- Not that the story need be long,
but it will take a long while to make it short.
- "There is a dream
- saying of the aboriginal San
of the Kalahari Desert, cited by Robert Wolff, author,
- I will tell you something about
stories, (he said)
They aren't just entertainment.
Don't be fooled.
They are all we have, you see,
All we have to fight off
illness and death
- Leslie Marmon Silko
- The first draft of everything is
- Ernest Hemingway
- The degree to which
literature excites usually depends upon the extent to which the
taboo explored is forbidden.
- Robert Burdette Sweet,
Writing Towards Wisdom; The Writer as Shaman
- Write at least until
you become blihering and exhausted and have o control over your
pen. Then write more. The point is to permit what you repress to
surface, to dream through words.
- Trust yourself.
- When reading over what
youíve written in this uninhibited manner, circle whatever
images, ideas, names or events that repeat. And if you write long
enough in a submerged state something will repeat. After all what
Hawthorne did was write guilt, guilt, guilt, guilt. And Kafka did
write father, punishment, father, father, father and Hemingway did
growl cowardice, courage, cowardice, cowardice.
- Robert Burdette Sweet,
Writing Towards Wisdom; The Writer as Shaman
- Everyone is necessarily the hero
of his own life story.
- JOHN BARTH
- In seeking truth you have to get
both sides of a story.
- WALTER CRONKITE
- It is frequently the tragedy of
the great artist, as it is of the great scientist, that he frightens
the ordinary man. If he is more than a popular storyteller it may
take humanity a generation to absorb and grow accustomed to the new
geography with which the scientist or artist presents us. Even then,
perhaps only the more imaginative and literate may accept him.
Subconsciously the genius is feared as an image breaker; frequently
he does not accept the opinions of the mass, or man's opinion of
- Loren Eiseley, The Mind as Nature
- Art can only be truly Art by
presenting an adequate outward symbol of some fact in the interior
- Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) U.S.
critic, social reformer, writer
- It has taken me years of
struggle, hard work and research to learn to make one simple
gesture, and I know enough about the art of writing to realize
that it would take as many years of concentrated effort to write
one simple, beautiful sentence.
- Isadora Duncan
- Life is what we make it, always
has been, always will be.
- It is the function of art to
renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see.
The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we
see a new meaning in it.
- Anaias Nin
- Ninety percent of what we create
is not our best work.
- Robert McKee, at his Story Structure
- A human being is nothing but a
story with a skin around it.
- Fred Allen
- Fiction is not photography, itís
- Robertson Davies
- The dirty secret of art is you donít
have to show people your bad writing. Thatís what we have
the delete key for.
- Robert McKee
- The best defense is a good
- Frederick Bush, on NPR, prof of
literature, Colgate Univ.
- The tears that we shed at a play
are a type of the exquisite sterile emotions that it is the
function of art to awaken. We weep but we are not wounded. We
grieve but our grief is not bitter."
- Wilde, The Critic as Artist
- Cut quarrels out of literature,
and you will have very little history or drama or fiction or epic
- --Robert Lynd
- I cannot tell my story without
reaching a long way back.
- Demian, by Herman Hesse, 1925
- In every outthrust headland, in
every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of
- Rachel Carson
- "The history of the
greatest princes is often the story of men's mistakes."
- Voltaire, La Siecle de Louis XIV,
- The gods look with favor on
- Civilis, quoted in Tacitus' History
- Consciousness is a disease.
- Miguel de Unamumo, 1864-1937, The
Tragic Sense of Life
- The real voyage of discovery
consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
- Marcel Proust
- People have forgotten how to tell
a story. Stories don't have a middle or an end any more. They
usually have a beginning that never stops beginning.
- I've discovered I've got this
preoccupation with ordinary people pursued by large forces.
- If the boy and girl walk off into the
sunset hand-in-hand in the last scene, it adds 10 million to the box
- Stories serve the purpose of
consolidating whatever gains people or their leaders have made or
imagine they have made in their existing journey thorough the world.
Chinua Achebe (1930 - ____) Nigerian novelist, Award Lecture,
"What Has Literature Got to Do With It?," In "Sokoto,"
23 Aug 1986.
It's all storytelling, you know.
That's what journalism is all about.
We start our lives as if they were
momentous stories, with a beginning, a middle and an appropriate end,
only to find that they are mostly middles.
Reading a book is like re-writing it
for yourself. . . . You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your
experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your
A good story cannot be devised; it
has to be distilled.
Raymond Chandler (1888 - 1959)
All human beings have an innate need
to hear and tell stories and to have a story to live by. . . . religion,
whatever else it has done, has provided one of the main ways of meeting
this abiding need.
Harvey Cox (1929 - ____) US theologian, social reformer, author
The Seduction of the Spirit," Simon & Schuster
The history of the world is full of
men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery
Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948)
Dialogue should simply be a sound
among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of
people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.
- The highest-paid person in the
first half of the next century will be the "storyteller."
The value of products will depend on the story they tell. Nike and
many other gloabal companies are already manily storytellers. That
is where the money is --- even today.
- Rolf Jensen
- We are the first generation
bombarded with so many stories from so many "authorities,"
none of which are our own. The parable of the postmodern mind is the
person surrounded by a media center: three television screens in
front of them giving three sets of stories; fax machines bringing in
other stories; newspapers providing still more stories. In a sense,
we are saturated with stories; we're saturated with points of view.
But the effect of being bombarded with all of these points of view
is that we don't have a point of view and we don't have a story. We
lose the continuity of our experiences; we become people who are
written on from the outside.
- Sam Keen
- Wherever a story comes from,
whether it is a familiar myth or a private memory, the retelling
exemplifies the making of a connection from one pattern to another:
a potential translation in which narrative becomes parable and the
once upon a time comes to stand for some renaiscent truth. this
approach applies to all the incidents of everyday life: the phrase
in the newspaper, the endearing or infuriating game of a toddler,
the misunderstanding at the office. Our species thinks in metaphors
and learns through stories.
- Mary Catherine Bateson
- Classic narrative is basically
linear. It is like a river which has a source in an inland spring.
The water bubbles up from the ground and sets off on a journey,
pushed forward by the energy generated at its source. It twists and
turns and gains momentum according to the obstacles in its path, as
if it always has one aim in view; to finally reach and unite with
its destination, the sea.
- Cherry Potter
The deep joy we take in the company
of people with whom we have just recently fallen in love is
- The fools think I am writing
algebra but what I am really writing is geometry.
- The difference between the right
word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning
and the lightning bug.
- Mark Twain
The longer we listen to one another -
with real attention - the more commonality we will find in all our
lives. That is, if we are careful to exchange with one another life
stories and not simply opinions.
A good writer is basically a
story-teller, not a scholar or a redeemer of mankind.
A song ain't nothin' in the world but
a story just wrote with music to it.
Hank Williams, Sr. (1923 - 1953)
I wrote the story myself. It's all
about a girl who lost her reputation but never missed it.
In the writing process, the more the
story cooks, the better. The brain works for you even when you are at
rest. I find dreams particularly useful. . . . You can only learn to be
a better writer by actually writing.
Stories are equipment for living.
If you want a happy ending, that
depends, of course, on where you stop your story.
Storytelling reveals meaning without
committing the error of defining it.
- Make visible what, without you,
might never have been seen.
- Robert Bresson
- Writing is easy. All you do is
sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood
form on your forehead.
- Gene Fowler
- Writers write about what
obsesses them. You draw those cards. I lost my mother when I was
14. My daughter died at the age of 6. I lost my faith as a
Catholic. When I'm writing, the darkness is always there. I go
where the pain is.
- Anne Rice
- Be regular and orderly in your
life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.
- Gustave Flaubert
- We work in the dark--we do what
we can--we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our
passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.
- Henry James
- You sell a screenplay like you
sell a car. If somebody drives it off a cliff, that's it.
- Rita Mae Brown
- Those who dream by day are
cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by
- Edgar Allen Poe
- No tears in the writer, no tears
in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the
- Robert Frost
- Against the disease of writing
one must take special precautions, since it is a dangerous and
- Peter Abelard, in "Letter S,
Abelard to Heloise"
- The only reason for being a
professional writer is that you just can't help it.
- Leo Rosten
- Writers are only rarely likable.
- Joan Didion
- The role of the writer is not to
say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.
- Anais Nin
- There are three rules for writing
the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
- W. Somerset Maugham
who tell the stories rule society.
surely are difficult, confusing, and not everything in them is brought
to pass for mankind. For
fleeting dreams have two gates: one is fashioned of horn and one of
ivory. Those which pass
through the one of sawn ivory are deceptive, bringing tidings which come
to naught, but those which issue from the one of polished horn bring
true results when a mortal sees them.
The Odyssey XIX, l560
are the stories we tell ourselves to explain the world around us and
good stories are ten percent true.
who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who
dream only by night.
Allan Poe, poet and short-story writer (1809-1849)
without imagination is craftsmanship.
Imagination without skill gives us modern art.
can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude.
Wolfgang von Goethe, poet, dramatist, novelist, and philosopher
those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real
feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty of nature. If you want to
learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand
the language that she speaks in.
Feynman, physicist, lecturer, adventurer
- "There is a dream dreaming us."
- saying of the aboriginal
San of the Kalahari Desert, cited by Robert Wolff,
author, Original Wisdom