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Be Your Own Legend[1]

The Bards have been at our Story[2]

Here are all my Five Fingers – tell me a Story of Each[3]

Come ‘round and Tell me the Story of your Life sometime[4]

Once the Public Knows you’re a Writer, they bring the Characters and Events

To you … to him that has often told the Tales of Others, many tales will be Told[5]

If I talk to you in Fables and Parables it’s because it’s more Gentle for you that way[6]

I Narrate in the Present tense to make things more Palpable to Representation[7]

Tell me Stories: Rich Noisy functioning Madness, the selective Transforming

Of Reality, hard to Believe, Elusive, Irrational, Grand, Simple, and Gripping[8]

An Old Story does not Open the Ears as a New one does[9]

I Tell no one any Story but his Own[10]


I Never pay Attention to Preambles[11]

Once upon a Time – or maybe Twice[12]

It is perfectly Natural for the Sun to shine Initially – in

The Upper Lefthand Corner of the First Page of this book[13]

If you know the Beginning Well – the End will not Trouble you[14]

In the Beginning we think that we have a Beginning and an End[15]

A Story Swallows its First words – Forgets where it’s going[16]

Such a Beginning as this cannot be Followed by any thing[17]

Imparted to no Pages – the Pure Beginning of this Song[18]

How does it Start? The Sea has Endless Beginnings[19]

What’s Starting here started Long Ago[20]


Never Trust the Teller – Trust the Tale[21]

I don’t even Trust the Narrative of my own Life[22]

When he Tells the Story now he’s at the Center of it[23]

Trafficker in Climaxes and Thrills and Characterization

And wonderful Dialogue and Suspense and Confrontations[24]

False Idols of Omniscient Narrators click Causes into Effects[25]

More than a Lore-master: a great Mover of the Deeds that are done in our Time[26]

The Poet who is Writing of the Narrator’s Undoing has refused to be

Undone – and Disappears somewhere into the Ink without warning[27]

Something else must Connect Stories besides just this Me[28]

The Story is not all Mine – nor Told by Me Alone[29]

We shall Bravely Survive to Tell your Tale[30]


Make Yourself a Name in Story[31]

No man can Walk out on his Own Story[32]

Any Writer is in part all of his Characters[33]

We can’t Control our Characters after the Narrative has Begun[34]

We pass through without Coming or Going as the Narrators Differ[35]

Without exception their Imaginary Characters are more Animated, more Beautiful,

Happier and certainly Finer and more Real than the Poets and Creators themselves[36]

You can Drink the Ink from a Novel and know who Loves who[37]

We Die within the person of the Hero yet we Survive him –

And are ready to Die again with the next Hero just as safely[38]

Summoning people out of Words and then proposing

That these Word People are Closer to the Real Thing[39]

We are Made of Bone and Flesh and Story[40]


There are Stories that are Past Telling[41]

Such Tales as that will never Tempt my Tongue[42]

I am trying not to Tell Stories – or at any rate Not This One[43]

That’s the Trouble with you Readers: you Know all the Plots[44]

She Clumsily Collects her Story and Shakes it into order as if settling a pack of Cards for Dealing[45]

The Story I want to Narrate is not only Impossible to Narrate but first of all Impossible to Live[46]

There was a Point to this Story – but it has temporarily Escaped the Chronicler’s mind[47]

The Page Flips and you get Left Out of the Next Chapter[48]

They all say the Same Story – and None Tell Ours[49]

Then, Then, Then, Then – the Storyteller Stutters[50]


The Page is Dark and the Storyline Darker still[51]

The Table Sags under the Weight of these Stories[52]

How do we Tell this Story so that it does not become

Another facet of the original Assault, a Cruelty of Words?[53]

We’ve heard too many Atrocity Stories to be Thrilled by Actualities[54]

Every Story I want to tell Begins & Ends in Blood & us Reaching for each other[55]

My Work: to do More than to Reproduce the Toxic Stories I Inherited and Learned[56]

A Woful Agony Forces me to Begin my Tale – and then it Sets me Free[57]

The Stories don’t Kill me – but I’ll Die if I don’t Tell them to you[58]

We’re a Doomed People – so Regale us with Amusing Stories[59]

Ablaze with the Story and Darkened by its Ash[60]


Tale as Old as Time – Song as Old as Rhyme[61]

Fables that Time Invents to Explain its Passing[62]

The Heroic Tales that have Survived are those that Re-

Sonate with the Genetic Memories lodged in our Minds[63]

Once a Myth Crystallizes into Literary Form it is already Dead as Belief[64]

The Undying Verse wanders Majestically through the Arch of the Story as if through a Gate[65]

O you Fables Spurning the Known, Eluding the hold of the Known, Mount-

Ing to Heaven! Towers of Fables Immortal Fashion’d from Mortal Dreams![66]

I shall be Telling this with a Sigh somewhere Ages and Ages Hence[67]

A Myth is not a Story that is Untrue – but a Story so Profound,

So Majestic, that it can’t be Encompassed within mere Fact[68]

Dreams are Private Myths – Myths are Shared Dreams[69]

Tell the Same Stories until the Past is Left Behind[70]


If Everything is to come out Even in the End, then the End

Is Farther away than Anticipated and far Harder to Estimate[71]

Everything up to Now is a Story and everything After now is a Story[72]

All Stories come to an End Eventually – but do we know their Endings?[73]

Their Copious Stories, oftentimes Begun, End without Audience – and Never Done[74]

There has to be an End somewhere – it’s just that Nothing’s Labeled: This is the End[75]

“Is that the End of the Story?” “That’s the End of that One – there are Others”[76]

Real Events don’t have Endings – only the Stories Told about them do[77]

Without the Possibility of a Cessation No Art can come into Being[78]

“This Story is too Predictable” “How does it End?” “We All Die”[79]

“Do Tales have Ends?” “Only if it’s a Tiger’s”[80]


The Last Act Crowns the Play[81]

To Each his Own most Fitting End[82]

Count the Ways you Rewrite the Ending[83]

We Couple End and Beginning with a Steadfast Mind[84]

The End and the Beginning are One Thing to thee – who art Past the End[85]

Stories that once moved us Solidify into Stone – Subdue into Silence[86]

A Silence Suffuses the Story – and Softness the Teller’s Eye – and

The Children with no further Question, and only the Waves Reply[87]

It Begins like that – and Continues, with varying Shades

Of Intensity, on such a note right up to the Dénouement[88]

He that Endureth to the End shall be Saved[89]

Heaven is a Poem I Survive the End of[90]


There is One Story and One Story only[91]

A Confused Tale told by Too Many people[92]

Each Neighbor tells his Tale – and All Wonder[93]

Alert to the Multitudinous Details which tell a Story[94]

She can Convert things into their Barely Related Tangents[95]

There can never be a Single Story – there are only Ways of Seeing …

Never again will a Single Story be Told as though it were the only One[96]

We go inside and return to Mythology, Searching for some Deeper Correlation,

Some Distant, General Allegory to Soothe the Narrowness of the Personal Void[97]

How to Tell a Shattered Story? By Slowly becoming

Everybody – No: By Slowly becoming Everything[98]

The Universe is made of Stories – not of Atoms[99]

Stories are the Opposite of Gravity[100]

[1] Edmond Jabès tr. Rosemarie Waldrop, Notebook II

[2] Madeline Miller, Circe

[3] Hans Christian Andersen, The Elfin-Hillock

[4] Herman J. Mankiewicz & Orson Wells, Citizen Kane

[5] Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

[6] George Seferis tr. Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard, Last Stop

[7] Jacques Derrida tr. Gil Anidjar, Avowing – The Impossible

[8] Yann Martel, quoted by Theresa Malphurs Welford

[9] Somalian proverb

[10] C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

[11] Franz Kafka tr. John Williams, The Trial

[12] Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn, Erich Segal, Yellow Submarine

[13] Francis Ponge tr. Serge Gavronsky, The Sun as a Spinning Top (I)

[14] Wolof proverb

[15] Thich Nhat Hanh tr. Sherab Chödzin Kohn, True Love

[16] Torrin A. Greathouse, Medusa With the Head of Perseus

[17] Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

[18] Saint-John Perse tr. Denis Devlin, Exile

[19] Alice Oswald, Nobody

[20] Laura Hershey, Remember

[21] D.H. Lawrence

[22] Melissa Broder, A Conversation with Alex Dimitrov

[23] Natasha Trethewey, Duty

[24] Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

[25] Christopher Spaide, Give Me More Time

[26] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

[27] Nikky Finney, Introduction to Bestiary

[28] W.S. Merwin, The Child

[29] Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

[30] Christopher Amick & Ben Meckler, Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts 2.3: The Ballad of Brunchington Beach

[31] Homer tr. Samuel Butler, The Odyssey

[32] John Logan, Rango

[33] Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginning

[34] John Berger, And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos

[35] Ghassan Zaqtan tr. Fady Joudah, In Praise of Exile

[36] Hermann Hesse tr. Hilda Rosner, The Journey to the East

[37] Brendan Constantine, A Tour De Force

[38] Sigmund Freud, Thoughts on War and Death

[39] Philip Roth, American Pastoral

[40] Naomi Shihab Nye, Janna

[41] Erika Meitner, HolyMolyLand

[42] George Eliot, Middlemarch

[43] Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

[44] Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder & D.M. Marshman Jr., Sunset Boulevard

[45] Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass

[46] Italo Calvino tr. William Weaver, Meiosis

[47] Douglas Adams, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

[48] Willie Perdomo, Word to Everything I Love

[49] Solmaz Sharif, Reaching Guantánamo

[50] Rae Armantrout, Incorporation

[51] Charles Wright, Littlefoot 29

[52] Emily Ruehs-Navarro, The Mother of Exiles

[53] Susan Griffin, Torture

[54] Ernest Hemmingway, Soldier’s Home

[55] Michael Wasson, To Memorize the Continuous Lines of Your Bones [An American Lullaby]

[56] José Olivarez, Ars Poetica

[57] Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

[58] Dunya Mikhail, Tablets IV

[59] Tayeb Salih tr. Denys Johnson-Davies, Seasons of Migration to the North

[60] Terrance Hayes, Arbor for Butch

[61] Howard Ashman, Tale as Old as Time, in Beauty and the Beast

[62] John Ashbery, Years of Indiscretion

[63] George Monbiot, Civilization is Boring

[64] N.K. Sandars, Introductionto The Epic of Gilgamesh

[65] Walter Benjamin tr. Sebastian Truskolaski, Sketched into Mobile Dust

[66] Walt Whitman, Passage to India

[67] Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

[68] Philip Kapleau, Zen: Merging of East and West

[69] Joseph Campbell

[70] Bell Hooks, Appalachian Elegy 63

[71] Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

[72] Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

[73] Joyce Carol Oates, Capital Punishment

[74] William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis

[75] Haruki Murakami tr. Jay Rubin, 1Q84

[76] A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh and Some Bees

[77] James Galvin, The Story of the End of the Story

[78] Boris Groys tr. Thomas H. Ford, The Communist Postscript

[79] Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach, Fantastic Mr. Fox

[80] Silvia Park, Purge

[81] Francis Quarles, Epigram

[82] J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians

[83] C.D. Wright, Weapon of Opportunity

[84] Dante Alighieri tr. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Inferno

[85] Algernon Charles Swinburne, Ave Atque Vale

[86] Jidi Majia tr. Denis Mair, Vigil for the Bimo

[87] Emily Dickinson, Glee! The Great Storm Is Over

[88] F. Scott Fitzgerald, Winter Dreams

[89] Matthew 10:22 (King James)

[90] George Abraham, Ars Poetica with Parallel Dimensions

[91] Robert Graves, To Juan at the Winter Solstice

[92] Agatha Christie, N or M?

[93] Wilhelm & Jacob Grimm, The Elfin Grove

[94] Jack London, The Call of the Wild

[95] Avital Ronnell, Introduction to SCUM Manifesto

[96] John Berger, Ways of Seeing

[97] Yannis Ritsos tr. Edmund Keeley, Not Even Mythology

[98] Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

[99] Muriel Rukeyser, The Speed of Darkness

[100] Leslie Bentley, quoted by Debbi Brody in Santa Fe Soul Cento

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