Stories Connect Us Quotes

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We're all strangers connected by what we reveal, what we share, what we take away--our stories. I guess that's what I love about books--they are thin strands of humanity that tether us to one another for a small bit of time, that make us feel less alone or even more comfortable with our aloneness, if need be.
Libba Bray
Is there no context for our lives? No song, no literature, no poem full of vitamins, no history connected to experience that you can pass along to help us start strong? You are an adult. The old one, the wise one. Stop thinking about saving your face. Think of our lives and tell us your particularized world. Make up a story. Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created. We will not blame you if your reach exceeds your grasp; if love so ignites your words they go down in flames and nothing is left but their scald. Or if, with the reticence of a surgeon's hands, your words suture only the places where blood might flow. We know you can never do it properly - once and for all. Passion is never enough; neither is skill. But try. For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don't tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear's caul. You, old woman, blessed with blindness, can speak the language that tells us what only language can: how to see without pictures. Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation.
Toni Morrison (The Nobel Lecture In Literature, 1993)
I’ve come to think that flourishing consists of putting yourself in situations in which you lose self-consciousness and become fused with other people, experiences, or tasks. It happens sometimes when you are lost in a hard challenge, or when an artist or a craftsman becomes one with the brush or the tool. It happens sometimes while you’re playing sports, or listening to music or lost in a story, or to some people when they feel enveloped by God’s love. And it happens most when we connect with other people. I’ve come to think that happiness isn’t really produced by conscious accomplishments. Happiness is a measure of how thickly the unconscious parts of our minds are intertwined with other people and with activities. Happiness is determined by how much information and affection flows through us covertly every day and year.
David Brooks
The library is a whispering post. You don't need to take a book off a shelf to know there is a voice inside that is waiting to speak to you, and behind that was someone who truly believed that if he or she spoke, someone would listen. It was that affirmation that always amazed me. Even the oddest, most peculiar book was written with that kind of courage -- the writer's belief that someone would find his or her book important to read. I was struck by how precious and foolish and brave that belief is, and how necessary, and how full of hope it is to collect these books and manuscripts and preserve them. It declares that stories matter, and so does every effort to create something that connects us to one another, and to our past, and to what is still to come.
Susan Orlean (The Library Book)
O: You’re quite a writer. You’ve a gift for language, you’re a deft hand at plotting, and your books seem to have an enormous amount of attention to detail put into them. You’re so good you could write anything. Why write fantasy? Pratchett: I had a decent lunch, and I’m feeling quite amiable. That’s why you’re still alive. I think you’d have to explain to me why you’ve asked that question. O: It’s a rather ghettoized genre. P: This is true. I cannot speak for the US, where I merely sort of sell okay. But in the UK I think every book— I think I’ve done twenty in the series— since the fourth book, every one has been one the top ten national bestsellers, either as hardcover or paperback, and quite often as both. Twelve or thirteen have been number one. I’ve done six juveniles, all of those have nevertheless crossed over to the adult bestseller list. On one occasion I had the adult best seller, the paperback best-seller in a different title, and a third book on the juvenile bestseller list. Now tell me again that this is a ghettoized genre. O: It’s certainly regarded as less than serious fiction. P: (Sighs) Without a shadow of a doubt, the first fiction ever recounted was fantasy. Guys sitting around the campfire— Was it you who wrote the review? I thought I recognized it— Guys sitting around the campfire telling each other stories about the gods who made lightning, and stuff like that. They did not tell one another literary stories. They did not complain about difficulties of male menopause while being a junior lecturer on some midwestern college campus. Fantasy is without a shadow of a doubt the ur-literature, the spring from which all other literature has flown. Up to a few hundred years ago no one would have disagreed with this, because most stories were, in some sense, fantasy. Back in the middle ages, people wouldn’t have thought twice about bringing in Death as a character who would have a role to play in the story. Echoes of this can be seen in Pilgrim’s Progress, for example, which hark back to a much earlier type of storytelling. The epic of Gilgamesh is one of the earliest works of literature, and by the standard we would apply now— a big muscular guys with swords and certain godlike connections— That’s fantasy. The national literature of Finland, the Kalevala. Beowulf in England. I cannot pronounce Bahaghvad-Gita but the Indian one, you know what I mean. The national literature, the one that underpins everything else, is by the standards that we apply now, a work of fantasy. Now I don’t know what you’d consider the national literature of America, but if the words Moby Dick are inching their way towards this conversation, whatever else it was, it was also a work of fantasy. Fantasy is kind of a plasma in which other things can be carried. I don’t think this is a ghetto. This is, fantasy is, almost a sea in which other genres swim. Now it may be that there has developed in the last couple of hundred years a subset of fantasy which merely uses a different icongraphy, and that is, if you like, the serious literature, the Booker Prize contender. Fantasy can be serious literature. Fantasy has often been serious literature. You have to fairly dense to think that Gulliver’s Travels is only a story about a guy having a real fun time among big people and little people and horses and stuff like that. What the book was about was something else. Fantasy can carry quite a serious burden, and so can humor. So what you’re saying is, strip away the trolls and the dwarves and things and put everyone into modern dress, get them to agonize a bit, mention Virginia Woolf a few times, and there! Hey! I’ve got a serious novel. But you don’t actually have to do that. (Pauses) That was a bloody good answer, though I say it myself.
Terry Pratchett
Life is Beautiful? Beyond all the vicissitudes that are presented to us on this short path within this wild planet, we can say that life is beautiful. No one can ever deny that experiencing the whirlwind of emotions inside this body is a marvel, we grow with these life experiences, we strengthen ourselves and stimulate our feelings every day, in this race where the goal is imminent death sometimes we are winners and many other times we lose and the darkness surprises us and our heart is disconnected from this reality halfway and connects us to the server of the matrix once more, debugging and updating our database, erasing all those experiences within this caracara of flesh and blood, waiting to return to earth again. "Life is beautiful gentlemen" is cruel and has unfair behavior about people who looked like a bundle of light and left this platform for no apparent reason, but its nature is not similar to our consciousness and feelings, she has a script for each of us because it was programmed that way, the architects of the game of life they know perfectly well that you must experiment with all the feelings, all the emotions and evolve to go to the next levels. You can't take a quantum leap and get through the game on your own. inventing a heaven and a hell in order to transcend, that comes from our fears of our imagination not knowing what life has in store for us after life is a dilemma "rather said" the best kept secret of those who control us day by day. We are born, we grow up, we are indoctrinated in the classrooms and in the jobs, we pay our taxes, we reproduce, we enjoy the material goods that it offers us the system the marketing of disinformation, Then we get old, get sick and die. I don't like this story! It looks like a parody of Noam Chomsky, Let's go back to the beautiful description of beautiful life, it sounds better! Let's find meaning in all the nonsense that life offers us, 'Cause one way or another we're doomed to imagine that everything will be fine until the end of matter. It is almost always like that. Sometimes life becomes a real nightmare. A heartbreaking horror that we find impossible to overcome. As we grow up, we learn to know the dark side of life. The terrors that lurk in the shadows, the dangers lurking around every corner. We realize that reality is much harsher and ruthless than we ever imagined. And in those moments, when life becomes a real hell, we can do nothing but cling to our own existence, summon all our might and fight with all our might so as not to be dragged into the abyss. But sometimes, even fighting with all our might is not enough. Sometimes fate is cruel and takes away everything we care about, leaving us with nothing but pain and hopelessness. And in that moment, when all seems lost, we realize the terrible truth: life is a death trap, a macabre game in which we are doomed to lose. And so, as we sink deeper and deeper into the abyss, while the shadows envelop us and terror paralyzes us, we remember the words that once seemed to us so hopeful: life is beautiful. A cruel and heartless lie, that leads us directly to the tragic end that death always awaits us.
Marcos Orowitz (THE MAELSTROM OF EMOTIONS: A selection of poems and thoughts About us humans and their nature)
I do it because I believe that human connection is the only thing that will save us. I do it because I believe we learn empathy when we listen to other people’s stories and feel their pain with them. I do it because I know for certain that our world has an empathy problem with women, and this is one brave thing I can do to help fix it.
Katherine Center (Things You Save in a Fire)
Shame Resilience 101 Here are the first three things that you need to know about shame: We all have it. Shame is universal and one of the most primitive human emotions that we experience. The only people who don’t experience shame lack the capacity for empathy and human connection. We’re all afraid to talk about shame. The less we talk about shame, the more control it has over our lives. Shame is basically the fear of being unlovable—it’s the total opposite of owning our story and feeling worthy. In fact, the definition of shame that I developed from my research is: Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.1 Shame keeps worthiness away by convincing us that owning our stories will lead to people thinking less of us. Shame is all about fear. We’re afraid that people won’t like us if they know the truth about who we are, where we come from, what we believe, how much we’re struggling, or, believe it or not, how wonderful we are when soaring (sometimes it’s just as hard to own our strengths as our struggles). People often want to believe that shame is reserved for the folks who have survived terrible traumas, but this is not true. Shame is something we all experience. And while it feels as if shame hides in our darkest corners, it actually tends to lurk in all of the familiar places, including appearance and body image, family, parenting, money and work, health, addiction, sex, aging, and religion. To feel shame is to be human.
Brené Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are)
When we grow accustomed to neglecting beauty, we eventually become creatures of hatred. We lose our imagination, a virtue to which wonder is helplessly tied. Why care for barren land? Why advocate for justice in a system predicated on injustice? We become so accustomed to that bitter taste that we can taste nothing else. Slowly, even mirrors feel like an oppression. We become unable to conceive of anything worthwhile in our own image until we empty ourselves of all beauty and turn against our own bodies in disgust.
Cole Arthur Riley (This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us)
We, who so often think we're cultureless, can unpack a galaxy of stories from one garden weed. But the time has come for us to understand what these stories mean to us, and to reconnect with the other stories, too, which are all waiting for us in our gardens and surging up from the cracks in the pavement. We must tell them to our children, so that they can't imagine living without them. Telling them is an act of belonging, a way of pushing taproots deep into the ground. In a world full of restless and displaced people, it's an act of welcome, too. When we tell the stories of the things that inhabit our land, we help newcomers to read the deep terrain around them and perhaps to feel a little more at home. And storytelling is always an exchange; when we listen to what is told to us, we enrich our mythology. We get closer to the big beautiful metaphorical whole.
Katherine May (Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age)
Visions flood in as I watch her chest rise and fall . . . the second our eyes locked in my backyard, the flash of surety I initially dismissed but still rang true through every fiber of my being. She knows you. The long looks we shared across every space, to the minute we snapped on that float before we collided and were created. The same continuous buzz thrumming steadily as we stole glances of each other between the flip of pages as storms raged outside my window. Her fingers tracing my skin, wonder in her eyes, to running my palm reverently over her back—in awe of the heart that beat inside of her, wrapped in her mystery. To the burst of sun that lit her up in my passenger seat as she adjusted her honeysuckle crown. The laughter spilling from us where she lay beneath me, tangled in the sheets before our smiles faded. Hearts raw and aching as we locked together, lost in our connection, chests bouncing in unison due to the tie that bound us. That still binds us. A fate we created together. A story I’ll continue to relive without regret. Falling for her was worth hitting bottom—and every single ache that comes with it. Reaching out, I trace the curve of her cheek. “You gutted me, baby,” I croak in confession as my chest caves. “But I can’t say I don’t deserve it . . .” I falter, grunting through the pain consuming me. “You thrive on love, and I . . . we fucking starved your heart . . . we just left you here.
Kate Stewart (One Last Rainy Day: The Legacy of a Prince (Ravenhood Legacy Book 1))
So you’re saying everyone is a liar?” “I’m saying it’s the way of the world now to display yourself. And there is no putting that genie back in the bottle,” he said. “And some people integrate it well, they find social media connective. But for the rest of us, it’s a different story. Literally. And no one’s talking about it. The cost of curating your life.
Laura Dave (Hello, Sunshine)
Ultimately we are all alone, enclosed in a fixed shell with no exits. And each of us leads his life more or less inertly, more or less conscious and awake. This is a salutary realization that makes life easier and spares one failure. Which is why it's in equal measures cheerful, colourful, wonderful and thrilling. One must never let oneself be troubled by this pleasure in colourfulness and incomprehensible beauty, which is offered at every turn. Rather, one must b e grateful for it anywhere and at any time, sure in the knowledge that it is the inexhaustible outpouring of a secret harmony flowing through everything. And one must connect with this secret reality, the harmony of the universe, which one finds in the smallest and largest things. Then it flows into you, fills you, flows through you, shines from within you, finding your secret allies who will strengthen your soul with their power and make you lissom and flexible when life is tempestuous, felling and splitting mighty boughs.
Hans Herbert Grimm (Schlump: The Story of an Unknown Soldier)