Sunday, November 13, 2011


This weekend, some quotes on storytelling. The first set of quotes are selected from this excellent page of storytelling resources and websites, assembled by Elizabeth Figa, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas School of Library and Information Sciences. The second set of quotes, starting with the one by Salman Rushdie, was gathered and presented by Patti J. Christensen on this page of 

"Man [sic] is eminently a storyteller. His search for a purpose, a cause, an ideal, a mission and the like is largely a search for a plot and a pattern in the development of his life story-a story that is basically without meaning or pattern."
 Eric Hoffer, "The Passionate State of Mind" 

"Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it's an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole."
Eudora Welty, "One Writer's Beginnings" 

"The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in."  
Harold Goddard, "The Meaning of Shakespeare" 

"There is a certain embarrassment about being a storyteller in these times when stories are considered not quite as satisfying as statements and statements not quite as satisfying as statistics; but in the long run, a people is known, not by its statements or its statistics, but by the stories it tells."
Flannery O'Connor, "Mystery and Manners" 

"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, "The Seduction of the Spirit"

Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts. 
Salman Rushdie 

The universe is made of stories, not atoms. 
Muriel Rukeyser

To be a person is to have a story to tell. 
Isak Dinesen 

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.
Maya Angelou

A caveat. A funny New York Times op-ed by Brian Morton last summer talked about how some popular quotations attributed to Thoreau, Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela were all desperately wrong. A new-age-sounding inspirational remark supposedly from Mandela's inaugural address was actually made by self-help guru Marianne Williamson. That's all to say, I have no idea if the above quotations are correct, I haven't gone back to the original sources to verify them. I just offer them here for the ideas, and not so much for the sources. 

1 comment:

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