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Picture of Kalleh
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Apparently the Hmong have a phrase, bais cuaj txub kaum txub, which means to "speak of all kinds of things." It is used at the beginning of a story as a way of reminding listeners that the world is full of things that may not seem related, but actually are. You can miss a lot by sticking to the point - or, in other words, you are going to be long-winded. An example given (from Fadiman's "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down") was:

"It was where I was born and where my father was born and died and was buried and where my father's father died and was buried, but my father's father was born in China and to tell you about that would take all night."

How do you start your long stories?
 
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My lovely husband often starts stories like this with, "This will take awhile..." I might prefer a cute little saying like the Hmong use. Wink
 
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The classic way is, of course, "Once upon a time ...".


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:

"It was where I was born and where my father was born and died and was buried and where my father's father died and was buried, but my father's father was born in China and to tell you about that would take all night."



That sounds like Laurence Sterne.
 
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I see your point! One of his quotes: "Of all the cants which are canted in this canting world, - though the cant of hypocrites may be the worst, - the cant of criticism is the most tormenting!"
 
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If you subscribe to dualist philosophy, do you say, "Twice upon a time?" But there would be two opposing tales, I suppose.

Homer opened The Odyssey with, "Tell me, O Muse..." Not a bad opening, IMHO.

The phrase, "To make a long story short" inevitably leads to a long story, it seems.
 
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Originally posted by goofy:

That sounds like Laurence Sterne.


I found the quote from Tristram Shandy that I was thinking of:

quote:
I am this month one whole year older than I was this time twelve-month; and having got, as you perceive, almost into the middle of my third volume (According to the preceding Editions.)--and no farther than to my first day's life--'tis demonstrative that I have three hundred and sixty-four days more life to write just now, than when I first set out; so that instead of advancing, as a common writer, in my work with what I have been doing at it--on the contrary, I am just thrown so many volumes back--was every day of my life to be as busy a day as this--And why not?--and the transactions and opinions of it to take up as much description--And for what reason should they be cut short? as at this rate I should just live 364 times faster than I should write--It must follow, an' please your worships, that the more I write, the more I shall have to write--and consequently, the more your worships read, the more your worships will have to read.

Will this be good for your worships eyes?

 
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