the stern, sell-the-product morality of the workhorse and the artist’s urge to discover a pattern in, or derive a meaning from, the random facts of the world.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“Through parody and pastiche, allusion and homage, retelling and reimagining the stories that were told before us and that we have come of age loving—amateurs—we proceed, seeking out the blank places in the map that our favorite writers, in their greatness and negligence, have left for us, hoping to pass on to our own readers—should we be lucky enough to find any—some of the pleasure that we ourselves have taken in the stuff we love: to get in on the game. All novels are sequels; influence is bliss.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“I’m always thrilled,” wrote Alan Cheuse, emphasizing the novelty and, perhaps, the faint air of slumming that attends the notion of McCarthy’s move to the science-fiction neighborhood, “when a fine writer of first-class fiction takes up the genre of science fiction and matches its possibilities with his or her own powers.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“The handsome Vintage Internationals edition of Nabokov’s Ada, or, Ardor—an extended riff on alternate-world and time theories and a key early example in the retro-futuristic subgenre of science fiction that years later came to be known as steampunk—would look out of place in the science-fiction section, with the blue-foil lettering, the starships, the furry-faced aliens, the electron-starred vistas of cyberspace.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“In order to destroy the world, it becomes necessary to save it.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
“But we have learned to mistrust and despise our human aptitude for being entertained, and in that sense we get the entertainment we deserve.”
Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands

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