The purpose of a story often is the explication of our human condition (89).
A story is a combustion through written language, those sticks of words rubbed together. Language is an agreed-upon event. A carrier of meaning in sound or the silence of black flecks of writing on the page, the fish caught in a cage (91).
There’s an old magic of speaking into being. When you get it right, the story enters real life (91).
At the core of writing is the road map for the movement of travel (91).
From the introduction
Written language seems to me a landscape. Land bound up in words. I pick up stones or rocks in travel as texts that I can read.
There is a map you open like a book. There are books you open like a map.
There is a map you decide to call a book. A book of territories you’ve traveled. A book of the in-between places you’ve lived. A map is a meaning you hold against the unknowing. The places you speak in many directions…
Maybe instead of morality versus amorality, it is a question of multi-morality in a multi-moral world. I’m not sure what that means. I’m not sure I like what it could mean. I need to believe in good and evil. I need the separation. The security of it. (46)
The literary equivalent of the emperor’s map would be a biography of everyone in the world, or a novel of every second of every minute of every day: literature, like a map, gains its power from selection, from miniaturization. And the writer, like the cartographer, must make careful decisions about every aspect of the map: from letters to words, sentences, and paragraphs, from chapters to sections and volumes.
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