Each of us is comprised of stories, stories not only about ourselves but stories about ancestors we never knew and people we've never met. We have stories we love to tell and stories we have never told anyone. The extent to which others know us is determined by the stories we choose to share. We extend a deep trust to someone when we say, "I'm going to tell you something I've never told anyone." Sharing stories creates trust because through stories we come to a recognition of how much we have in common.
If the characters are not wicked, the book is." We must tell stories the way God does, stories in which a sister must float her little brother on a river with nothing but a basket between him and the crocodiles. Stories in which a king is a coward, and a shepherd boy steps forward to face the giant. Stories with fiery serpents and leviathans and sermons in whirlwinds. Stories in which murderers are blinded on donkeys and become heroes. Stories with dens of lions and fiery furnaces and lone prophets laughing at kings and priests and demons. Stories with heads on platters. Stories with courage and crosses and redemption. Stories with resurrections.
I don't necessarily think stories have functions any more than diamonds have functions, or the sky has a function... Stories exist. They keep us sane, I think. We tell each other stories, we believe stories. I love watching the slow rise of the urban legend. They're the stories that we use to explain ourselves to ourselves.
What does it matter, if we tell the same old stories? ...Stories tell us who we are. What we're capable of. When we go out looking for stories we are, I think, in many ways going in search of ourselves, trying to find understanding of our lives, and the people around us. Stories, and language tell us what's important.
So I found myself telling my own stories. It was strange: as I did it I realised how much we get shaped by our stories. It's like the stories of our lives make us the people we are. If someone had no stories, they wouldn't be human, wouldn't exist. And if my stories had been different I wouldn't be the person I am.
Humans are kind of story-propagating creatures. If you think of how we spend our days, think of all the time you spend on entertainment. How much of your entertainment centers around stories? Most pieces of music tell stories. Even hanging out with your friends, you talk, you tell stories to each other. They're all stories. We live in stories.
We are shaped by stories from the first moments of life, and even before. Stories tell us who we are, why we are here, and what will become of us. Whenever humans try to make sense of their experience, they create a story, and we use those stories to answer all the big questions of life. The stories come from everywhere-from family, church, school, and the culture at large. They so surround and inhabit us that we often don't recognize that they are stories at all, breathing them in and out as a fish breathes water.
We are shaped by stories from the first moments of life, and even before. Stories tell us who we are, why we are here, and what will become of us. Whenever humans try to make sense of their experience, they create a story, and we use those stories to answer all the big questions of life. The stories come from everywhere--from family, church, school, and the culture at large. They so surround and inhabit us that we often don't recognize that they are stories at all, breathing them in and out as a fish breathes water.
If we make our own history, if we tell stories that bring us together, we'll be stronger. It'll give us something to believe in. The sickos can't do that - they're no better than animals - but we can. Every battle we win we have to tell the story over and over, so that we can win more battles. People love stories. They've told stories since even before they could write. Myths and legends, stories of heroes and villains, gods and monsters. Real things happened, the story got told and then the stories became legends. That's what we've got to do - tell our own heroic stories.
Stories, whether they're good or bad, are expressions of interactions within society. Some may be seen as 'boring', but in their own right, they are still stories to explored. People throughout life have more exciting endeavours than others, and that can be the same for stories. It's just a matter of segregating comparisons between the senseless and the thoughtful. The norm and the unbiased. We are what we are. As are stories.
Stories, whether they're good or bad, are expressions of interactions within society. Some may be seen as 'boring', but in their own right, they are still stories to be explored. People throughout life have more exciting endeavours than others, and that can be the same for stories. It's just a matter of segregating comparisons between the senseless and the thoughtful. The norm and the unbiased. We are what we are. As are stories.
But Andrew was right about one thing. Human beings need to tell stories. Historically, it's the quickest way we have for transmitting useful information to other members of our species. Stories are not simply nice things to have; they are essential survival tools. And yes, the stories we tell ourselves are just as important as the stories we tell other people.
The very act of story-telling, of arranging memory and invention according to the structure of the narrative, is by definition holy. We tell stories because we can't help it. We tell stories because we love to entertain and hope to edify. We tell stories because they fill the silence death imposes. We tell stories because they save us.
The ability to see our lives as stories and share those stories with others is at the core of what it means to be human. We use stories to order and make sense of our lives, to define who we are, even to construct our realities: this happened, then this happened, then this. I was, I am, I will be. We recount our dreams, narrate our days and organize our memories into stories we tell others and ourselves. As natural-born storytellers, we respond to others' stories because they are deeply, intimately familiar.
John Capecci and Timothy Cage
When we die, these are the stories still on our lips. The stories we'll only tell strangers, someplace private in the padded cell of midnight. These important stories, we rehearse them for years in our head but never tell. These stories are ghosts, bringing people back from the dead. Just for a moment. For a visit. Every story is a ghost.
I suppose the other thing too many forget is that we were all stories once, each and every one of us. And we remain stories. But too often we allow those stories to grow banal, or cruel or unconnected to each other.We allow the stories to continue, but they no longer have a heart. They no longer sustain us.
Charles de Lint
Stories? We all spend our lives telling them, about this, about that, about people ... But some? Some stories are so good we wish they'd never end. They're so gripping that we'll go without sleep just to see a little bit more. Some stories bring us laughter and sometimes they bring us tears ... but isn't that what a great story does? Makes you feel? Stories that are so powerful ... they really are with us forever.
I really am just trying to tell stories. But stories are often grounded in larger events and themes. They don't have to be - there's a big literature of trailer-park, kitchen-table fiction that's just about goings-on in the lives of ordinary people - but my own tastes run toward stories that in addition to being good stories are set against a backdrop that is interesting to read and learn about.
There are a million ideas in a world of stories. Humans are storytelling animals. Everything's a story, everyone's got stories, we're perceiving stories, we're interested in stories. So to me, the big nut to crack is to how to tell a story, what's the right way to tell a particular story.
Toy is talking and this is why I love her. She can go on about herself ceaselessly and like the scratching of a branch against the window at night, the steady insistence of it is comforting. She has stories without beginnings, stories that trail off, stories that crisscross and contradict and dead end. Toy is the star of her stories. Events orbit her like a constellation.
Erica Lorraine Scheidt
I have always felt a little bit uncomfortable with question [why I'm write these stories]. It's not a question that you would ask a guy that writes detective stories or the guy that writes mystery stories, or westerns, or whatever. But it is asked of the writer of horror stories because it seems that there is something nasty about our love for horror stories, or boogies, ghosts and goblins, demons and devils.
We're looking for stories that speak to us. We're looking for stories that connect us with something true. But, instead, a lot of the time we get strippers. All I'm saying is, when boys are writing the stories, the percentage of strippers is bound to go up. And real stories about real women kinda don't get written at all.
Betsy was so full of joy that she had to be alone. She went upstairs to her bedroom and sat down on Uncle Keith's trunk. Behind Tacy's house the sun had set. A wind had sprung up and the trees, their color dimmed, moved under a brooding sky. All the stories she had told Tacy and Tib seemed to be dancing in those trees, along with all the stories she planned to write some day and all the stories she would read at the library. Good stories. Great stories. The classics. Not Rena's novels.
Maud Hart Lovelace
To animals they were just the weather, just part of everything. But humans arose and gave them names, just as people filled the starry sky with heroes and monsters, because this turned them into stories. And humans loved stories, because once you'd turned things into stories, you could change the stories.
AS SOMBRAS DA ALMA. THE SHADOWS OF THE SOUL. The stories others tell about you and the stories you tell about yourself: which come closer to the truth? Is it so clear that they are your own? Is one an authority on oneself? But that isn't the question that concerns me. The real question is: In such stories, is there really a difference between true and false? In stories about the outside, surely. But when we set out to understand someone on the inside? Is that a trip that ever comes to an end? Is the soul a place of facts? Or are the alleged facts only the deceptive shadows of our stories?
Stories move in circle. They don't move in straight lines. So it helps if you listen in circles. There are stories inside stories and stories between stories and finding your way through them is as easy and as hard as finding your way home. And part of the finding is the getting lost. And when you're lost you start to look around and to listen.
And I think a long time ago there were big stories. Stories so big you could live your whole life in them. The Powerful Hands of the Gods and Fate. The Journey to Enlightenment. The March of Socialism. But they all died or the world grew up or grew senile or forgot them, so now we're making up our own stories. Little stories. But we've each got one.
My real purpose in telling middle-school students stories was to practice telling stories. And I practiced on the greatest model of storytelling we've got, which is "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey." I told those stories many, many times. And the way I would justify it to the head teacher if he came in or to any parents who complained was, look, I'm telling these great stories because they're part of our cultural heritage. I did believe that.
Yes, we could talk to you for days on end about all the bad first dates. Those are stories. Funny stories. Awkward stories. Stories we love to share, because by sharing them, we get something out of the hour or two we wasted on the wrong person. But that's all bad first dates are: short stories. Good first dates are more than short stories. They are first chapters. On a good first date, everything is springtime. And when a good first date becomes a relationship, the springtime lingers. Even after it's over, there can be springtime.
The tales of pure terror, of course, are completely naturalistic in their content, and must stand or fall by their merit alone. But what about the supernatural stories? Can we, the children of a scientific age, give any credence to these medleys of devils, ghosts, and other psychical invasions? There is only one answer: we can and do. We are dealing with stories, not with scientific dissertations. And if, as stories, they have the ring of truth, we'll believe them, as stories, implicitly. ("Introduction")
Herbert A. Wise
Humans are a story telling species. Throughout history we have told stories to each other and ourselves as one of the ways to understand the world around us. Every culture has its creation myth for how the universe came to be, but the stories do not stop at the big picture view; other stories discuss every aspect of the world around us. We humans are chatterboxes and we just can't resist telling a story about just about everything. However compelling and entertaining these stories may be, they fall short of being explanations because in the end all they are is stories. For every story you can tell a different variation, or a different ending, without giving reason to choose between them. If you are skeptical or try to test the veracity of these stories you'll typically find most such stories wanting. One approach to this is forbid skeptical inquiry, branding it as heresy. This meme is so compelling that it was independently developed by cultures around the globes; it is the origin of religion-a set of stories about the world that must be accepted on faith, and never questioned.
My stories are not Christianized at all. I don't even have any Christians in my stories. What they are, are stories about ordinary people going through extraordinary circumstances in which I'm exploring truth. How light overcomes darkness in a way that's unmistakable to anyone who has any kind of faith.
The Nigerian storyteller Ben Okri says that 'In a fractured age, when cynicism is god, here is a possible heresy: we live by stories, we also live in them. One way or another we are living the stories planted in us early or along the way, or we are also living the stories we planted "" knowingly or unknowingly "" in ourselves. We live stories that either give our lives meaning or negate it with meaninglessness. If we change the stories we live by, quite possibly we change our lives.'
In a fractured age, when cynicism is god, here is a possible heresy: we live by stories, we also live in them. One way or another we are living the stories planted in us early or along the way, we are also living the stories we planted - knowingly or unknowingly - in ourselves. We live the stories that either give our lives meaning, or negate it with meaninglessness. If we change the stories we live by, quite possibly we change or lives.
By telling stories, Jesus isn't somehow putting sugar in a spoon to make the medicine go down a bit easier. These stories are the medicine. These stories are an extension and explanation of Jesus' revolutionary ministry. These stories show us that things are not as they appear. Our tidy, well-packaged ideas about spirituality, faith, and reality shatter when confronted by Christ and the God he represents.
When I was about twenty-one, I published a few poems. Maybe I wrote a couple of stories before, but I really began to write stories in my mid-thirties. My kids were still little, and they were in school and day care, and I had begun to think a lot about wanting to tell some stories and not being able to do it in poetry.
There are some themes, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children's book. In adult literary fiction, stories are there on sufferance. Other things are felt to be more important: technique, style, literary knowingness... The present-day would-be George Eliots take up their stories as if with a pair of tongs. They're embarrassed by them. If they could write novels without stories in them, they would. Sometimes they do. We need stories so much that we're even willing to read bad books to get them, if the good books won't supply them. We all need stories, but children are more frank about it.
Often, then, the stories came pouring out, and often they were set before us slowly and quietly like tea. These slow stories were told with understatement that made my eyes and voice fill as I translated; for when people seem to have no emotion remaining for such stories, your own heart must supply it.
Humans like stories. Humans need stories. Stories are good. Stories work. Story clarifies and captures the essence of the human spirit. Story, in all its forms-of life, of love, of knowledge-has traced the upward surge of mankind. And story, you mark my words, will be with the last human to draw breath.
Humanity's legacy of stories and storytelling is the most precious we have. All wisdom is in our stories and songs. A story is how we construct our experiences. At the very simplest, it can be: 'He/she was born, lived, died.' Probably that is the template of our stories - a beginning, middle, and end. This structure is in our minds.
Often, the best stories aren't when someone pulls one 180-degree turn, but when someone pulls 180 one-degree turns: the stories when someone experiences a slow and, at times, indistinguishable evolution; the stories where a million tiny steps produce something so brilliant; the stories where perseverance and struggle go hand in hand.
Josh James Riebock
I never have people tell me their stories. I usually have to figure them out myself. Because I know that if people tell me stories, they will expect them to be remembered. And I cannot guarantee that. There is no way to know if the stories stay after I'm gone. And how devastating would it be to confide in someone and have the confidence disappear? I don't want to be responsible for that.
Perhaps this is what we mean by sanity: that, whatever our self-admitted eccentricities might be, we are not the villains of our own stories. In fact, it is quite the contrary: we play, and only play, the hero, and in the swirl of other people's stories, insofar as these stories concern us at all, we are never less than heroic.
Great stories happen all around you every day. At the time they're happening, you don't think of them as stories. You probably don't think about them at all. You experience them. You enjoy them. You learn from them. You're inspired by them. They only become stories if someone is wise enough to share them. That's when a story is born.
To be able to make up stories has been a great gift to me from my ancestors and from the storytellers who were so numerous at Laguna Pueblo when I was growing up. I learned to read as soon as I could because I wanted stories without having to depend on adults to tell or read stories to me.
Leslie Marmon Silko
Forty-three years old, and the war occurred half a lifetime ago, and yet the remembering makes it now. And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. That's what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.
I have never been able to understand the complaint that a story is "depressing" because of its subject matter. What depresses me are stories that don't seem to know these things go on, or hide them in resolute chipperness; "witty stories," in which every problem is the occasion for a joke; "upbeat" stories that flog you with transcendence. Please. We're grown ups now.
Kiran says (the shelf) is full of stories. If it is, then I like fairy stories. Fairy stories are fair. In them wishes are granted, words are enchanted, the honest and brave make it safely through to the last page and the baddies either have to give up their wickedness for ever and ever, no going back, or get ruthlessly written out of the story, which they hardly ever survive. Also in fairy stories there are hardly any of those half-good half-bad people that crop up so constantly in real life and are so difficult to believe in...
Stories are masks of God. That's a story, too, of course. I made it up, in collaborations with Joseph Campbell and Scheherazade, Jesus and the Buddha and the Brother's Grimm. Stories show us how to bear the unbearable, approach the unapproachable, conceive the inconceiveable. Stories provide meaning, texture, layers and layers of truth. Stories can also trivialize. Offered indelicately, taken too literally, stories become reductionist tools, rendering things neat and therefore false. Even as we must revere and cherish the masks we variously create, Campbell reminds us, we must not mistake the masks of God for God. So it seemes to me that one of the most vital things we can teach our children is how to be storytellers. How to tell stories that are rigorously, insistently, beautifully true. And how to believe them.
I think most people aren't really privy to how stories are developed and what stories are - make it to the front page or to the mainstream media, whether it's in print or in broadcast. And I think they'd be shocked and disappointed to see some of the bias that exists in some of the stories that don't get told - or the manner in which they are told.
We speak for those who cannot speak. We have a duty to tell the stories for those who do not have the advantages that we have to tell stories. We must not speak falsely. The stories that we are entrusted to tell are stories of our tribes, or the tribes into which we have been initiated.
Billy Marshall Stoneking
The language of the culture also reflects the stories of the culture. One word or simple phrasal labels often describe the story adequately enough in what we have termed culturally common stories. To some extent, the stories of a culture are observable by inspecting the vocabulary of that culture. Often entire stories are embodied in one very culture-specific word. The story words unique to a culture reveal cultural differences.