thoughts on story: stolen

The following quotes come from the book Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card:

"There is no reason to create art except to present it to other people; and you present it to other people in order to change them."

"What anyone trained as an editor or rewriter knows is that the text is not the story--the text is merely one attempt to place the story inside the memory of the audience. The text can be replaced by an infinite number of other attempts. Some will be better than others, but no text will be 'right' for all audiences, nor will any one text be 'perfect.' The story exists only in the memory of the reader, as an altered version of the story intended (consciously or not) by the author. It is possible for the audience to create for themselves a better story than the author could ever have created in the text. Thus audiences have taken to their hearts miserably-written stories like Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, because what they received transcended the text; while any number of beautifully written texts have been swallowed up without a trace, because the text, however lovely, did a miserable job of kindling a living story within the reader's memories."

"All human societies hunger for storytellers, and those whose tales we like, we reward well. In the meantime, the storytellers are constantly reinventing and redefining their society. We are paid to bite the hand that feeds us. We are birds that keep tearing down and rebuilding every nest in the tree."

"Even the cruelest or weakest among us must find stories that excuse--or even ennoble--their own character flaws."

"All human beings engage in storytelling about themselves, creating the story they want to believe about themselves, the story they actually believe about themselves, the story they want others to believe about them, the stories they believe about others, and the stories they are afraid might be true about themselves and others.

"Our very identity is a collection of the stories we have come to believe about ourselves. We are bombarded with the stories of others about us; even our own memories of our own lives are filtered through the stories we have constructed to interpret those past events. We revise our identity by revising our self-story."

"The more important a community is to us, the more power its stories have in forming our view of the world--and in shaping our own behavior."

"Those of us who have received a story and believed in its truth (even if we don't believe in its factuality) carry those memories inside us and, if we care enough about the tale, act out the script it provides us."


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