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Narrative Story Quotes


"STORY, n. A narrative, commonly untrue." - Ambrose Bierce

"The best painting is totally non-narrative. It doesn't have to tell you a story." - Peter Greenaway

"There's a reason the Exodus story has inspired so many Americans. It's a narrative of hope." - Bruce Feiler

"The narrative constructs the identity of the character, what can be called his or her narrative identity, in constructing that of the story told. It is the identity of the story that makes the identity of the character." - Paul Ricoeur

"STORY, n. A narrative, commonly untrue. The truth of the stories here following has, however, not been successfully impeached." - Ambrose Bierce

"Finding one's voice - or creating a narrative voice that has the power to carry your story - is the hardest part." - Danielle Trussoni

"Jung Chang was the first person to tell a grand historical, political story through a personal narrative." - Aminatta Forna

"I prefer to bring these to the service of story rather than to let them replace narrative." - James Gunn

"I've always hated narrative songs. I hate those songs where, basically, it's an unfolding of a story." - Nick Cave

"For me, the main inspiration to write a story or novel is the voice of its central character, or the narrative voice of the story itself." - Scott Bradfield

"I think that everything in this life is a story you know; our own narrative, our own history, it's all a story." - Regina Spektor

"Narrative drives most of economics. Everything seems to be part of a story, and how that story is told often leads to critical error." - Barry Ritholtz

"If you do weave one-liners into a story, you have to have an overall story as well, otherwise it doesn't really count as narrative." - Tim Vine

"As a writer, I had learned a lot on 'Margin Call' about embracing the weaknesses of a narrative and of a project. A story always has an inherent narrative weakness." - J C Chandor

"I'm a music storyteller and collaborator. I hear character, location, and story as music. For me a score is there to both heighten the story and to actually tell the story with the unique emotional and narrative powers of music." - David Raiklen

"In all the history of the boxing game, you'll find no human interest story to compare with the life narrative of James J. Braddock." - Damon Runyon

"Escaping into the fantasy of intellectual investigation or narrative story telling makes me feel hopeful. That too is a fiction, but one that makes me feel good sometimes." - Andrew Neel

"Architectural and product designs have a narrative capacity - you can start to tell a story about them and imagine a lot of things." - Michael Graves

"Women don't question themselves when they enter into a story that has male characters, but men do question the validity of a female narrative." - Romola Garai

"I never start with the story first, which is maybe obvious, because the narrative line of my films is really not that strong or dramatic. They're very simple." - Jim Jarmusch

"The juxtaposition of words - the color, feeling, and sound of the words together - has as much to do with the story as the narrative itself does." - Chad Smith

"Cameron manhandles the real story, scavenging it for his own puny narrative purposes. It's a film made with boorish confidence and zero sensitivity, big and dumb and hulking." - Stephanie Zacharek

"Truth may be stranger than fiction on a plot and narrative basis, but fiction can investigate tone in a way that things based on a true story can't." - Ray Mckinnon

"Our own genomes carry the story of evolution, written in DNA, the language of molecular genetics, and the narrative is unmistakable." - Kenneth R Miller

"The word story is intended to alert the reader to the fact that, however closely the narrative may fit the facts, the fictional process has been at work." - Bruce Chatwin

"I think from an early age I was aware of how a camera can tell a story, how a movie camera can affect how the narrative is told." - Brian Selznick

"If you have distance from the events, then your story can work as an analogy or parable rather than its literal narrative." - Peter Morgan

"The word "story" is short for the word "history." They both have the same root and fundamentally mean the same thing. A story is a narrative on an event or series of events, just like history." - James M. Kouzes

"I'm a narrative-minded actor. I'm thinking of the story. I'm not worried about whether the camera is on the right side of my face, or where the camera is. I'm just going for the story." - Mark Duplass

"The passion for the story is the wind in your narrative sails. Begin at the heart. We must hear the heartbeat of the story. Love your characters into existence." - Patricia Lee Gauch

"Within a scantily plotted, novella-style narrative (the movie is an adaptation of a short story by Tom Bissell), single shots become story events that mere mention would spoil." - Karina Longworth

"Not all Peter Greenaway's stuff is sequential, narrative story. Some of it is like an art installation and I'm not particularly interested in being in an art installation to be honest. I'm interested in the story." - Martin Freeman

"I really like narrative songs, but I wonder if that's a thing for some people. Once they've heard the story, do they really need to hear the story again?" - Craig Finn

"Every good story needs a hero. Back when I wrote 'The Search,' that hero was Google - the book wasn't about Google alone, but Google's narrative worked to drive the entire story." - John Battelle

"It's probably why I'm a short story writer. I tend to remember things in the past in narrative form, in story form, and I grew up around people who told stories all the time." - Tobias Wolff

"What I like about narrative in general is when there is some incongruity between the form and content. Let's say, mixing up the gothic with a coming-of-age narrative. Telling a love story that's also a monster story. Mixing up superhero tropes with your monster tropes. I like category confusion." - Kelly Link

"I do think the challenge, in a way for me, is to write a narrative film and when you finish watching it you feel like it's a collage. You tell the narrative, you tell the story, but you feel like you've created this tapestry. But it also has a shape, a story." - Shane Black

"Every love story is a ghost story." - David Foster Wallace

"Separate the story - your story - from facts." - Deepak Chopra

"In 1990 I did a story with Helena Christensen about a woman who lives in a trailer in the middle of the desert and finds a little crushed UFO with a martian who has survived the crash. She takes him home, and they fall in love. Later he has to meet with his fellow martians who have arrived to rescue him. It's a sad ending. This was my first truly narrative story and apparently the first narrative story in fashion photography." - Peter Lindbergh

"Say you have a headline like "Mountain Bike Stolen," and then you read the story, read another story about it the next day, and then the next week, and then the next year. News is a process of expansion, the filling in of detail, and making narrative connections - not based on chronology, but based on features of the story. There are narrative connections made between props, between characters, between situations, and so forth." - Christopher Nolan

"Another story must begin!" - Victor Hugo

"Everyone's story matters." - William Joyce

"Everybody is a story." - Rachel Naomi Remen

"History is His story." - James Packer

"But that's another story." - Rudyard Kipling

"I'm obsessed with this idea of storytellers and people who have a narrative, and sometimes sustain a relationship because they're telling a narrative and someone is listening to that. Often the nature of the relationship is determined by how well they tell the story, or someone else's ability to suspend disbelief, or infuse into their narrative something which they may not even be aware of." - Atom Egoyan

"We cherish the conventional story of Dr. King and nonviolence, in fact, precisely because that narrative demands so little of us...This conventional narrative is soothing, moving, and politically acceptable, and has only the disadvantage of bearing no resemblance to what actually happened." - Timothy B. Tyson

"I never even considered writing a career option. I just liked the play of words. I was certainly interested in story, but the stories I was telling then were in narrative verse and prose poems, short and succinct, except for one novel-length poem written in narrative couplets." - Charles De Lint

"We cherish the conventional story of Dr. King and nonviolence, in fact, precisely because that narrative demands so little of us...This conventional narrative is soothing, moving, and politically acceptable, and has only the disadvantage of bearing no resemblance to what actually happened." - Timothy B. Tyson

"A narrative voice with conviction is often hard to find. But not in baseball. The minors teach two lost American arts: how to chew tobacco and how to tell a story." - Thomas Boswell

"If the great story of the last century was the conflict among various political ideologies-communism, fascism and democracy-then the great narrative of this century will be the changes wrought by astonishing scientific breakthroughs" - Cynthia Tucker

"Sometimes, if I had until the next day to turn the story in, I'd head home, finding that the knot in the narrative came loose with the rhythmic clacking of the subway train." - Calvin Trillin

"Why will people persist in reading strange meanings into the simplest of story? Is it not enough that a writer can entertain for a few hours with narrative without being suspected of 'significances' or symbolism or 'social trends'?" - Margaret Mitchell

"My Sunday school teachers had turned Bible narrative into children's fables. They talked about Noah and the ark because the story had animals in it. They failed to mention that this was when God massacred all of humanity." - Donald Miller

"...everything has a narrative, really, and if you can't understand a story and relate to it, figure out how you fit inside it, you're not really alive at all." - Catherynne M Valente

"A good writer gets better only by learning to cut, to remove the ornamental, the descriptive, the narrative, and especially the deeply felt and meaningful. What remains? The story remains." - David Mamet

"To be simple, I would say a story has to have a bit of narrative, if only "she says," and then enough of a creation of a different time and place to transport the reader." - Lydia Davis

"[In mountaineering, if] we look for private experience rather than public history, even getting to the top becomes an optional narrative rather than the main point, and those who only wander in high places become part of the story." - Rebecca Solnit

"When you're on stage, you build strong relationships with the actors, but it's a story you tell with the audience - you have to include them, you have to respond to them, they have to understand the narrative." - Romola Garai

"Telling our stories is what saves us. The story is enough... The very act of storytelling, of arranging memory and invention according to the structure of narrative is, by definition, holy." - James Carroll

"...everything has a narrative, really, and if you ca' understand a story and relate to it, figure out how you fit inside it, you're not really alive at all." - Catherynne M Valente

"Going slowly [...] was the best way of being reminded that there is a relationship between Here and There, and that travel narrative was the story of There and Back." - Paul Theroux

"I am not interested only in telling a story, but I want to tell it my way. I don't want my accent, my temperament, my narrative style to be compromised to fit into a mold of the Hollywood type." - Haile Gerima

"That's the definition of a mini-series. A mini-series is a show that has no continuing story or narrative elements between one group of episodes and another, so no, I wasn't surprised." - John Landgraf

"Why should there be only one sort of photography? I want to create images with elements of my choosing, narrative or evocative... I give myself a literary frame, I tell a story." - Sarah Moon

"But the biggest challenge overall was narrowing down the complex narrative elements into a clean and straightforward story while maintaining a sense of the cultural context that makes the film special." - Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

"A short story is "a short prose narrative, requiring from a half hour, to one or two hours in its perusal...having conceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out..." - Edgar Allan Poe

"I don't think comic timing is the same as music timing, but I definitely find that I've learned from just writing in general that songs can be narrative without having a story." - Steve Martin

"Get out of the office. Roam the frontline. Be observant. Hold your people accountable for creating the new narrative, a new story, in which your customers are the most important "characters". Because, you know, they really are." - Michael J. Silverstein

"Things either become unclear in a story or they're just ambiguous with no real point. So defined gray area with clarity that also works in the narrative, that's tricky." - Annette Bening

""The Cursed Wheel," which Declan [Shalvey] is starting here, is the one constant. It's a story in the backups that will go through the whole year and be the one consistent narrative. It anchors the entire [book]." - Scott Snyder

"I think shows that have more of a narrative and are about what's going to happen next, those need to wrap up as a complete story. But it's weird when a goofy comedy show needs to end." - Scott Aukerman

"We do not enjoy a story fully at the first reading. Not till the curiosity, the sheer narrative lust, has been given its sop and laid asleep, are we at leisure to savour the real beauties." - C S Lewis

"As project chief you are creating a narrative, a story, a good yarn. If you look at the process-journey that way, you and your gang will... dramatically up the odds of a WOW outcome! - published 05 November 2010" - Tom Peters

"Having made films, I know very well that the scope of the average 90- to 120-minute movie is about the same narrative heft as a long short story or a novella." - Paul Auster

"The urge to create a fictional narrative is a mysterious one, and when an idea comes, the writer's sense of what a story wants to be is only vaguely visible through the penumbra of inspiration." - Adam Johnson

"My work as a screenwriter has influenced my fiction. Writing screenplays forces you to consider many elements regarding story structure and other narrative devices that can be used to enhance the infinitely more complex demands of a novel." - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

"Children, I mean, think of your own childhood, how important the bedtime story was. How important these imaginary experiences were for you. They helped shape reality, and I think human beings wouldn't be human without narrative fiction." - Paul Auster

"Once I got into college, I discovered literature - in particular, multicultural literature. I just started to understand the power of story and narrative, and you know, like anyone else, I kind of wanted to do it, too." - Matt De La Pena

"Individual stories from the Bible had been made into movies, but no one had taken on the arc of the Bible story as one meta-narrative from Genesis to Revelation." - Roma Downey

"I was never raised with the traditional story of creation in religion, and because of that I think I had a lot of questions. And evolution, the evolutionary narrative, helped provide some of that for me." - Greg Graffin

"Oh yeah, I grew up with comics. You know, I always like to describe myself as a 'narrative junkie.' I love novels, I love comics, movies, TV. If it's a good story, I'm hooked." - David Liss

"Conventional forms of narrative allow for different points of view, but for this book I wanted a structure whereby each of the main characters contributed a distinctive version of the story." - Penelope Lively

"If you have a good story idea, don't assume it must form a prose narrative. It may work better as a play, a screenplay or a poem. Be flexible." - Hilary Mantel

"My dad's a Pentecostal minister, meaning that he's full of charisma. If he's telling a story about Noah's ark, you best know each tiger is going to be having their own little conversation and narrative." - John Boyega

"Big media are all about the angle, the spin. Look to the overarching theme that runs through each and every news story. Be hip to the meta-narrative peddled." - Ilana Mercer

"During his brilliant campaign, President Obama wove a powerful narrative about the American we all hope for. And that hope was grounded in a very powerful reality: President Obama's own inspiring life story." - Cynthia P Schneider

"As project chief you are creating a narrative, a story, a good yarn. If you look at the process-journey that way, you and your gang will ... dramatically up the odds of a WOW outcome!" - Tom Peters

"Once we truly grasp the message of the 'New Testament', it is impossible to read the 'Old Testament' again without seeing Christ on every page, in every story, foreshadowed or anticipated in every event and narrative." - Michael Horton

"The task is not primarily to have a story, but to penetrate the story, to discard the elements of it that are merely shell, or husk, that give apparent form to the story, but actually obscure the essence. In other words, the problem is to transcend the givens of a narrative." - Deborah Eisenberg

"One of the best ways to convince someone is to use a telling example, a story, a narrative. When Steve Jobs announced a new product, he told a story, exzlaining how a product would change the world as we know it. He turned Apple into a story whose challenges and adventures you want to hear about." - Kabir Sehgal

"Most people who read the autobiography perceive the narrative as a story that now millions of people know, and it was - it's a story of human transformation, the powerful epiphany, Malcolm's X journey to Mecca, his renunciation of the Nation of Islam's racial separatism, his embrace of universal humanity, of humanism that was articulated through Sunni Islam. Well, that's the story everybody knows." - Manning Marable

"Matthew loved the magi. He gave their story more square inches of text than he gave the narrative of the birth of Jesus. He never mentions the shepherds or the manger, but he didn't want us to miss the star and the seekers. It's easy to see why. Their story is our story." - Max Lucado

"The continuous narrative of existence is a lie. There is no continuous narrative, there are lit-up moments, and the rest is dark. When you look closely, the twenty-four hour day is framed into a moment; the still-life of the jerky amphetamine world. That woman-a pieta. Those men, rough angels with an unknown message. The children holding hands, spanning time. And in every still-life, there is a story, the story that tells you everything you need to know." - Jeanette Winterson

"Living "in" a story, being part of a narrative, is much more satisfying than living without one. I don't always know what narrative it is, because I'm living my life and not always reflecting on it, but as I edit these pages I am aware that I have an urge to see my sometimes random wandering as having a plot, a purpose guided by some underlying story." - David Byrne

"The meaning of the story is the story." - Flannery O'Connor

"Social Media begins with a story - your story." - Germany Kent

"I like having my own story remain my story." - David Benioff

"'Puffball' is a love story... no, it's a life story." - Nicolas Roeg

"My god is narrative filmmaking." - Darren Aronofsky

"I hear music as narrative." - Ajay Naidu

"If one loves stories, then one would naturally love the story of the story. Or the story behind the story, pick your preposition. It does seem to me to be a kind of animal impulse almost, a mammalian curiosity. For a reader to wonder about the autobiography in a fiction may be completely unavoidable and in fact may speak to the success of a particular narrative, though it may also speak to its failure." - Lorrie Moore

"Everyone's got a different story." - Emma Donoghue

"We are creatures of story." - Helen Dunmore

"Let the story tell itself." - Tim O'Brien

"We are surrounded by story." - Alice McDermott

"Every woman has a story." - Tyra Banks

"Every story has its demands." - Clint Eastwood

"I'm just a story teller." - Doris Lessing

"Rachel Resnick's story of love lost and love sought cracks open the timeworn addiction narrative to release something raw, probing, brave, and redemptive. The courage it took to write this story is challenged only by the courage it must have taken to live it. I sit in awe of such unflinching honesty. LOVE JUNKIE is memoir at its very best." - Hope Edelman

"After all, it was only a story,' I said, determined to prove her wrong. 'All manner of terrible things may happen in a story. They may be startling at the time, but it passes. One gets caught up in the narrative, but the dangers aren't real, are they? Things happen in any way the storyteller chooses. It is all just made up." - Chris Priestley

"I have a way of making narrative sculpture, where first you make a text and out of that text you make objects. I start with a story and then I make sculpture from that story, it's just that the stories become more and more elaborate." - Matthew Barney

"Say what you want about it, Hell is story-friendly... The mechanisms of hell are nicely attuned to the mechanisms of narrative. Not so the pleasures of Paradise. Paradise is not a story. It's about what happens when the stories are over." - Charles Baxter

"Most people are glad for somebody else to share their own story of how they have found spiritual help. The problems start when you begin to universalize your story - when your narrative becomes authoritative and begins affecting their lives as well." - Mark Dever

"That is many poets don't know how to tell a story and they don't have a sense of how to put things in order to tell a story and we thought the poets could learn from fiction writers something about developing a character over time who wasn't just you and also creating a narrative structure." - Edward Hirsch

"But most critically, sweet, never try to change the narrative structure of someone else's story, though you will certainly be tempted to, as you watch those poor souls in school, in life, heading unwittingly down dangerous tangents, fatal digressions from which they will unlikely be able to emerge. Resist the temptation. Spend your energies on your story. Reworking it. Making it better." - Marisha Pessl

"At the heart of any successful film is a powerful story. And a story should be just that: a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end, powerful protagonists that audiences can identify with, and a dramatic arc that is able to capture and hold viewers' intellectual and emotional attention." - Julia Bacha

"If you hear a statistic, you will make up a story to go with it, because our brains are organized on narrative. And you may very well make up a wrong story because you only have one fact, which is a statistic." - Gloria Steinem

"Media is extraordinarily important and is an extraordinarily powerful tool. There's a reason that the first things that a rebellion or revolt will take is the media. The story you transmit is the story that becomes a given, or the narrative of a country and people." - Dan Gilroy

"As popular culture becomes more presentist, we move away from entertainment as the vicarious experience of a narrative - as watching someone else's story - and much more toward enacting one's own story. Moving away from myths and toward fantasy role-playing games, away from movies and toward videogames." - Douglas Rushkoff

"We brainstorm an idea and then we do flesh it out a little bit - we come up with a script, mostly to have beats and a sense of a story and a narrative arc. Often when we get into the space and onto the location, that changes and something we discover in the moment becomes the moment, becomes the story, becomes the character." - Carrie Brownstein

"I just thought someone has to figure out how to break through that barrier and create a narrative for a black super hero story to unfold at the same scale as something like Star Wars. Rythm Mastr is about producing a narrative of a hero engaged in a struggle as complicated as those other stories. The catalyst for it was the beginning of the demolition of public housing in Chicago." - Kerry James Marshall

"I have a theory that, for people of color or others who have been cut out of the master narrative, just telling your personal survival tale, your story, is civic engagement. It is a kind of political performance and is really crucial in that storytelling is how the writers connect with people and change. It's how we collect and add to and complicate the master narrative." - Faith Adiele

"If we wish to know about a man, we ask 'what is his story-his real, inmost story?'-for each of us is a biography, a story. Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed, continually, unconsciously, by, through, and in us-through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and, not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations. Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives-we are each of us unique." - Oliver Sacks

"Love is a story we tell with another person. It's cocreation through conarration. When you hit bumps in the road and challenges, you write a new chapter in your story together. Love is the constant act of revising and retelling your own story in real time. You don't do it by yourself. You do it with someone else. The only way you do that is to talk to each other and create a shared narrative." - Bruce Feiler

"Abstraction didn't have to be limited to a kind of rectilinear geometry or even a simple curve geometry. It could have a geometry that had a narrative impact. In other words, you could tell a story with the shapes. It wouldn't be a literal story, but the shapes and the interaction of the shapes and colors would give you a narrative sense. You could have a sense of an abstract piece flowing along and being part of an action or activity. That sort of turned me on." - Frank Stella

"I do think the challenge, in a way for me, is to write a narrative film and when you finish watching it you feel like it's a collage. You tell the narrative, you tell the story, but you feel like you've created this tapestry. But it also has a shape, a story. So I think there's a middle ground I try to strike . . . away from where everyone else seems ready to go, which is, setup, payoff. You know, He's afraid of water, oh, and at the end he's swimming in water - Oh, my God. I hate that stuff." - Shane Black

"If you're a certain type of actor, then eventually stepping into a director's shoes is a natural transition. I've always been the actor who's very focused on the narrative, where my character is in the story, and how I can benefit the story. I've always had a technical aspect of what the lens is, how the camera is going to move, how I can feed the information the director applies within that move. If you're that type of actor, narrative-based, technically proficient, the next step is actually not that far." - Russell Crowe

"Writers are given one great story to tell their story. I'm telling my story as a political document." - Larry Kramer

"Directing made me realise what I do as an actor that's extraneous, it focuses your mind on story, story, story." - Matt Smith

"I tried to control the narrative." - Lance Armstrong

"Narrative tension is primarily about withholding information," - Ian Mcewan

"Specificity is the soul of narrative." - John Hodgman

"Narrative living is the beginning of rhetoric." - N.D. Wilson

"Narrative is the beginning of recovery." - Amanda Ripley

"Change the narrative, change the laws." - Ani Difranco

"You can reclaim your own narrative." - Paula Broadwell

"Partnerships are good engines for narrative." - Tommy Lee Jones

"With the adult ones, I feel I need to get as deep inside the psychology of a character as I can, and that needs to be first-person. In the children's books, I feel I need some distance. I don't want to be the nine-year-old at the center of the story. I need to have some type of narrative voice." - John Boyne

"As Razam so aptly demonstrates, a new kind of traveler is emerging-one that embarks into the mysterious and uncharted domain within, where they aim to conquer their own hearts. Written in the tradition of a great adventure narrative, Aya Awakenings is a timely story for a new emerging era." - Yossi Ghinsberg

"Music's the soundtrack of my life and has been since I was a teenager. There's always music. If I'm not playing it, I'm listening to it. With my writing...sometimes it inspires a story, sometimes it highlights something I'm working on, sometimes it simply helps me stay in the narrative mood." - Charles De Lint

"Voice is one of the most elusive qualities in any story. We recognize it when we hear it, but it's hard consciously to create an authentic voice. Somehow voice seems to be the natural manifestation of all the narrative decisions we've made so far. We discover it more than we fabricate it." - Philip Gerard

"The very act of story-telling, of arranging memory and invention according to the structure of the narrative, is by definition holy. We tell stories because we can't help it. We tell stories because we love to entertain and hope to edify. We tell stories because they fill the silence death imposes. We tell stories because they save us." - James Carroll

"I've had frustrated storytelling juices that have been lying dormant for a long time, and I guess the documentary was a way of me telling a story that I felt most qualified to tell. And I loved it, and I'd love to do something else someday, probably more narrative-based. But I'm in no rush." - Eric Bana

"I think we're always in the process of writing and rewriting the story of our lives, forming our experiences into a narrative that makes sense. Much of that work involves demythologizing family myths and cultural myths - getting free of what we have been told about ourselves." - Sam Keen

"I'm working on my own life story. I don't mean I'm putting it together; no, I'm taking it apart. If you'd wanted the narrative line you should have asked earlier, when I still knew everything and was more than willing to tell. That was before I discovered the virtues of scissors, the virtues of matches." - Margaret Atwood

"This is not a story of heroic feats, or merely the narrative of a cynic; at least I do not mean it to be. It is a glimpse of two lives running parallel for a time, with similar hopes and convergent dreams." - Che Guevara

"Since I play no mean part in the events of this chronicle, a few words concerning my own history previous to the opening of the story I am about to tell you will surely not be amiss, and they may help you to a better understanding of my narrative." - Charles Major

"Music's the soundtrack of my life and has been since I was a teenager. There's always music. If I'm not playing it, I'm listening to it. With my writing...sometimes it inspires a story, sometimes it highlights something I'm working on, sometimes it simply helps me stay in the narrative mood." - Charles De Lint



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