This is also part of the story: how the story changes.
Richard Siken, war of the foxes
Hungry man, reach for the book: it is a weapon.
Until then I had thought each book spoke of the things, human or divine, that lie outside books. Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of books: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.
Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose,(1980)
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.
Books, for me, are a home. Books don’t make a home – they are one, in the sense that just as you do with a door, you open a book, and you go inside. Inside there is a different kind of time and a different kind of space. There is warmth there too – a hearth. I sit down with a book and I am warm.
Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
I have read many books but I don’t believe them.
When it hurts we return to the banks of certain rivers.
Czesław Miłosz, New and Collected Poems: 1931-2001, “I Sleep A Lot” (tr. Czesław Miłosz)
One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.
The morality of fantasy and horror is, by and large, the strict morality of the fairy tale. The vampire is slain, the alien is blown out of the airlock, the Dark Lord is vanquished, and, perhaps at some loss, the good triumph - not because they are better armed but because Providence is on their side.
Why does the third of the three brothers, who shares his food with the old woman in the wood, go on to become king of the country? Why does Bond manage to disarm the nuclear bomb a few seconds before it goes off rather than, as it were, a few seconds afterwards? Because a universe where that did not happen would be a dark and hostile place. Let there be goblin hordes, let there be terrible environmental threats, let there be giant mutated slugs if you really must, but let there also be hope. It may be a grim, thin hope, an Arthurian sword at sunset, but let us know that we do not live in vain.
Terry Pratchett, Let There Be Dragons (1993)
In [fairy tales], power is rarely the right tool for survival anyway. Rather the powerless thrive on alliances, often in the form of reciprocated acts of kindness - from beehives that were not raided, birds that were not killed but set free or fed, old women who were saluted with respect. Kindness sown among the meek is harvested in crisis
Rebecca Solnit, introduction to The Faraway Nearby
That’s the second, and most important, thing you need to know about fairy tales: once a story starts, it won’t stop on its own. There’s too much narrative weight behind a moving story, and it wants to happen too badly. It won’t stop, unless somebody stops it.
For in a fairy tale, you find the most wonderful world. Yes, it is violent; and yes, there is loss. There is murder, incest, famine, and rot–all of these haunt the stories, as they haunt us. The fairy-tale world is a real world. Fairy tales contain a spell that is not false: an invocation to protect those most endangered on this earth. The meek shall inherit… went one of the very first stories I heard as a child. I believed it then, and still do.
Kate Bernheimer, introduction to My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me (ed. Kate Bernheimer)
If prose is a house, poetry is a man on fire running quite fast through it.
whenever I read a poem, I’m asking, “Does this save my life a little?”
Inez Tan, Poems That Can Save Your Life A Little (zocalopublicsquare.org) (May 8 2020)
Why one writes is a question I can answer easily, having so often asked it of myself. I believe on writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me - the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, at atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art.
The ability to tell a story, to tell the tale of who you are, where you're from, and have power over that, what I think that gives you is the power to have value, worth, place, but that gives you the power to dream.
Nakkiah Lui, Books That Made Us
Write anything. Truth or untruth, it is unimportant. Speak but speak with tenderness, for that is all that you can do that may help a little. Build a barricade of words, no matter what they mean. Speak so that he can be aware of your presence. Speak so that he knows that you are there not feeling his pain. Say anything, for his pain is larger than any distinction you can make between truth and untruth. Dress him with the words of your voice as others dress his wounds. Yes. Here and now. It will stop.
John Berger, G: A Novel