“Both reading and writing are, then, acts of supreme faith. They are both, in essence, a call to grace, a belief in the miraculous – that we might come to see through stories what we had not previously seen, that we might come to understand what had, before that moment, remained uncertain, undefined. The mask of fiction, of writing and reading stories, does not, in the end, disguise our faces but instead reveals who we really are. In the end, I think, stories acknowledge life’s difficulty and sadness but insist that we go on anyway, that we always hold to our faith, to our belief in grace.”
– John Gregory Brown
“Feeling your way into the poem is like opening the door of a shadowy room and groping. You’re not even sure about the floor underneath you – it’s likely not to be level – nor are you sure when you start to touch some objects – which represent feelings because every image is expressive – what they are. But it’s your room, that’s the main thing, and you come to learn your way around it even though it always remains dark except for that splendor that lives in laying out the words. Though a poem often is a little thing, twenty lines or even less, a good one is sturdy and knit together like bone, ligament, and muscle. The poets themselves are often not so sturdy.”
– Baron Wormser, The Poetry Life: ten stories (CavanKerry Press, 2008)
“We enter the mythical when we enter the realm of risk, and myth is the enchantment we generate in ourselves at such moments. More than a belief, it is a magical bond that tightens around us. It is a spell the soul casts on itself …. In Greece, myth escapes from ritual like a genie from a bottle. Ritual is tied to gesture, and gestures are limited: what else can you do once you’ve burned your offerings, poured your libations, bowed, greased yourself, competed in races, eaten, copulated? But if the stories start to become independent, to develop names and relationships, then one day you realise that they have taken on a life of their own.”
– Roberto Calasso, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony
“Back in the 1950s in El Salvador, there was only one library in the capital: la Biblioteca Nacional, an imposing wooden structure that took up an entire downtown block. When stepping through the huge double doors, you were enveloped by a distinctive smell: burnished wood, paper, glue, ink – the redolence of stories. Stories shelved high and low along narrow aisles that creaked when you walked along them.
In la Biblioteca Nacional, I’d slip between the stacks for a visit with the characters living between the covers of Las mil y una noches. The book was thick, gold-edged, and richly illuminated. I can still see its magnificent illustrations, all protected by vellum as delicate as dragonfly wings. I had to stand on tiptoe to pull the book off the shelf. I’d plop down, right in the aisle, although the light there was dim. Caught in the spell of stories, I would turn the pages slowly. I never checked the book out. I believed its proper home was the library.”
– Sandra Benitez, from ‘Fire, Wax, Smoke’
“Are stories like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and Rapunzel harmful to children? […] A poll of 3,000 British parents showed that a quarter of mothers today reject some classic fairy tales.”
Read Marjorie Kehe’s blogpost in The Christian Science Monitor by clicking on the above link.
I’d love to hear what you think.
“The best stories, the deepest medicines, are considered to be written like a light tattoo on the skin of the one who has lived them.”
– Clarissa Pinkola Estes