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October 11, 2012
vintageanchor:

“You’re never going to kill storytelling, because it’s built into the human plan. We come with it.”— Margaret Atwood



SCOTT-COE
This need to express, to tell stories, seems universal. Talking with Patt Morrison a while ago, you referred to storytelling as part of an “ancient human tool kit.” You have also talked extensively with Bill Moyers about human impulses toward religion, which seems to be related.


ATWOOD
It’s actually part of the same kit, or very close.


SCOTT-COE
Can you talk about that?


ATWOOD
Let’s talk about language and what happens when human language comes into existence, with a complex grammar that we must’ve spent millennia working on. Once you have a past tense that can infinitely regress, you’re always going to come to the question, “What happened at the beginning?” And once you have a future tense that can recede indefinitely into the future, you’re going to come eventually to, “What happens next?” Then, after that, “What happens to me?” (laughs) And you’re going to get to a place where you’re going to get either happily ever after or fry in hell forever. (laughs)  . . .
—From an interview with Margaret Atwood, Narrative (Fall 2010).

vintageanchor:

“You’re never going to kill storytelling, because it’s built into the human plan. We come with it.”
— Margaret Atwood


SCOTT-COE
This need to express, to tell stories, seems universal. Talking with Patt Morrison a while ago, you referred to storytelling as part of an “ancient human tool kit.” You have also talked extensively with Bill Moyers about human impulses toward religion, which seems to be related.

ATWOOD
It’s actually part of the same kit, or very close.

SCOTT-COE
Can you talk about that?

ATWOOD
Let’s talk about language and what happens when human language comes into existence, with a complex grammar that we must’ve spent millennia working on. Once you have a past tense that can infinitely regress, you’re always going to come to the question, “What happened at the beginning?” And once you have a future tense that can recede indefinitely into the future, you’re going to come eventually to, “What happens next?” Then, after that, “What happens to me?” (laughs) And you’re going to get to a place where you’re going to get either happily ever after or fry in hell forever. (laughs)  . . .

From an interview with Margaret Atwood, Narrative (Fall 2010).

(Source: vintageanchorbooks, via litreactor)

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    Margaret Atwood came to Davidson College when I was a senior. She was crotchety, wise, and full of opinions on stories...
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