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And now you’ll be telling stories
of my coming back
and they won’t be false, and they won’t be true,
but they’ll be real.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) American poet
“The First Time Percy Came Back,” A Thousand Mornings (2012)
Added on 24-Jan-24 | Last updated 24-Jan-24
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An attack upon our ability to tell stories is not just censorship — it is a crime against our nature as human beings.

Salman Rushdie (b. 1947) Indian novelist
“Public Event, Private Lives,” speech, University of Colorado, Boulder (2013-04-17)
Added on 14-Jun-23 | Last updated 14-Jun-23
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The suggestion that the world could be completely other than it is always annoys those who are content with the way things are. Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one. Rulers are suspicious of new worlds where their writ does not run. Jailers don’t like escapism.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Foreword to David Pringle, ed., The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1999)

Often just given as "Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one."
Added on 5-May-23 | Last updated 5-May-23
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“All stories are true,” Skarpi said. “But this one really happened, if that’s what you mean.” He took another slow drink, then smiled again, his bright eyes dancing. “More or less. You have to be a bit of a liar to tell a story the right way. Too much truth confuses the facts. Too much honesty makes you sound insincere.”

Patrick Rothfuss
Patrick Rothfuss (b. 1973) American author
The Name of the Wind, ch. 26 “Lanre Turned” (2007)
Added on 6-Mar-23 | Last updated 6-Mar-23
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I was stunned to realize that it was possible to make up things that had never happened but which felt as if they’d happened. The church had tried to convince me that there was only truth and falsehood and nothing in between, but the nuns and priests were wrong; the story in front of me was false, but in the reading of it my heart accepted it as true. I turned over the book to reveal the writer’s name. I hadn’t previously paid much attention to the names on book covers, but by god somebody sat down and wrote that story. Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could do that? I thought. And with an electric thrill I felt a key turn deep inside me.

J. Michael (Joe) Straczynski (b. 1954) American screenwriter, producer, author [a/k/a "JMS"]
Becoming Superman (2019)
Added on 21-Nov-22 | Last updated 22-Nov-22
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It’s simply not an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]

Variant: "It simply isn’t an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons."

Actually found in Sara Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance, "February 16: At the End of Our Exploring" (2005). Breathnach quotes an actual Tolkien warning about dragons earlier on the page, apparently leading people to misattribute this phrase of hers to Tolkien.

More discussion: Not a Tolkien quote: It simply isn't an adventure worth telling if there aren't any dragons - thetolkienist.com.
Added on 3-Mar-22 | Last updated 3-Mar-22
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A person, an individual being, has a thousand ways of conveying his feelings and thoughts. He is riches without end, he is a world in which we can always discover something new. A crowd, on the other hand, reduces the individuality of the person; a man in a crowd limits himself to a few forms of elementary behavior. The forms through which a crowd can express its yearnings are extraordinarily meager and continually repeat themselves: the demonstration, the strike, the rally, the barricades. That is why you can write a novel about a man, but about a crowd — never.

Ryszard Kapuściński (1932-2007) Polish journalist, photographer, poet, author
Shah of Shahs, Part 3 “The Dead Flame” (1982)
Added on 20-Jul-21 | Last updated 20-Jul-21
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Each evening, from December to December,
Before you drift to sleep upon your cot,
Think back on all the tales that you remember
Of Camelot.
Ask ev’ry person if he’s heard the story,
And tell it strong and clear if he has not,
That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory
Called Camelot.

Alan Jay Lerner (1918-1986) American dramatist, lyricist, composer
“Finale Ultimo (Camelot Reprise)” [Arthur], Camelot(1960; 1967)

Based on T.H. White, The Once and Future King (1958).
Added on 19-Jan-21 | Last updated 19-Jan-21
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Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.

Jean-Luc Godard (b. 1930) French-Swiss film director, screenwriter, critic
Added on 11-Mar-20 | Last updated 11-Mar-20
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An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) French writer, novelist
Letter to Louise Colet (9 Dec 1852)

In a later letter to Leoroyer de Chanepie (18 Mar 1857), he repeated the sentiment: "The artist must be in his work as God is in creation, invisible and all-powerful; one must sense him everywhere but never see him."
Added on 13-Feb-20 | Last updated 10-Jun-21
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There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man — a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call … the Twilight Zone.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
Twilight Zone, Introduction (1959)
Added on 20-Mar-17 | Last updated 20-Mar-17
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It seems to me that life’s circumstances, being ephemeral, teach us less about durable truths than the fictions based on those truths; and that the best lessons of delicacy and self-respect are to be found in novels where the feelings are so naturally portrayed that you fancy you are witnessing real life as you read.

Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) Swiss-French writer, woman of letters, critic, salonist [Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, Madame de Staël, Madame Necker]
Delphine, Preface (1802)
Added on 22-Dec-15 | Last updated 22-Dec-15
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And yet there is a degree to which […] all literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction. […] Through parody and pastiche, allusion and homage, retelling and reimagining the stories that were told before us and that we have come of age loving — amateurs — we proceed, seeking out the blank places in the map that our favorite writers, in their greatness and negligence, have left for us, hoping to pass on to our own readers — should we be lucky enough to find any — some of the pleasure that we ourselves have taken in the stuff we love: to get in the game. All novels are sequels; influence is bliss.

Michael Chabon (b. 1963) American author
“Fan Fictions: On Sherlock Holmes,” Maps and Legends (2008)
Added on 10-Apr-14 | Last updated 10-Apr-14
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