Repetition and stories…

Because you’ve also lived–you’ve been living and reading for years, sometimes both at once–you are not suprised that people often repeat their most unpleasant experiences. It’s probably for the same reasons we tell the same stories over and over, with minor variations–“The Seven Ravens,” “The Seven Doves,” “The Twelve Ducks,” “The Six Swans.” It is cozy to have one’s expectations met, though there is also, always, the possibility–is this a happy thought or a sad one?–that things turn out differently this time.

The Swan Brothers, Shelley Jackson

In your line of work you must see it all the time, the way people continue to repeat the same story of themselves over and over, complete with the old mistakes.

The Great House, Nicole Krauss

The problem is that once upon a time they all began like that, all novels. There was somebody that went along a lonely street and saw something that attracted his attention, something that seemed to conceal a mystery, or a premonition, then he asked for explanations and they told him a long story.

If on a winter’s night a traveler, Italio Calvino

He tells the story over and over and over again when he is feeling unsure of himself. Why? Because there is a beginning a middle and an end. He is comforted by it–the structure–knowing there is an answer to the strange question being asked.

The Boy Detective Fails, Joe Meno