When we're the story, when we're part of it, we can't know the outcome. It's only later that we think we can see what the story was. But do we ever really know? And does anybody else, perhaps, coming along a little later, does anybody else really care? ... History is written by the survivors, but what is that history? That's the point I was trying to make just now. We don't know what the story is when we're in it, and even after we tell it we're not sure. Because the story doesn't end.
There are books full of great writing that don't have very good stories. Read sometimes for the story... don't be like the book-snobs who won't do that. Read sometimes for the words--the language. Don't be like the play-it-safers who won't do that. But when you find a book that has both a good story and good words, treasure that book.
I could a tale unfold whose lightest wordWould harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,Make thy two eyes like stars start from their spheres,Thy knotted and combined locks to part,And each particular hair to stand on endLike quills upon the fretful porpentine.But this eternal blazon must not beTo ears of flesh and blood.List, list, O list!