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Narratives Quotes


"My shows are not narratives." - Brian Eno

"Adults need more complex narratives. They have their own narratives. The main characters are themselves." - Haruki Murakami

"Meaning arises from loving life, not from goals or narratives." - Julio Olalla

"I seek to widen, narrow narratives of women of color." - Michaela Angela Davis

"People are interested in examining the way we consume narratives." - Rod Blackhurst

"I think we have become oversaturated with tired fictional narratives." - Lucy Walker

"I create fictional narratives, but it's based on literal people." - Danai Gurira

"A trial is two narratives competing for your attention." - Harlan Coben

"In spite of recent trends towards fabricating photographic narratives, I find, more than ever, traditional photographic capture, the 'discovery' of found narratives, deeply compelling." - Richard Misrach

"My role in the government was not to think about narratives and consistency with narratives, but think of the human consequences of rules." - Cass Sunstein

"The media doesn't create narratives, really. They're not that powerful. What they do is they tap into narratives that are already bubbling amongst their viewership or readership." - Beau Willimon

"We breathe, we think, we conceive of our lives as narratives." - Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

"Nostalgia keeps dissolving the ironic narratives in which I have contained my past." - Mason Cooley

"One hopes that each piece contains enough space for several narratives." - Kiki Smith

"Prose, narratives, etcetera, can carry healing. Poetry does it more intensely." - Ted Hughes

"Our lives are a long series of acquiring and then sloughing narratives." - Melissa Febos

"Within neoliberal narratives, the message is clear: Buy/ sell/ or be punished." - Henry Giroux

"I'm pretty much good at heroic narratives and making people laugh." - Joss Whedon

"I think that through the narratives of other people you get closer to your own." - Chath Piersath

"I do use art as a site of protest, particularly in relation to dominant narratives." - Vivek Shraya

"Art in the United States is a kind of visual entertainment focusing on expected narratives." - Massimiliano Gioni

"Ignore the trade-pub narratives about how little success indies enjoy." - Nathan Lowell

"The most qualified? No. I think they went for this - excuse me - political bullshit about narratives." - Peggy Noonan

"The bone-breaking thing is something that I put in many narratives." - Guy Maddin

"The Passion narratives are the first pieces of the Gospels that were composed as a unity." - Hans Urs Von Balthasar

"Writing a children's book means you cannot spin out long narratives or have complex character development." - Norman Macleod

"Stories are different every time you tell them - they allow so many possible narratives." - David Antin

"I love movies, I love television, I love narratives of all kinds." - Michael Cunningham

"We breathe, we think, we conceive of our lives as narratives." - Christopher Lehmannhaupt

"I'm mostly drawn to narratives that are difficult for me to visualize." - Dana Schutz

"I was an English-literature major, and that's all about stories and narratives." - Rachel Weisz

"A lot of my early career, I wrote story songs that had narratives, that had plots." - Rupert Holmes

"Pierrot le Fou is something I keep coming back to. Its so surreal but still really engaging - it proves narratives within narratives are a landscape that can be pursued well." - Shane Carruth

"Even within single sentences, there are sudden changes of register. And when the travellers go to Venice, they see a play by Voltaire! This is a novel [Candid] which has narratives within narratives, such as when Cunegonde recounts her story." - Mark Ravenhill

"Narratives are not fixed. We change our narratives for ourselves and we change them not necessarily deliberately. In other words, some people do, some people will constantly reconstruct their biography for external purposes, it's a very interesting political ploy." - Antonio Damasio

"Narratives have the same power, I think. Some readers of my novels ask me, "Why do you understand me?". That's a huge pleasure of mine because it means that readers and I can make our narratives relative." - Haruki Murakami

"'Pierrot le Fou' is something I keep coming back to. It's so surreal but still really engaging - it proves narratives within narratives are a landscape that can be pursued well." - Shane Carruth

"Every myth is psychologically symbolic. Its narratives and images are to be read, therefore, not literally, but as metaphors." - Joseph Campbell

"By all means, avoid words-threats, complaints, justification, narratives, reframing, attempts to win arguments, supplications; avoid words!" - Nassim Nicholas Taleb

"All narratives, even the confusing, are implicitly hopeful; they speak of a world that can be ordered, and thus understood." - Lucy Grealy

"The future of the codex book, with pages and so forth? A platform for transmitting narratives. There are others." - Margaret Atwood

"Within neoliberal narratives, youth are mostly defined as a consumer market, a drain on the economy, or stand for trouble." - Henry Giroux

"To me, it's just that social media is allowing people to be in charge of their own narratives." - Jose Antonio Vargas

"If one writes the rules then one can contradict oneself. It's all about rhetoric, about official narratives." - Kate Zambreno

"I started a production company out of necessity, the need for great narratives for actors of color." - Viola Davis

"We all love narratives where we're the captain of our boat, and Americans love them more than anybody else." - Anne-Marie Slaughter

"This does not make the authors of those narratives liars; it makes them servants of fallible human memory and perception." - Tom Bissell

"I'm fond of implied narratives, oblique angles, and leaving a little room for the viewer to finish a picture." - Keith Carter

"If you do a sketch, that's a very short narrative. Stand-up, it's bit-to-bit, minute-long narratives." - Kumail Nanjiani

"As human beings, we are all not conducting just one narrative but many narratives all at the same time." - David Hare

"Our culture thrives on black-and-white narratives, clearly defined emotions, easy endings, and so, this thrust into complexity exhausts." - Caroline Knapp

"Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives - we are each of us unique." - Oliver Sacks

"Blog culture has a hard time digesting narratives, but it has an easy time digesting 'big ideas' pieces." - Hanna Rosin

"Extremist perspectives win sympathy and recruits because they offer narratives that claim to identify deep injustices and enemies." - Jonas Gahr Store

"Generally, I start by observing the existing and popular narratives in my social spheres and media, and the pressures I face in my own life experiences. As someone who is "newly" trans, I am constantly thinking about what the dominant narratives are around transness, how my work can push against these narratives, and how it already falls into these traps." - Vivek Shraya

"I like the idea of building this wandering, epic narrative in a form that people don't expect epic narratives to appear." - Lucas Neff

"A society that's addicted to narratives with beginnings, middles, and endings will eventually yearn to end. We just want it to end." - Douglas Rushkoff

"God' - as revealed in his book of edicts and narratives is practically an idiot. He has nothing to say that any sensible person should want to listen to." - Johann Most

"If you're not [Federico] Fellini you might make something very vulgar. Animation made it possible to maintain unity with all these different narratives." - Marjane Satrapi

"Few have been in my secret while I was compiling these narratives, nor is it probable that they will ever become public during the life of their author." - Walter Scott

"The truth about life was that nothing ever ended until you died, and even then you just left a whole bunch of unresolved narratives behind you." - Nick Hornby

"Delicacy - a sad, sad false delicacy - robs literature of the two best things among its belongings: Family-circle narratives & obscene stories." - Mark Twain

"I like the idea of a big caesura between the narratives, a space which readers can fill in with their own speculative history." - Jonathan Coe

"Every great narrative is at least two narratives, if not more - the thing that is on the surface and then the things underneath which are invisible." - Ali Smith

"The narratives of Scripture were not meant to describe our world ... but to change the world, including the one in which we now live." - Stanley Hauerwas

"I do think any modern storyteller is influenced by the stories we all grow up with and become familiar with, our shared cultural narratives." - Ian Doescher

"In "Twilight," the narratives are more literal, and the event is much more spectacular. The pictures in "Beneath the Roses" are much more psychological and grounded in reality." - Gregory Crewdson

"You have all these people in the press who are ringing their hands over fake news stories. That actually became the narratives for critics." - Joe Scarborough

"You have to suspend thinking in narratives. The moment you are conscious of yourself the gap opens up. And in this gap, stories are generated." - Aleksandar Hemon

"Thinking through how you find that intersection between individual, compelling human narratives and structural, systemic injustices - that's the place that's most interesting to me as a reporter." - Sarah Stillman

"Fiction is risky for writers also in that the process of making certain books, of shaping certain narratives, leaves scars and marks on your inner life." - Chris Abani

"People don't think in terms of information. They think in terms of narratives. But while people focus on the story itself, information comes along for the ride." - Jonah Berger

"Most people aren't familiar enough with what actually goes on in professional wrestling to know just how badly women are treated in WWE narratives." - Jackson Katz

"I think it's very improtant and healthy to tell differnt stories than the corporatist narratives we are being asked to swallow hook, line and sinker." - John Cusack

"If we need simple narratives so people can amplify and spread them, are we forced to engage only with the simplest of problems?" - Ethan Zuckerman

"A lot of the drive to make narratives came from having to play by myself as a 5- or 6-year-old in the woods." - Matthew Tobin Anderson

"I really admire Werner Herzog and Spike Lee. They're amazing documentarians. If you took away all the narratives, they'd just be amazing documentarians." - Ava Duvernay

"Somebody must be up and somebody must be down. Trouble is, campaigns are messy, subtle creatures that don't follow convenient narratives." - Ron Fournier

"The truth is, narratives of self-justification burble beneath more of our relationships and endeavors than we would care to admit." - Tullian Tchividjian

"I plan less and less. It's a great benefit of writing lots, that you get good at holding long narratives in your head like a virtual space." - Jonathan Lethem

"When I began 'All Our Names,' I did so wanting to create parallel narratives between Africa in the nineteen-seventies and America during that same period." - Dinaw Mengestu

"In high school, I began to dig my way into Ethiopian history, and began to understand myself as a young man formed by multiple narratives." - Dinaw Mengestu

"I love creating individual short stories within chapters, but I want to get better at building consistent narratives from start to finish." - David Crabb

"My sister-in-law believes that few narratives are so tightly constructed that you can't skip boring bits and still keep abreast of what's going on." - Arthur Smith

"Gradually it occurred to me that we spend a great deal of life asleep and that dreams are little narratives, little stories. I thought, 'Who's choreographing this stuff?'" - Sue Monk Kidd

"'God' - as revealed in his book of edicts and narratives is practically an idiot. He has nothing to say that any sensible person should want to listen to." - Johann Most

"The failures of other genres to provide an emotional connection with some of their characters and narratives gives memoir a toehold." - Mary Karr

"Culture and technology exist in a dynamic reciprocal relationship. Culture comprehends technology through the means of narratives or myths, and those narratives influence the future shape and purposes of technology. The culture-technology circuit is at the heart of cultural evolution." - Brenda Laurel

"The real world is devoid of narratives, after all. Narratives are just a thing that our brains do with facts in order to draw a line around the incomprehensible largeness of reality and wrestle it into something learnable and manipulable. Existence is devoid of plot, theme, and most of all moral." - Charles Stross

"I think we all are born inside of our parents' narratives. We stay there for a good while. We are taught their narratives about everything: their marriage, the world, God, gender, identity, etcetera. Then, at some point, our own narrative develops too much integrity to live inside that story. We don't ever fully escape it, but we move into our own stories." - Melissa Febos

"No set of legal institutions or prescriptions exists apart from the narratives that locate it and give it meaning. For every constitution there is an epic, for each decalogue a scripture. Once understood in the context of the narratives that give it meaning, law becomes not merely a system of rules to be observed, but a world in which we live." - Robert M. Cover

"It is however, difficult to make your narratives relative by yourself. A novelists' work is to provide models to make your narratives relative. If you read my novels then you may feel, "I have the same experience as this narrative", or "I have the same idea as this novel". It means that your narrative and mine sympathize, concord and resonate together." - Haruki Murakami

"I believe in broken, fractured, complicated narratives, but I believe in narratives as a vehicle for truth, not simply as a form of entertainment, though I love entertainment, but also a way of conveying what needs to be conveyed about the works that I care about." - Stephen Greenblatt

"North Korea aside, most authoritarian governments have already accepted the growth of the Internet culture as inevitable; they have little choice but to find ways to shape it in accord with their own narratives - or risk having their narratives shaped by others." - Evgeny Morozov

"As if channeling Robbe-Grillet, who strove to establish 'new relations between man and the world,' Sesshu Foster's electrifying prose poems tenderly examine then fiercely weave stark-and-broken realities into luminous dream-like narratives on the game of life." - Wanda Coleman

"Carol Guess's poems are sexy, intuitive, angry, and hopeful. These lyrical narratives measure the impossibly small distance between love and fear. They are a reminder that we're all vulnerable little vessels filled by the people who can break us." - Zachary Schomburg

"What's interesting is that when you get into the post-war period, many of the narratives in books and movies conclude that if you killed Hitler, you're actually going to make history worse." - Gavriel David Rosenfeld

"The very admission of the need to harmonize is an admission that the burden of proof is on the narratives, not on those who doubt them. What harmonizing shows is that despite appearances, the texts still might be true." - Robert M. Price

"Movements have narratives. They tell stories, because they are not just about rearranging economics and politics. They also rearrange meaning. And they're not just about redistributing the goods. They're about figuring out what is good." - Marshall Ganz

"one of Mr. [Thomas] Hardy's ancestors must have married a weeping willow. There are pages and pages in his collected poems which are simply plain narratives in ballad form of how an unenjoyable time was had by all." - Rebecca West

"What suggests to non-Evangelical scholars that the resurrection narratives contain legendary accounts? First there is a variety of apparent contradictions in the stories which in any ancient narrative would have to arouse the historian's suspicion." - Robert M. Price

"Between the experience of living a normal life at this moment on the planet and the public narratives being offered to give a sense to that life, the empty space, the gap, is enormous." - John Berger

"People think in narratives - in beginnings, middles and ends. The danger when you edit something too severely is that it no longer makes sense; worse still, it leaves people with the disquieting impression that something is being hidden." - Errol Morris

"When we look at what's going on in the world and we see the immense level of conflict that seems to always be happening - you can always trace it back to competing narratives." - Steven Soderbergh

"I like the stories. I like the narratives that you get in fashion photography. And I like what the clothes do to the body - the patterns and stripes and all of that." - Chantal Joffe

"When media "narratives" about [Pope] Francis get set in concrete, and act as filters bending or distorting (or ignoring) aspects of his vision and his teaching that don't fit the established story line, the Church has a problem." - George Weigel

"As a friend at a major American newspaper said to me when I complained about this tendency in his own paper, "You know how these media narratives are. They're like bamboo." Meaning, once they start growing, you can't kill them." - George Weigel

"In a general sense, to convert any short story, novel, play, or opera into a movie, you have to re-rig it. Even though they're all narratives over time, they're very different forms." - Alexander Payne

"The future of narrative? Built in, part of the human template. Not going away. The future of the codex book, with pages and so forth? A platform for transmitting narratives." - Margaret Atwood

"Voltaire's novel [Candid] offers us parallel universes, the possibility of entering into alternative worlds existing side by side, and this is something quite modern. Nested narratives and parallel universes are popular at the moment in many different art forms." - Mark Ravenhill

"I think it's very important that LGBT narratives are spoken from LGBT perspectives. I think that what I do is important as far as creating a lane for myself to be independent." - Cakes da killa

"I'm not great at fear. I made the least frightening vampire show ever on TV. I'm pretty much good at heroic narratives and making people laugh, and that's pretty much it." - Joss Whedon

"One of the reasons that politics lets us down is that we keep comparing it to our ideal narratives, to politics on TV or in the movies, which is tidier and better fits such structures." - George Lakoff

"We live in a world of competing narratives. In the end, we have to decide for ourselves which is right. And having made that decision, we then need to inhabit the story we trust." - Alister E. McGrath

"With some songs, I have written narratives or I've tried to carry it through, but generally the things that were more genius, as far as I was concerned, were not that." - Stephen Malkmus

"Many images of animals, mammals or birds, resurface regularly in my narratives. They are not symbols, but chromatic benchmarks. For me, music has always been the perfect construction - an inaccessible ideal." - Dumitru Tepeneag

"I came to New York, and it was a really cool time. People like Jim Jarmusch and Spike Lee were making their first movies, and they were making movies that were personal narratives." - Christine Vachon

"There is a visual narrative that is implicitly understandable even when you don't understand the words and in a good comic, and they are hard to find, but good comics have parallel intertwined narratives." - Francoise Mouly

"In addition to encouraging us to participate in narratives of "deservingness" that cast large parts of our constituencies as "undeserving," legal reform strategies encourage us to valorize harmful systems that our movements should be seeking to dismantle." - Dean Spade

"I just hope this [Emmy] is now a part of the status quo that women of color are included in the narratives that continue to write lead roles for us." - Viola Davis

"As hard as you try and create narratives about sports, once the ball is in the air, there's not a damn thing you can do about it, it's just very real." - Ian Mackaye

"Believing in fate has probably always arisen in part because of the delights and terrors of storytelling. We have to realize-to learn-that in life we are not the readers but the authors of our own narratives." - Margaret Visser

"In constructing our narratives, we identify which particular events or experiences were formative or transformative. In telling our stories, we also claim some authority over our own experiences and their meanings." - Peg O'Connor

"Just as Renaissance artists provided narratives for the era they lived in, so do I. I'm always looking beyond the surface. I've done that ever since I first picked up a camera." - David Lachapelle

"One of the great pluses of being an immigrant is you get to start again in terms of your identity. You get to shed the narratives which cling to you." - Joseph Oneill

"Fiction connects: past and present; the great and the small; the surface with the depths. Fiction brings out the innermost, invisible springs of life that cannot be revealed in factual narratives." - Varley Oconnor

"In simple hearts the feeling for the beauty and grandeur of nature is a hundred-fold stronger and more vivid than in us, ecstatic composers of narratives in words and on paper." - Mikhail Lermontov

"There's a long history of anthropomorphic animals in Japanese literature. The so-called 'funny animal scrolls' were the first narratives in Japanese history, and the heroes of many folk tales have animals as their companions." - Stan Sakai

"In documentaries, there's a truth that unfolds unnaturally, and you get to chronicle it. In narratives, you have to create the situations so that the truth will come out." - Ava Duvernay

"'Game of Thrones' is the broadest of narratives. I don't know if anyone in the U.S. has done a story on such a large scale before, both in terms of what George R.R. Martin wrote and what's on the show." - Alex Graves

"Films and television and even comic books are churning out vast quantities of fictional narratives, and the public continues to swallow them up with great passion. That is because human beings need stories." - Paul Auster

"The language of chemistry simply does not mesh with that of biology. Chemistry is about substances and how they react, whereas biology appeals to concepts such as information and organisation. Informational narratives permeate biology." - Paul Davies

"I'm one of those apocalyptics. From the start of my immigrant days, I've been fascinated by end-of-the-world stories, by outbreak narratives, and always wanted to set a world-ender on Hispaniola." - Junot Diaz

"One of the great pluses of being an immigrant is you get to start again in terms of your identity. You get to shed the narratives which cling to you." - Joseph O'Neill

"Over the centuries we have transformed the ancient myths and folk tales and made them into the fabric of our lives. Consciously and unconsciously we weave the narratives of myth and folk tale into our daily existence." - Jack Zipes

"A history of perceived humiliation, after all, lurks behind many acts of terror. And competing narratives of victimhood and insults sustain conflicts in the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Middle East and many other regions." - Serge Schmemann

"It is the province of poetry to be more realistic and present than the artificial narratives of an outer discourse, and not afraid of the truthful difficulty of the average human life." - David Whyte

"Confronting and undermining the narratives and ideas of extremism must therefore be one of our key tasks. To do this, we must retain the courage of our convictions in the face of extremism." - Jonas Gahr Store

"The reason why bookstores are going out of business in the States is that people just can't focus on longer narratives now - even narrative film is in crisis in many ways, unless it's an adventure film." - Barbara Kruger

"I'd have been a filmmaker or a cartoonist or something else which extended from the visual arts into the making of narratives if I hadn't been able to shift into fiction." - Jonathan Lethem

"My sisters would swear that I was the spoiled kid who got everything he wanted, and I would go "No way! I worked my ass off and you guys got everything." We're all kind of in our own narratives." - Richard Linklater

"Post-modernism was the worst thing that could have happened to our democracy. The idea that you have to deconstruct and destroy all grand narratives is not a good one." - Emmanuel Macron

"You could ask: Why are people attracted to narratives that justify the terrible things that we're doing to the planet? Why are people attracted to narratives of control and fear and hunting down the terrorists, and this uncaring attitude toward nature? These come from what I call the perceptions of separation and the experience of separation, the experience of alienation, the experience of scarcity and anxiety and competition, and a world in which everybody is out for themselves and nobody cares." - Charles Eisenstein

"We normally think of history as one catastrophe after another, war followed by war, outrage by outrage - almost as if history were nothing more than all the narratives of human pain, assembled in sequence. And surely this is, often enough, an adequate description. But history is also the narratives of grace, the recountings of those blessed and inexplicable moments when someone did something for someone else, saved a life, bestowed a gift, gave something beyond what was required by circumstance." - Thomas Cahill

"I'm interested in representation that falls outside of what would be socially appropriate, or acceptable, or beautiful. The world is going through a very fundamentalist moment. You have right-wing politics and misogyny and religion employed together everywhere - here in the US, with issues like abortion. Religion is a very fraught and complicated topic, but at the same time, like all grand historical narratives, there is a potential for challenging, or rethinking the kinds of subjectivities that these meta-narratives produce." - Chitra Ganesh

"I see God now as an unimaginative writer of popular fictions, someone who builds stories around sadistic and graceless plots, narratives that exist only to express His terror of a woman's power to choose who and how to love, to redefine love as she sees fit, not as God thinks it ought to be. The author is unworthy of His own characters." - Joe Hill

"I loved the show Lost, in part because the writers were so nimble in how they would take things from previous episodes, that probably weren't created with any intent towards a larger narrative, and they would get woven into narratives in a really elegant and exciting way." - Ed Helms

"We can never safely exceed the actual facts in our narratives. Of pure invention, such as some suppose, there is no instance. To write a true work of fiction even is only to take leisure and liberty to describe some things more exactly as they are." - Henry David Thoreau

"In the books by Ruy-Sanchez we find again the erotic conviction that allows us to read with all the skin. The erotic, in his narratives is not a subject or a phrase, it is the clay of what they are made. In his novels every experience, trivial or extraordinary, breaths through the erotic." - Alberto Manguel

"I have always been aware that I can never represent all trans people. No one or two or three trans people can. This is why we need diverse media representations of trans folks to multiply trans narratives in the media and depict our beautiful diversities." - Laverne Cox



Narratives, Grand Narratives, Writing Narratives,