Some Thoughts on Stories and Storytellers

“So when nothing else worked, as a last resort she turned to her first love, unlikely as it seemed, mythology and folklore, and studied all the riddle/puzzle/secret motifs she could dig up. ‘We need a miracle, Doony,’ she said (I was braiding her hair and massaging her neck as she went through her notes for the thousandth time), ‘and the only genies I’ve ever met were in stories, not in Moormen’s-rings and Jews’-lamps. It’s in words that the magic is–Abracadabra, Open Sesame, and the rest–but the magic words in one story aren’t magical in the next. The real magic is to understand which words work, and when, and for what; the trick is to learn the trick.'”

–Dunyazade in John Barth’s “Dunyazadiad,” Chimera


Alexandria: “Why are you killing everybody? Why are you making everybody die?”

Roy: “It’s my story.”

Alexandria: “Mine too.”

–Tarsem’s The Fall


“The way of paradoxes is the way of truth. To test Reality, we must see it on the tightrope. When the Verities become acrobats, we can judge them.”

–Oscar Wilde


“What he learns, and it is an expensive lesson, is that by perfectly imitating the pattern of mythic heroism, one becomes a perfect imitation of a mythic hero, which is not quite the same thing as being Perseus the Golden Destroyer….Something similar may befall the writer too fixated upon his/her distinguished predecessors; it is a disoriented navigator indeed who mistakes the stars he steers by for his destination.”

–John Barth, “Getting Oriented,” The Friday Book


~ by ericplaag on October 4, 2008.

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