Explore the most impactful and insightful quotes and sayings by Joyce Carol Oates, and enrich your perspective with the wisdom. Share these inspiring Joyce Carol Oates quotes pictures with your friends on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or your personal blogs, completely free. Here are the top 614 Joyce Carol Oates quotes for you to read and share.

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Princeton is quite integrated. Women are professors at Princeton. Women are students at Princeton. That began in the 1970s. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Nor do I like being told upsetting news - unless there is a good reason. I can't help but feel that there is an element of cruelty, if not sadism, in friends telling one another upsetting things for no reason except to observe their reactions. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Unless it was enough for these worshipers to bask in the knowledge that, though invisible to them and in every way inaccessible to them, the swarthy handsome Ex-Athlete and the beautiful Blond Actress might at that very moment be coupling like Shiva and Shakti, unmaking and making the Universe? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I come from people who did not go to college. They didn't even finish high school. People who one might call ordinary Americans who are very hard-working. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Yet I will make you all love me and I will punish myself to spite your love. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I haven't any formal schedule, but I love to write in the morning, before breakfast. Sometimes the writing goes so smoothly that I don't take a break for many hours - and consequently have breakfast at two or three in the afternoon on good days. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Our lives can only be interpreted in retrospect, yet must be lived from day to day, blindly. What folly, the human condition! -- Joyce Carol Oates
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This is my life now. Absurd, but unpredictable. Not absurd because unpredictable but unpredictable because absurd. If I have lost the meaning of my life, I might still find small treasured things among the spilled and pilfered trash. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The person you love best, you share the world with. When that person's gone the world remains but it isn't the same thing, it's at a distance. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Primarily, 'Black Girl/White Girl' is the story of two very different, yet somehow 'fated' girls; for Genna, her 'friendship' with Minette is the most haunting of her life, though it is one-sided and ends in tragedy. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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After love a formal feeling comes. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Like all virtuous people he imagines he must speak the truth ... -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Not what the mind sees, but what the mind imagines the eye must see. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It isn't the subjects we write about but the seriousness and subtlety of our expression that determines the worth of or effort. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Later, her first intense, serious love affair, yes then she'd lost something more tangible, if undefinable: her heart? her independence? her control of, definition of, self? That first true loss, the furious bafflement of it. And never again quite so assured, confident. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Self-criticism, like self-administered brain surgery, is perhaps not a good idea. Can the 'self' see the 'self' with any objectivity? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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When I was very little, four or five, I did comic strip drawings, so my first novel had no words. I couldn't write and thought adult handwriting was a mysterious scribble. When I was 14, my grandmother gave me a typewriter and I started writing in a different way. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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All that matters in life is forging deep ties of love and family and friends. Writing and reading come later. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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As long as you're in motion, your perspective is obscured. Only when you reach the summit and turn to look back, can you be at peace. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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At least," Mother said, "that's the story Aunt Esther tells."
"What do you mean?" I asked. "Isn't it true?"
"Stories are never 'true'," Mother said. "But they may, almost by accident, contain 'truth'. Sometimes. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Did you know, Marianne: how by breaking the code that day, you broke it forever? For us all? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It makes me angry sometimes, it's a visceral thing
how you come to despise your own words in your ears not because they aren't genuine, but because they are; because you've said them so many times, your 'principles,' your 'ideals'
and so damned little in the world has changed because of them. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Stalwart Zeno seemed oblivious, that faith in his daughter being alive after more than forty days did not compute with faith that Brett Kincaid would soon be arrested for a crime involving his daughter. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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In so sick a society as ours how is it possible that any citizen is healthy, at all? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Taking the law into your own hands, fuck what's wrong with that? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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If I'm writing, I'll say something metaphorical or approximate, whereas scientists are very precise. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I can manifest my neurotical emotions, emancipate an epicureal instinct, and elaborate on my heterosexual tendencies. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I was brought up to be sympathetic toward others. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Tragedy is the highest form of art. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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To claim - to claim repeatedly - that you are innocent of what it is claimed by others that you have done, or might have done, or are in some quarters strongly suspected of having done, is never enough unless others, numberous others, will say it for you. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Living's immediacy, you go full sail, you're in a fever of motion. Until it's safe and past and done and dead and you can say, like waking from a dream, "Yes I was happy then, yes now it's all over I can see I was happy then." Maybe that's the advantage of dying? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Men grow cold as girls grow old
And we all lose our charms in the end.
How prettily Lorelei Lee sang these mordant lyrics! -- Joyce Carol Oates
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When you said Please to those who...had no option but to obey, what were you really saying? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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But you are a solace just by existing, vividly in my thoughts if not here before me. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It's rare that we actively and consciously 'forget'; most of the time we have simply forgotten, with no consciousness of having forgotten. In individuals, the phenomenon is called 'denial'; in entire cultures and nations, it's usually called 'history. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Betrayal is the deepest wound. Betrayal is what remains of love, when love has gone. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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They were astronomers plotting the trajectories of stars. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I used to think getting old was about vanity but actually it's about losing people you love. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Most people think that a widow is inhabiting some elegiac world of - it's like Mozart's 'Requiem Mass.' You know, it's very beautiful and elevated thoughts and some measure of dignity. I didn't have that experience at all. I had one pratfall after another. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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When you are writing literary writing, you are communicating something subtextual with emotions and poetry. The prose has to have a voice; it's not just typing. It takes a while to get that voice. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Except that awards are competitive, which is a negative thing, they are wonderful for singling out deserving individuals and bringing their work to the attention of many potential readers who might otherwise have been totally unaware of them. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Her favorite foods made her gag, like old friends she hadn't seen in years turning up looking all wrong. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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On the Decker bus she often gave up her seat to older passengers or to women with young children, she was nervously alert to the needs or near-needs of other people. It pleased and excited her to see the space she'd occupied taken, the emptiness where she had been so readily filled in. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Paradox: how do we know what we have failed to see because we have no language to express it, thus we cannot know that we have failed to see it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The historical Woodrow Wilson suffered from numerous complaints which we might today label as psychosomatic. Yet, Wilson did have a stroke as a relatively young man of 39 and seemed always to be ill. He was 'high-strung' - intensely neurotic - yet a charismatic personality nonetheless. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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In 'We Were the Mulvaneys,' animals are almost as important as people. I wanted to show the tenderness in our relationships with cats, dogs, and horses. Especially cats. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Such speculation is like staring into the hot white sun. you know the sun is there but you can't see a thing. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Corset,' Mrs. Erskine? I don't understand." Because she was trussed up in one herself, she couldn't comprehend how Ariah had escaped hers. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Mrs. Erskine struck him as fierce and plain and haughty as one of those straight-backed red-haired girl-women in certain of the watercolors of Winslow Homer. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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no one knew what to do with Ariah Erskine, who refused to behave as others wished her to behave. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live' - the Americans understand this admonition, deep in their killer-souls. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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[Emily] Dickinson, our supreme poet of inwardness. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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How bizarre it seems to us, Hudson had been looking for a route to the Pacific Ocean, as his predecessor Christopher Columbus had been looking for a route to the East Indies . . . I thought The routes we think we are taking are not the routes we will take. The routes that take us. I -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Evil isn't a cosmological riddle, only just selfish human behavior. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Was it confusing because it was artistic, or artistic because it was confusing? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Flying fosters fantasies of childhood, of omnipotence, rapid shifts of being, miraculous moments; it stirs our capacity for dreaming. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I haven't the faintest idea what my royalties are. I haven't the faintest idea how many copies of books sold, or how many books that I've written. I could look these things up; I have no interest in them. I don't know how much money I have. There are a lot of things I just don't care about. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For madness must be punished in a world in which mere sanity is prized. The revenge of the ordinary upon the gifted. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The politics of the day infuriated him: even when power lay with the politicians he supported, and the opposition appeared to be failing, so much in the political sphere seemed to him vile, vulgar, meretricious, inane - he threatened that he wouldn't be voting at all. The -- Joyce Carol Oates
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At a time when politics deals in distortions and half truths, truth is to be found in the liberal arts. There's something afoot in this country and you are very much a part of it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It had given him a charge of entitlement and invincibility he would draw upon through life, like a limitless bank account.) -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For politics is in its essence as Adams had said the 'systematic organiztion of hatred': either you were organized or you were not -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The novel is perhaps the highest art form because it so closely resembles life: it is about human relationships. It's technique, page by page, resembles our technique of living day by day
a way of relating. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Be daring, take on anything. Don't labor over little cameo works in which every word is to be perfect. Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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My students often say, 'My roommate read this story and really liked it,' and it's hard to convince them that there are things wrong with it. I say, 'Well, people who love you want you to be happy. But I'm your professor and I'm supposed to be teaching you something.' -- Joyce Carol Oates
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There are some secrets so toxic you can't share. Especially if you love who it is you'd have to share with. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Maybe he'd been mistaken, trying so hard to make his wife and young children happy. Maybe it's always a mistake, trying to assure the happiness of others. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I should say, one of the things about being a widow or a widower, you really, really need a sense of humor, because everything's going to fall apart. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I don't think I'm morbid by nature. Serious writers have always written about serious subjects. Lighthearted material doesn't appeal to me, and I don't read it. I think I'm a realist, with a realistic sensibility of history and the tragedy of history. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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She had no existence, in herself. From earliest childhood she had believed this. Rather she was a reflecting surface, reflecting others' perception of her, and love of her. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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On the way home Mary Lou said, "Some things are so sad you can't say them." But I pretended not to hear. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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And so you must grant to God what is God and not try to think of what you have lost, for that way is madness. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Because the meaning of a story does not lie on its surface, visible and self-defining, does not mean that meaning does not exist. Indeed, the ambiguity of meaning, its inner private quality, may well be part of the writer's vision. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Della Rae was a pig and she was smashed out of her skull and you didn't want to think about it, -- Joyce Carol Oates
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After my parents passed away - in 2000 and 2003 - I felt I could take the time to think about the past and imagine what it would have been like to be my grandmother. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Mark Twain was very unhappy with himself for various reasons. He was very unhappy with America of this time. He thought it was terrible we had no anti-lynching laws, and he was also a feminist, and he was also very concerned with anti-Semitism. He was a good man, but he was hard on himself. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Whatever you do, with whom you do it or whether you do it alone, and when, and how, and why, to what mysterious end - it's balanced against nothing, against Death and forgetting. You balanced against oblivion. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The first sentence cant be written until the final sentence is written. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The coolly calibrated manipulation of the credulous American public, by an administration bent upon stoking paranoid patriotism! -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Like many shy people, once he began talking he seemed not to know how to stop; he lacked the social sleight of hand to change the subject, and he had no idea how to engage another person. Like a runaway vehicle, he plunged on, heedless. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I am thinking of having a T-shirt printed: Yes my husband died. Yes I am very sad. Yes you are kind to offer condolences. Now can we change the subject? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A woman who has lost her husband is invalid, thus an invalid. In -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Dear girl! Life is addictive. Yet we must live. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I'd like to be your friend - but only if you promise not to ever, ever count on me. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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SO RISKY, to love another person! Like flaying your own, outermost skin. Exposed to the crude air and every kind of infection. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Literature, art, like civilization itself, are only accidents. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It is not her body that he wants but it is only through her body that he can take possession of another human being, so he must labor upon her body, he must enter her body, to make his claim. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Knowing now I would never be alone again never lonely again as in those years God allowed me to be thus as if He did not exist forcing onto me the bitter knowledge that He did not exist in truth or if He did His existence touched in no way upon my own. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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If I try to summon back his face, the sound of his voice, and the sensation in my stomach like a key turning in a lock when he touched me, I lose everything. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Fiction that adds up, that suggests a "logical consistency," or an explanation of some kind, is surely second-rate fiction; for the truth of life is its mystery. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Know what 'celebrity' is kid? Being paid to bullshit the rest of your natural life. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I think all art comes out of conflict. When I write I am always looking for the dramatic kernel of an event, the junctures of people's lives when they go in one direction, not another. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Honorary degrees and lifetime achievement awards are very encouraging. I know that it might sound strange that a writer who has published many books still needs encouragement, but this is true. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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What is a family, after all, except memories? Haphazard and precious as the contents of a catch-all drawer in the kitchen. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Unyielding - Oh Norma Jeane leads a crazy life, you see - she has a former husband very jealous of her - he is her "ex" but he is -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Novels usually evolve out of 'character.' Characters generate stories, and the shape of a novel is entirely imagined but should have an aesthetic coherence. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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To be true to life, a novel must have an ending that is inevitable given the specific personalities of the characters involved. The novelist must not impose an ending upon them. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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if a man hurts you, and you show that hurt, and your eyes lock with his, he will never forgive you. For always you will be the girl he has hurt, which means you are the girl he can always hurt again. Mr. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I write in longhand and assemble lots of notes, and then I try to collate them into a coherent chronology. It's like groping along in the dark. I like writing and find it challenging, but I don't find it easy. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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In no other sport is the connection between performer and observer so intimate, so frequently painful, so unresolved -- Joyce Carol Oates
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If you are a writer you locate yourself behind a wall of silence and no matter what you are doing, driving a car or walking or doing housework you can still be writing, because you have that space. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I don't think that writer's block exists really. I think that when you're trying to do something prematurely, it just won't come. Certain subjects just need time, as I've learned over and over again. You've got to wait before you write about them. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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If my favorite, most comfortable place is by our fireplace in cold weather, expedient places are on an airplane, in a waiting room or even waiting in line; frequently these days, while on the phone having been 'put on hold.' -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Starting a novel is like standing in a field and waiting for lightning to strike. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I do what I want to do. It was a brash statement of(her)girlhood. Now she was an adult, the boast seemed quaint. For rarely do you know what you want. Even after you've done it you can't say clearly if that was what you'd wanted or just something that happened to you, like weather. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Three days later on October 29, 1959, the Pontiac registered in the name of Niles Tignor would be discovered, gas tank near-empty, keys on the floorboards beneath the front seat, in a parking lot close by the Greyhound bus station in Rome, New York. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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If you blunder by accident into a secret it's like you've pushed open a door where you thought was just a wall. You can look through, if you're brave or reckless enough you can even step inside-taking a chance what you'll learn is worth what it costs. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Of our hurts we make monuments of survival. If we survive. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Well, no. Marianne thought there could be lots worse. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The institution of marriage is just formalizing an emotion, an attempt to make it seem permanent. The emotion will last or it won't last; nothing can guarantee it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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P.J. said, "That's true about any statement we make, isn't it? We never tell as much as we know."
"Right! So We're lying. So almost every statement is a lie, we can't help it."
"Yeah. But some statements are more lies than others. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The great menace to the life of an industry is industrial self-complacency. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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One of life's minor satisfactions is forgetting. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I don't think that any 'ism' is higher than literature or art. So I'm a formalist. I greatly honor and respect the form of a work. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I'm not bitter for they are telling me I am HISTORY
You wouldn't be bitter if you are HISTORY any of you
A MAN would not be bitter if entering History! nor should a WOMAN
Break my heart, better than break my nose (you bastards)
Revenge is SWEET (& I need to acquire that taste) -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I don't feel I write fast. I write in longhand and do so much revision. On the page, it's so old-fashioned. I could write a whole novel on scrap paper, scribbles and things. I keep looking at it and something develops. For me, using a word processor would mean staring at a screen for too many hours. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Very few writers of distinction in fact were outstanding as undergraduates. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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My parents were very proud of me. After they passed, my career doesn't mean as much to me. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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There is the expectation that a younger generation has the opportunity to redeem the crimes and failings of their elders and would have the strength and idealism to do so. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Life and people are complex. A writer as an artist doesn't have the personality of a politician. We don't see the world that simply. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Where there must be a choice, a girl will choose Daddy. Even if you are Mommy, you concede that this must be so: you remember when you were a girl, too. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Boxing is rough. Even if you win, you get hurt. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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To be entranced, to be driven, to be obsessed, to be under the spell of an emerging, not quite fully 'comprehended' narrative
this is the greatest happiness of the writer's life even as it burns us out and exhausts us, unfitting us for the placid contours of 'normality. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It simply fell from him, like a heavy overcoat he'd shrugged off, no longer needing its warmth or bulk to protect him. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Loving our parents, we bring them into us. They inhabit us. For a long time I believed that I could not bear to live without Mom and Dad - I could not bear to "outlive" them - for to be a daughter without parents did not seem possible to me. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Ambitious, absorbing, and poignantly moving. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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When I complete a novel I set it aside, and begin work on short stories, and eventually another long work. When I complete that novel I return to the earlier novel and rewrite much of it. In the meantime the second novel lies in a desk drawer. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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My writing is often a way of 'bearing witness' for others who lack the education and the opportunity to tell their own stories, so I hope that my writing won't be affected too much by my personal life. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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On the elusive gift of blending austerity of craft with elasticity of allure. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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You ordinary people who read and do not write, who 'like to read' and know nothing of the sufferings of writers, how fortunate you are! -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For that was mom's trump card: she was the mother, and so possessed a mysterious and unquestioned authority. Dad was the boss, but Mom was the power. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For obviously the advantage for most writers is that no one sees them. The writer is invisible, which confers power. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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As if whoever it was held that camera was her closest friend. Or maybe it was the camera that was her closest friend. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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There is a wish in the heart of mankind to be distracted and confused. Truth is but one attraction, and not always the most powerful. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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In families there are frequently matters of which no one speaks, nor even alludes. There are no words for these matters. As the binding skeleton beneath the flesh is never acknowledged by us and, when at last it defines itself, is after all an obscenity. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Sunny wintry days. The idyll of (inner) loneliness. What am I going to do with my life? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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When poets - write about food it is usually celebratory. Food as the thing-in-itself, but also the thoughtful preparation of meals, the serving of meals, meals communally shared: a sense of the sacred in the profane. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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He'd never risk his life if he could avoid it. "I'd rather live, thank you." In -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For the writer, the serial killer is, abstractly, an analogue of the imagination's caprices and amorality; the sense that, no matter the dictates and even the wishes of the conscious social self, the life or will or purpose of the imagination is incomprehensible, unpredictable. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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You don't have to understand why anything that has happened nor do you even have to understand what it is that has happened. You have only to live with the remains. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I am not conscious of working especially hard, or of 'working' at all. Writing and teaching have always been, for me, so richly rewarding that I don't think of them as work in the usual sense of the word. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Why the need, rising in some very nearly to the level of compulsion, to verify experience by way of language?-to scrupulously record and preserve the very passing of Time? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Her wish to die was as pervasive as a dial tone: you lift the receiver, it's always there. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Storytelling is shaped by two contrary, yet complementary, impulses - one toward brevity, compactness, artful omission; the other toward expansion, amplification, enrichment. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It struck her to the heart, left her weak, disoriented, that, to Michael Mulvaney, after all, his family wasn't quite enough. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I consider tragedy the highest form of art. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The Bog Kingdom. Bidding him enter! Ah, enter! There, all wishes are fulfilled. The more forbidden, the more delicious. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Language is the instrument in all cases and can language be trusted?
If it were not for language, could we lie? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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My role models were childless: Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, George Eliot, the Brontes. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I want to tell you that I love you I want to tell you that I love you I want to tell you that I love I love I love I love but you do not. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A wet autumn morning, a garbage truck clattering down the street. The first snowfall of the season, blossom sized flakes falling languidly and melting on teh ground, a premature snow fall delicate as lace, rapidly melting. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The heavenly light you admire is fossil-light, it's the unfathomably distant past you gaze into, stars long extinct -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The standards for horror fiction should be no less than those for 'serious literary' fiction in which originality of concept, depth of characters, and attentiveness to language are vitally important. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Self-criticism is an art not many are qualified to practice. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Is there any mystery like who you finally turn out to be. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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As soon as I moved to Princeton in 1978, I became fascinated by local history, much of it Revolutionary War-era; and I became fascinated by the presidency of Woodrow Wilson at Princeton University. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Its somewhat austere and even forbidding limestone exterior, -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Sometimes people surprise us. People we believe we know. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The novel is the affliction for which only the novel is the cure. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I am concerned with only one thing, the moral and social conditions of my generation. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I think whenever we think of our hometowns, we tend to think of very specific people: with whom you rode on the school bus, who was your next door neighbor you were playing with, who your girlfriend was. It's always something very specific. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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To the west, the Pacific Ocean, which revulses me, for its vastness cannot be fitted into any box. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Not to be alone. To be spared the possibility of knowing oneself, in aloneness. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It is very hard to prevail where you are not, in the deepest and most intimate and forgiving of ways, loved. It is very hard to prevail in any case but without this love, it is close to impossible. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Childhood is the province of the imagination and when I immerse myself in it, I re-create it as it was, as it could have been, as I wanted - and didn't want - it to be. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The music was always in the background, like music at a church service; it was something to depend upon. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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And this is the forbidden truth, the unspeakable taboo - that evil is not always repellent but frequently attractive; that it has the power to make of us not simply victims, as nature and accident do, but active accomplices. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I can entertain the proposition that life is a metaphor for boxing-for one of those bouts that go on and on, round following round, jabs, missed punches, clinches, nothing determined, again the bell and again and you and your opponent so evenly matched it's impossible to see your opponent is you ... -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I can't say I was a very successful sorority girl. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A writer's life is in his work, and that is the place to find him. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It feels good, honey, but it isn't love. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Sick?
What's sick? Who is 'well'? Do you imagine, if you or I were minutely examined, we would be one hundred percent 'well'? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I think we are all cats with nine lives, or even more. We must rejoice in our elusive catness. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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You keep asking me that," she said sharply. "No. I don't care to notify anyone. I can't bear a crowd of relatives around me. I threw away that damned corset in a trash can. I won't return to that." There -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Ideas brush past fleeting and insubstantial as moths. But I let them go, I don't want them. What I want is a voice. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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REGINALD BURNABY THE GREAT (variously identified as a defrocked Roman Catholic priest from Galway, an ex-convict from Liverpool, if not an escaped convict from that seaport city) -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I am inclined to think that as I grow older I will come to be infatuated with the art of revision, and there may come a time when I will dread giving up a novel at all. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A man will reveal his true self, or so it seems, on the tennis court. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Hospital vigils inspire us to such nostalgia. Hospital vigils take place in slow-time during which the mind floats free, a frail balloon drifting into the sky as into infinity. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Truth must evolve' - how very convenient for liars. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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You don't understand! Gilbert turned his back on me, but he wouldn't have turned his back on God." Ariah -- Joyce Carol Oates
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In our household, which was essentially under an evil spell, my father 'Chaplin' was all the magic. A great man draws magic into himself, like reverse lightning. There's nothing to spare for anyone else. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The strangeness of Time. Not in its passing, which can seem infinite, like a tunnel whose end you can't see, whose beginning you've forgotten, but in the sudden realization that something finite, has passed, and is irretrievable. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Willy was more forceful, as Annabel seemed to glide; -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Art does the same things dreams do. We have a hunger for dreams and art fulfills that hunger. So much of real life is a disappointment. That's why we have art. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Death is just the last scene of the last act. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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How mysterious it is, to be in love. For you can be in love with one who knows nothing of you. Perhpas our greatest happinesses spring from such longings-being in love with one who is oblivious of you. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The place where you came from ain't there any more, and where you had in mind to go is cancelled out. This place you are now - inside your daddy's house - is nothing but a cardboard box I can knock down any time. You know that and always did know it. You hear me? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For what are the words with which to summarize a lifetime, so much crowded confused happiness terminated by such stark slow-motion pain? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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This was before voice mail, recorded phone messages you can't escape. Life was easier then. You just didn't pick up the phone. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A man may accommodate himself to a disagreeable situation in a few months. The intolerable may take a little longer. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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(always, you want to impress them: men of authority) -- Joyce Carol Oates
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We never have time, do we, for all that we don't exactly want to do. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Laughter too depends upon memory - a memory of previous laughter. Dr. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Loving Felix she'd acquired from him a certain arrogance, telling so many lies she'd acquired a zest for lies and quite preferred them to the truth. For a lie had to be invented, "truth" was common property. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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O.K. he's crazy. But he's a saint too."
"He scares me, I don't like him."
"He scares me. What the hell-he knows."
"Yeah? Why? What does he know?"
"
Things most people'd have to die and go to Hell for, to know. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Don't try to anticipate an ideal reader - or any reader. He/she might exist - but is reading someone else. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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But he doesn't love her. I invented that. It is a plot if you imagine people in love
the lazy looping criss crosses of love, blows, stares, tears. No. It doesn't happen. No love. People meet, touch, stare into one another's faces, shake their heads clear, move on, forget. It doesn't happen. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Society is the picnic certain individuals leave early, the party they fail to enjoy, the musical comedy they find not worth the price of admission. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I remember once asking Grandma about a book she was reading, a biography of Abraham Lincoln, and how she answered me: this was the first conversation of my life that concerned a book, and 'the life of the mind' - and now, such subjects have become my life. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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My own way of writing is very meditated and, despite my reputation, rather slow-moving. So I do spend a good deal of time contemplating endings. The final ending is usually arrived at simply by intuition. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I can't imagine a mental life, a spiritual existence, not inextricably bound up with language of a formal, mediated nature. Telling stories, choosing an appropriate language with which to tell the story: This seems to me quintessentially human, one of the great adventures of our species. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A fear of the unknown: what was that called?
Worse yet: a fear of the known. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I would suggest the widow do things the husband used to do, so he seems to be there with you. You will feel like just going to bed. It's so wonderful, going to bed. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It's very hard to be an experimental woman writer. If I had been writing under a pseudonym, just initials, I might have a different reputation - but, then I couldn't be myself either. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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At such rare times you can feel the electrically charged neurons of the prefrontal brain realigning themselves like iron fillings drawn by a magnet. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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How fascinating to a child are words: the shapes, sounds, textures and mysterious meanings of words; the way words link together into elastic patterns called "sentences." And these sentences into paragraphs, and beyond. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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You cultivate the subconscious by meditation, by sitting in silence and by not trying to control your thoughts. Then go someplace where you haven't been before, or go for a walk, a run, and look for signs of grace-an epiphany, something that comes to you. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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When my brother called to inform me, on the morning of May 22, 2003, that our mother Caroline Oates had died suddenly of a stroke, it was a shock from which, in a way, I have yet to recover. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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While madness in individuals is relatively rare, it is virtually a prerequisite for a certain sort of political leader. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Boxing is a celebration of the lost religion of masculinity all the more trenchant for its being lost. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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If you're living with a scientist, you see the world differently than you do with a humanist. It's in some ways very subtle, the differences in perceiving reality. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Once upon a time the fairy tales begin. But then they end and often you don't know really what has happened, what was meant to happen, you only know what you've been told, what the words suggest. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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that I - I have not 'heard' . . . What is it? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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People have libraries at home, they have bookshelves, they have CDs. And they sort of try, people try to bring great artists into their lives, into their physical houses and sort of live with portions of them. But they're not really deeply engaging with them. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Always, it was claimed of her, she was strong and she was capable. You are not loved for being strong and capable if you are a female but if you are a female and you are strong and capable you will make your way without love. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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How exhausted I am suddenly! - though this has been Ray's best day in the hospital so far, and we are feeling - almost - exhilarated. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Impossible not to imagine the dead observing us. Our love for them a soft, shimmering gossamar that trails behind us. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Of all psychic conditions, anxiety verging upon paranoia/hysteria is perhaps the most contagious, even among men. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Our house is made of glass ... and our lives are made of glass; and there is nothing we can do to protect ourselves. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Great art is cathartic; it is always moral. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Unbidden, Unwelcome, Yet unable to resist, I entered a stranger's life -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The gym cat appears to those who will die. He is our totem. This thought came to me a few weeks ago. I shared it with no one of course. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The best revenge is living well without you. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Criticism is, for me, like essay writing, a wonderful way of relaxation; it doesn't require a heightened and mediated voice, like prose fiction, but rather a calm, rational, even conversational voice. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Only where there is life can there be home. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I compose most of my tweets with care, as if they were aphorisms - they are not usually dashed-off. Sometimes I'm surprised by the high, poetic quality of Twitter - it lends itself to a surreal sort of self-expression. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Just as our historical beginnings are utterly mysterious-why are we born? why when and as we are?-so too are the beginnings of works of art and of artists. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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But so like Hollywood people, who played at the emotions they truly felt. Or maybe the emotions they truly felt could only be expressed in play? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The man is too narcissistic, too shallow and cowardly for suicide. Days -- Joyce Carol Oates
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She will speculate that she didn't fully know her husband - this will give her leverage to seek him, to come to know him. It will keep her husband "alive" in her memory - elusive, teasing. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Who is to blame for this most recent of sports disgraces in America? The culture that flings young athletes like Tyson up out of obscurity, makes millionaires of them and watches them self-destruct? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I wrote a novel called 'Blonde,' which is about Norma Jean Baker, who becomes Marilyn Monroe, which I called a fictitious biography. That uses the material as if it were myth - that Marilyn Monroe is like this mythical figure in our culture. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A familiar story, Marya instructs herself - a woman yearning to be completed in a man, by way of a man. As if she hadn't a soul of her own. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Not even the most devastating truth can be told; it must be evoked. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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In love there are two things - bodies and words. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The challenge is to resist circumstances. Any idiot can be happy in a happy place, but moral courage is required to be happy in a hellhole. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Then the noise faded and Legs squinted up at the sky, the moon so bright you'd never think it could be merely rock like the earth's common rock and lifeless, merely reflected light from an invisible sun and not a powerful living light of its own ... -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Of the widow's countless death-duties there is really just one that matters: on the first anniversary of her husband's death the widow should think I kept myself alive. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I could EAT YOUR HEART & asshole you'd never know it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Stories come to us as wraiths requiring precise embodiments. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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If she lets us down, if she's weird sometimes - just ignore it, and love her. Just love her. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Her visits to her former hometown were infrequent and often painful. Pilgrimages fueled by the tepid oxygen of family duty, unease, guilt. The more Esther loved her parents, the more helpless she felt, as they aged, to protect them from harm. A moral coward, she kept her distance. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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No way of life so entrenched will ever 'wither away' - it must be helped, with dynamite, if need be. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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We are beasts and this is our consolation. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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And we can read - there is always the prospect of escape, through books."
"Books are not a means of 'escape', Meta! Books are a means of knowledge, and of learning how to cope with the future. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Yet there was something gratifyingly real about being called a bitch, a whore, a blond tramp. Where so much was a dreamy haze, anything promising to be real was bracing. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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When I'm really involved or getting towards the end of a novel, I can write for up to ten hours a day. At those times, it's as though I'm writing a letter to someone I'm desperately in love with. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I could wish that I had recourse to the Prince of Darkness & his quick ways of revenge; -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Now the broken-off parts of her life, the fragments, bits, puzzle pieces, began to fall into place, to assemble themselves, as invariably they do once we are under the enchantment of Death. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I work very slowly. It's like building a ladder, where you're building your own ladder rung by rung, and you're climbing the ladder. It's not the best way to build a ladder, but I don't know any other way. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Her problem wasn't she was a dumb blonde, it was she wasn't a blonde and she wasn't dumb. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Civilization is faces, "appearances": when these collapse, civilization collapses as well. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Most people who are writers go through periods when they can't write. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Remembering backward is the easy thing. If you could remember forward, you could save yourself ... -- Joyce Carol Oates
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And what is 'art'? - a firestorm rushing through Time, arising from no visible source and conforming to no principles of logic or causality. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Writers and artists never pay attention to advice given by their elders, quite rightly. The only worthwhile advice is the most general: 'Keep trying, don't give up, don't be discouraged, don't pay attention to detractors.' Everyone knows this. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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We are stimulated to emotional response, not by works that confirm our sense of the world, but by works that challenge it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A writer who has published as many books as I have has developed, of necessity, a hide like a rhino's, while inside there dwells a frail, hopeful butterfly of a spirit. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A writer can't subtract or excise any of his/her past because doing so would erase the work produced during that time. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Lawrence is the supreme poet of Eros. No recriminations, no reproaches, no guilt, no 'morality'. For what's 'morality' but a leash around the neck? A noose? What's 'morality' but what other people want you to do, for their own, selfish, unstated purposes? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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My governing principle as a critic is to call attention solely to books and writers that merit such attention, and to avoid whenever possible reviewing books "negatively" except in those instances in which the "negative" is countered by an admiring consideration of earlier books by the same author. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Words are like wild birds - they will come when they wish, not when they are bidden. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Characters begin as voices, then gain presence by being viewed in others' eyes. Characters define one another in dramatic contexts. It is often very exciting, when characters meet - out of their encounters, unanticipated stories can spring. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It is the most horrific thought - my husband died among strangers. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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After my husband died, I could not write much - I could not concentrate. I was too exhausted most of the time even to contemplate writing. But I did take notes - not for fiction, but for a journal, or diary, of this terrible time. I did not think that I would ever survive this interlude. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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We are all regionalists in our origins, however 'universal' our themes and characters, and without our cherished hometowns and childhood landscapes to nourish us, we would be like plants set in shallow soil. Our souls must take root - almost literally. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It might be argued that our lives are a concatenation of minutiae interrupted at unpredictable times by significant events. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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But this controversy did not involve the corporal who refused to give thought to what his life had become as a case. God did not think of a man as a case. For a case is to be solved - and a man cannot be solved. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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As a librarian for 18 years at the Merck branch of the Trenton Public Library, I was sorely tested by the slow-witted and obtuse among the citizenry -- Joyce Carol Oates
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If you explore beneath shyness or party chit-chat, you can sometimes turn a dull exchange into an intriguing one. I've found this to be particularly true in the case of professors or intellectuals, who are full of fascinating information, but need encouragement before they'll divulge it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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My reputation for writing quickly and effortlessly notwithstanding, I am strongly in favor of intelligent, even fastidious revision, which is, or certainly should be, an art in itself. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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As a teacher at Princeton, I'm surrounded by people who work hard so I just make good use of my time. And I don't really think of it as work - writing a novel, in one sense, is a problem-solving exercise. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Art is fueled by rebellion: the need, in some amounting to obsessions, to resist what is, to defy one's elders, even to the point of ostracism; to define oneself, and by extension one's generation, as new, novel, ungovernable. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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From Mother you will inherit the belief that you can journey to your fate, there's a place to be located on a map that's destiny. If only you can get there. If it isn't too late. If no one stops you. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Boxing is an American sport - a 'so-called sport' to many - in which images of incalculable beauty and violence, desperation and ingenuity, are routinely entwined; the sport that evokes the most extreme reactions - loathing, revulsion, righteous indigation; a fierce and often inexplicable loyalty. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Of all miracles, none is more daunting than normal. To be - to become - normal. This gift seemingly so ordinary is not a gift given to all who seek it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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He was ugly, himself. Weird-ugly. But ugliness in a man doesn't matter, much. Ugliness in a woman is her life. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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She examined me, she looked at me critically and said, "Why are you trying to starve yourself?" To keep myself from feeling love, from feeling lust, from feeling anything at all. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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My self is all to me. I don't have any need of you. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Love commingled with hate is more powerful than love. Or hate. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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My grandmother could never have written a memoir, so 'The Gravedigger's Daughter' is a homage to her life, and to the lives of other young women of her generation, which are so rarely articulated. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Loneliness is dangerous ... because if aloneness does not lead to God, it leads to the devil. It leads to the self. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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And I like your laugh, Sabbath; it's inaudible. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I love insult, it's always honest. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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At all crucial moments in our lives we want to speak without knowing what to say. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The only people who claim that money is not important are people who have enough money so that they are relieved of the ugly burden of thinking about it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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People might be surprised to know how much I throw away. For every page I publish, I throw 10 pages away. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The hard part of humanity is history. All that's been done to human beings by other human beings. In the Rocky River Nature Preserve you didn't have to think of such things. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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And remember: you must not overwork your body, or your soul. You must not enslave yourself, as you would not enslave any other person. You must be the custodian of your self. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Food doesn't exist, but can only be invented. And reinvented. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I'm sure all that you've heard is just the usual gossip, invented to injure feelings rather than illuminate truth. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I had forgotten that time wasn't fixed like concrete but in fact was fluid as sand, or water. I had forgotten that even misery can end. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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What you call your personality, you know?
it's not like actual bones, or teeth, something solid. It's more like a flame. A flame can be upright, and a flame can flicker in the wind, a flame can be extinguished so there's no sign of it, like it had never been. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Failure is a human condition, not victory over odds; for each Hellen Keller who triumphs, there are tens of millions who fail, mute and deaf and insensate as vegetables tossed upon a vast garbage pile to rot. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Let them write angry letters to the Government-
they haven't been loved enough, there has been some crime -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Unfamiliar places could be more dangerous than familiar places, unexpectedly. The boy had been discovering that an unfamiliar place was more easily "haunted" than a familiar place simply because there was less there to distract the memory. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Art originates in play - in improvisation, experiment, and fantasy; it remains forever, in its deepest instincts, playful and spontaneous, an exercise of the imagination analogous to the exercising of the physical body to no purpose other than ecstatic release. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The innocence of such children doesn't answer our deepest questions about this vale of tears to which we are condemned, but it helps to dispel them. That is the secret to family life. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Even if I seemed to remember, I could not know. For just to remember something is not to know if it really happened. That is a primary fact of the inner life, the most difficult fact with which we must live. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Fame's carapace does not allow for easy breathing. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It's one of those secrets that's embarrassing to acknowledge, but we do love our students. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I suggest to my students that they write under a pseudonym for a week. That allows young men to write as women, and women as men. It allows them a lot of freedom they don't have ordinarily. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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These are open secrets, so to speak. Of the kind we dare not articulate, for fear of wounding those close to us. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Among many of my friends and acquaintances, I seem to be one of the very few individuals who felt or feels no ambivalence about my mother. All my feelings for my mother were positive, very strong and abiding. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It's where we go, and what we do when we get there, that tells us who we really are. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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If marriage is a masquerade, there is the very real danger that masks may slip. The -- Joyce Carol Oates
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No amount of denials, protestations, or defenses seemed to make any difference, in what is called the 'court' of public opinion. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Which is why we say I can't live without you meaning your life gives life to me, who am otherwise an empty vessel, nameless. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A typical biography relying upon individuals' notorious memories and the anecdotes they've invented contains a high degree of fiction, yet is considered 'nonfiction.' -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Yet the fact had no consciousness of itself except through me. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The writer understands how deeply mysterious the 'familiar' really is. How strangely opaque, what we've seen a thousand times. And how inconsolable a loss, when the taken-for-granted is finally taken from us. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Our great American philosopher William James has said - "We have as many personalities as there are people who know us." To which I would add "We have no personalities unless there are people who know us. Unless there are people we hope to convince that we deserve to exist. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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While there are 'women writers' there are not, and have never been, 'men writers.' This is an empty category, a class without specimens; for the noun 'writer' - the very verb 'writing' - always implies masculinity. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Love is an indescribable sensation - perhaps a conviction, a sense of certitude. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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There are boxers possessed of such remarkable intuition, such uncanny prescience, one would think they were somehow recalling their fights, not fighting them as we watch. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The dilemma is, in the United States, each penniless citizen believes that, with luck, he might become a millionaire; and so doesn't want to put restraints on "robber barons"-he might become one one day! -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For the widow inhabits a tale not of her own telling. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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There was a Greek philosopher who taught that, of all things, not to have been born is the sweetest state. But I believe sleep is the sweetest state. You're dead, yet alive. There's no sensation so exquisite. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The greatest realities are physical and economic, all the subtleties of life come afterward. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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You could be thoroughly an intellectual while not surrendering maleness; you could not be so totally intellectual and not surrender some degree of femaleness. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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She had paid for these mistakes. (Had she?) But still, you are never fully acquitted of any mistake that involves another, and so the Intern had not been fully acquitted of her mistakes, and her shame of such mistakes. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The gardener is the quintessential optimist: not only does he believe that the future will bear out the fruits of his efforts, he believes in the future. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I'm drawn to failure. I feel that I'm contending with it constantly in my own life. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The - the sort of thing that I want to do is to strike a resonant chord of universality in other people, which is best done by fiction. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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And that's the insult of it, how always it comes back to a woman being a "good" mother in the world's eyes or a "bad" mother, how everything in a woman's life is funneled through her body between her legs. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Exotic: meaning you're "desired."
For madness is seductive, sexy. Female madness.
So long as the female is reasonably young and attractive. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Alone,alone! It is a fact, you hear more acutely and you see and think most acutely,when you are alone.
Alone, alone! But there is happiness in alone, if you believe you have chosen it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Derailed. In exile. Deeply ashamed, despised. Yet she had so little pride, she was grateful most days simply to be alive.
There is Minimalist art; there are minimalist lives. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Cherie, keep walking. Shut your eyes. We are headed for the bridge. We are going to cross it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Gossip - invented to injure feelings rather than illuminate the truth. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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My nature is orderly and observant and scrupulous and deeply introverted. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Near the point of impact, time acelerates to the speed of light. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Because I am in love. Love is a slow bleed. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It's fine, I have it. It's fine. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Often in gothic novels there's a large house, an estate, and it's symbolic of that culture. Usually it's sort of moldering or rotted or something, and sometimes it's a whole community. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Time is the enemy of lovers. Worse even than the frank light of day. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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FOR HYSTERICAL MAIDENS I WOULD PRESCRIBE MARRIAGE, FOR THEY ARE CURED BY PREGNANCY. - Hippocrates -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Like the philosophy credited to Jack Dempsey: The more punches a man takes, the closer he is to the end. Because a man has only a fixed number of punches he can take in his lifetime. Pa? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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went out for sports as others did, in an affable herd. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The most common misperception about me is that I write fast. I just write often. Every hour that I can. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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But how is it justice, God? Why do I deserve this?" She waited. God declined to reply. How -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Any kind of creative activity is likely to be stressful. The more anxiety, the more you feel that you are headed in the right direction. Easiness, relaxation, comfort - these are not conditions that usually accompany serious work. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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When a marriage ends, who is left to understand it? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Any writer who has difficulty in writing is probably not onto his true subject, but wasting time with false, petty goals; as soon as you connect with your true subject you will write. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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You never give such relationships a thought, To give a thought, to take a thought is a function of dissociation, distance. You can't exercise memory until you've removed yourself from memory's source. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Sometimes I read reviews, and without exception I will read critical essays that are sent to me. The critical essays are interesting on their own terms. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For The Accursed is intended as a work of inquiring moral complexity, and not a "sensationalist" rehashing of an old, dread scandal far better left to molder in the grave! -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Moving your asshole-mouth & YES SIR I am saying NO MA'AM I am saying. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Keeing busy is the remedy for all the ills in America. It's also the means by which the creative impulse is destroyed. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I think it's very important for writers and artists generally to be witnesses to the world, and to be transparent. To let other people speak ... to travel ... to experience the world. And memorialize it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For the wanting to be good,in defiance of justice, is one of mankind's greatest weaknesses. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Everything is entirely in Nature, and Nature is entire in everything. She has her center in every brute. - SCHOPENHAUER The -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I believe that any form of art is a species of exploration and transgression ... Art by its nature is a transgressive act, and artists must accept being punished for it. The more original and unsettling their art, the more devastating the punishment. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It must happen to everyone. The last time you make love, you can't know it will be the last. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The murderer is not protected! He is vulnerable. TO -- Joyce Carol Oates
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None of the rest of my life figures here. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Whoever was stupid was beneath worry or thought; you did not have to figure them out. This eliminated hundreds of people. In this life you had time only for a certain amount of thinking, and there was no need to waste any of it on people who were not threatening. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The hopeful young author had no doubt that books might change the world. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Grip of Paradox. A predatory bird with a great sharp beak and vicious talons - Paradox. To be in its grip is to suffer, yet so exquisitely, one might mistake the experience for a kind of ecstasy. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The brain is a muscle of busy hills, the struggle of unthought things with things eternally thought. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Anyone who teaches knows that you don't really experience a text until you've taught it, in loving detail, with an intelligent and responsive class. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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He was eight years older than I was, most of the calendar year. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Dorie herself was not very surprised, because a daydreamer is prepared for most things and in a way she had planned even this, though she had not guessed how it would come about. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The appeal of writing is primarily the investigation of mystery. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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What is destiny - a mechanical fact, a theoretical possibility, a concept, a superstition, a mere word? Ian McCullough was inclined to think one or another of these depending upon his mood. Destiny, the seemingly benign verso of fate. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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To be knocked out doesn't mean what it seems. A boxer does not have to get up. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Hating "The Great Gatsby" (the novel) is like spitting into the Grand Canyon. It will not be going away anytime soon, but you will be. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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She wasn't in love but she would love him, if that would save her. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Writing is a consequence of having been 'haunted' by material. Why this is, no one knows. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Yes, 'Black Girl/White Girl' might be described as a 'coming-of-age' novel, at least for the survivor Genna. It is also intended as a comment on race relations in America more generally: we are 'roommates' with one another, but how well do we know one another? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Yet the greening grasses and overarching elms and oaks, just beginning to come into leaf, gave the scene a picturesque air, like a fairy-tale dwelling; -- Joyce Carol Oates
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God's blessing is not always to be distinguished from His wrath. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It is no more malicious, and surely no more unnatural than the act of introducing the male black widow spider to the female of the species. For, what is one doing but hasten the procedure of Nature, and thereby abridging the narrative? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I'm nobody's daughter now. I'm through with that. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Before I undertake a lengthy project, I have usually given much thought to it over a period of years. My files are filled with likely subjects - which perhaps, one day, I will develop. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Your punishment if you're a woman. Not loved enough. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I know that there are many essential biological differences between the sexes, of course. But not so many 'culturally-mandated' differences. In First World countries we've evolved beyond mere biology -it isn't the fate of the human female to be pregnant continously until she wears out and dies. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Memory blurs, that's the point. If memory didn't blur you wouldn't have the fool's courage to do things again, again, again, that tear you apart. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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THANK YOU but please do not write again. And do not call. I have had enough of you. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Art is the highest expression of the human spirit. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I have beliefs, of course, like everyone-but I don't always believe in them. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I never really knew I wanted to 'be' a writer, but I was always writing from a very young age. It became more conscious as an ideal when I was in my twenties. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I've never thought of writing as the mere arrangement of words on the page but the attempted embodiment of a vision; a complex of emotions; raw experience. The effort of memorable art is to evoke in the reader or spectator emotions appropriate to that effort. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Celebrate while you can -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I read books. Avidly, ardently! As if my life depended upon it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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One writes to memorialize, and to bring to life again that which has been lost. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The worst cynicism: a belief in luck. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The surreal is as integral a part of our lives as the 'real,' although one might argue that, since the unconscious underlies consciousness, and we are continuously bombarded by images, moods, and memories from that uncharitable terrain, it is in fact more primary than the 'real. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The use of language is all we have to pit against death and silence. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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What had they been talking about? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The cleaning is something I use as a reward if I get some work done. I go into a very happy state of mind when I'm vacuuming. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Her Quaker instincts led her to apologize for wrongs not her own to minimize conflict. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Recently she had been going through a period of adolescent melancholia, often talking with her mother, a nurse, about death. She would, she hoped, be some day reincarnated as a cat. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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[I am] utterly entranced, at times, with the mere fact that there are other people, and that they experience themselves as the primary center of consciousness just as I do. That fact alone ... Well, that fact alone is staggering. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Darwin- I think the theory is: out of 'chaos' arises something that resembles 'design'. But it's all random. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I have so many favorite writers, it's very hard to select a few ... of classic writers, I have always admired Emily Dickinson and Henry David Thoreau. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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We begin as children imagining and fearing ghosts. By degrees, through our long lives, we come to be the very ghosts inhabiting the lost landscapes of our childhood. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The art of reading hardly differs from the art of writing, in that its most intense pleasures and pains must remains private, and cannot be communicated to others. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The relationship between parents and children, but especially between mothers and daughters, is tremendously powerful, scarcely to be comprehended in any rational way. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The denial of language is a suicidal one and we pay for it with our own lives. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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No, the thing is, we all love storytelling, and as a writer you get to tell stories all the time. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For his part, the stranger was drifting in Annabel's direction, yet not very deliberately. As if, in some way, he were being drawn to her, by some (unconscious) motion or motive of Annabel herself. Why -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Time is the element in which we exist ... We are either borne along by it or drowned in it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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That I was sleeping at a time when my husband was dying is so horrible a thought, I can't confront it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I write so much because my cat sits on my lap. She purrs so I don't want to get up. She's so much more calming than my husband. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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In all marriages there is the imbalance: one who loves more than the other. One who licks wounds in secret, the rust-taste of blood. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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My writing is full of lives I might have led. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Why you can't trust women. Even young girls. Can't know what the fuck they are thinking, can't know what they are feeling, can't know how they will surprise you except to know it won't be a surprise you will like. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Running! If there is any activity happier, more exhilarating, more nourishing to the imagination, I cannot think of what it might be. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It was a very American story, somehow. 'Lost.' Each community had such stories. Possibly, each family. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A lot of widows feel that they have betrayed their spouse by continuing to live. It's deranged thinking. I know that, but that doesn't stop you feeling it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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There's a German term- heimweh, homesickness. It's a powerful sensation, like a narcotic. A yearning from home, but for something more- a past self, perhaps. A lost self. When I first saw you on the street, Katya, I felt such a sensation ... I have no idea why -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A female is essentially a cunt, the pure purpose of the female is cunt, but a woman, a wife, is a cunt with a mouth, a man has to reckon with. It's a sobering fact: you start off with a cunt, you wind up with mouth. You wind up with your widow-to-be. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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In slow drowning waves the knowledge washed over Cressida, her professor did not think that she was so special after all. He didn't know her father Zeno. Was that it? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Much of my writing is energized by unresolved memories - something like ghosts in the psychological sense. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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People who are disenfranchised politically and people who are poor often don't vote. They often don't elect politicians, so the politicians who are supporting them are really being very charitable, because they're not going to give them billions of dollars in campaign funds. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It may be that actual tears have stained the tile floors or soaked into the carpets of such places. It may be that these tears can never be removed. And everywhere the odor of melancholy, that is the very odor of memory. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Legs was always proud even before FOXFIRE, that's the primary fact about Legs Sadovsky: pride. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For isn't the artist by nature a revolutionary? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Better to be despised, then, than to be ignored; or damned with condescending praise. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The secret of being a writer: not to expect others to value what you've done as you value it. Not to expect anyone else to perceive in it the emotions you have invested in it. Once this is understood, all will be well. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A three-quarter moon, glowering bone, with a hint of something bruised, battered, scarred. The moon has endured more than anybody can know. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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What does it mean to be born? After we die, will it be the same thing as it was before we were born? Or a different kind of nothingness? Because there might be knowledge then. Memory. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The ideal art, the noblest of art: working with the complexities of life, refusing to simplify, to "overcome" doubt. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Night comes to the desert all at once, as if someone turned off the light. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Henry James's later works would have been better had he resisted that curious sort of self-indulgence, dictating to a secretary. The roaming garrulousness of ordinary speech is usually corrected when it's transcribed into written prose. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It had seemed to me an elegant nightmare concoction made by adults for adults, to further the aims and fantasies of adults, and what have children to do with such things? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I was writing novels in high school and apprenticed myself in a way both to Faulkner and to Hemingway. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless! -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Mom was stubborn, and eloquent. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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As a child. I grew up on a small farm, so I did a lot of drawings of animals, chickens and people. At the bottom of every page, I'd put a strange scribble. I was emulating adult handwriting, though I didn't actually know how to write. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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We are linked by blood, and blood is memory without language. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Acting is the loneliest profession I know. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The suicide does not play the game, does not observe the rules. He leaves the party too soon, and leaves the other guests painfully uncomfortable. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Oh, it's a terrible, cruel thing - first you're young, and that takes up such a long time you think it's forever, then suddenly you're not young, and you never get used to it - and, oh dear, there's just the one way out. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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If this was a flirtation - and it felt like a flirtation - it was like no other flirtation in Katya's experience: with a man old enough to be her grandfather? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For memory is a moral action, a choice. You can choose to remember. You can choose not. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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We are the species that clamors to be lied to. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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On their own, your eyes did not naturally discover the sky. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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This web of intricate connections -- Joyce Carol Oates
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She would become, through the years, a woman who expected the worst, to relieve herself of the anxiety of hope. She would become a woman of calm, fatalistic principles, anticipating her life with the equanimity of a weather forecaster. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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HUSBAND: Is something wrong?
BETHIE: Why
why do you ask?
HUSBAND: You looked so lonely, suddenly. As if you'd forgotten I'm here. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Why should I want what's good for me?' Beatrice asked him, smiling. 'Is that what you want for yourself - only what's good for you? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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To love life for some men is to love fighting, for fighting, and not love, is seen as man's deepest passion. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Running! If there's any activity happier, more exhilarating, more nourishing to the imagination, I can't think of what it might be. In running the mind flees with the body, the mysterious efflorescence of language seems to pulse in the brain, in rhythm with our feet and the swinging of our arms. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Even as a young child, I was a lover of books and of the spaces in which, as indeed in a sacred temple, books might safely reside. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I stand before you,
naked as clear water.
To be with you,
in blood and soul
into your fire storm.
Even at your
darkest when your
heart is a Black Forest,
I stand with commitment . -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The body can't distinguish between cleansing and punishing for the body is ignorant, and mute besides. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A bully is one who forces you to laugh at his jokes, even if they are not jokes. That is how you know he is a bully. A -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I would know of myself through the witnessing and naming of others. As Jesus in the Gospels is only seen and spoken of and recorded by others. I would know my existence and the value of that existence through others' eyes, which I believed I could trust as I could not trust my own. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I learned long ago that being Lewis Carroll was infinitely more exciting than being Alice. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Novels begin, not on the page, but in meditation and day-dreaming - In thinking, not writing. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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What madness! Yet she would do it, if she could force herself. She'd become, she believed, a stronger person: a willful, resolute. Like the man who adored her, reckless. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Life is like boxing in many unsettling respects. But boxing is only like boxing. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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"Because there has been no one to stop me" has been one of the principles of my life. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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To be Jewish is to be specifically identified with a history. And if you're not aware of that when you're a child, the whole tradition is lost. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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we're sick of ourselves. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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An actress wants to be seen. An actress wants to be loved. By multitudes of people, not just one lone man. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Like a flame is real enough, isn't it, while it's burning?-even if there's a time it goes out? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Dust jackets are always something of an enigma to me. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The great happiness in life in creativity belongs to amateurs. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Especially she dreaded the isolation of the swimmer, amid propelled and splashing figures yet she was isolated, always one isolated in the water where thoughts await like froth on the surface of the water that smelled like chemicals. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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So they'd fucked up her life, those guys she'd trusted, for fun. What the hell. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The worst thing: to give yourself away in exchange for not enough love. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For writing is a solitary occupation, and one of its hazards is loneliness. But an advantage of loneliness is privacy, autonomy, freedom. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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To the young there are no degrees of old just as there are no degrees of dead - either you are, or you are not. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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She was one who wished to believe the human motives precede actions for she was (she had always been) a rational individual yet clearly there were times (was this one of those times?) when actions might precede motives and even render them useless. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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When you give up struggle, there's a kind of love. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Strange: how when a light is extinguished, it's immediately as if it has never been. Darkness fills in again, complete. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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How crucial for us to rehearse the future, in words.
Never to doubt that you will live to utter them.
Never to doubt that you will tell your story. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Without craft, art remains private. Without art, craft is merely hackwork. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Only when men are connected to large, universal goals are they really happy-and one result of their happiness is a rush of creative activity. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Because nothing between human beings is uncomplicated and there's no way to speak of human beings without simplifying and misrepresenting them. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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These were no-man's-lands, limbos of a sort, places where language did not prevail and the only protection was flight, if you could run fast enough; or submission if you couldn't. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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As a farm girl, even when I was quite young, I had my 'farm chores' - but I had time also to be alone, to explore the fields, woods and creek side. And to read. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Marriage, family. What else is there? You had to grow up. You had to accept it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Yes, I've listened to just a few audiobooks - but hope to listen to more. I've wanted to investigate how my own books sound in this format and find the experience of listening, and not reading, quite fascinating. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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In that way you recall, suddenly, sharply, in daylight, a trace of a dream of the previous night
but even as you recall it, it begins to fade. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Writers are notoriously unable to know about themselves. Faulkner thought 'The Fable' was his best novel. F. Scott Fitzgerald liked 'Tender Is the Night,' an experimental novel. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Being a grand-kid, you can so easily regress. All the ages you ever were are all recalled by the grandparent in a shimmery love-haze, like those blurred faces on tv, in which identities have been disguised. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The mere passage of time makes us all exiles. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Like a turnip such a head could be blown away very easily. For where a man was weak, a woman has unmanned him. It would be a mercy to blow such a man away. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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There could be no romance in the terrible possibility that Gretel Nissenbaum had fled on foot, alone, not to her family but simply to escape from her life; in what exigency of need, what despondency of spirit, no name might be given it by any who have not experienced it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Fear in her eyes that were a damp blurred blue Patrick would afterward recall, -- Joyce Carol Oates
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How lawyers make work for one another! You're all priests, worshipping the same god. No wonder you adore one another. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Boxing is about being hit rather more than it is about hitting, just as it is about feeling pain, if not devastating psychological paralysis, more than it is about winning. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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We see the shadows of things, not the things themselves . . . We are forced to imagine what the writer doesn't reveal. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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You love the life you've lived because it is yours. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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In a family, what isn't spoken is what you listen for. But the noise of a family is to drown it out. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Early publication can be a dubious blessing: we all know writers who would give anything not to have published their first book, and go about trying to buy up all existing copies. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I could never take the idea of religion very seriously. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The things that link us deepest, we can't feel.
Except if they're taken from us. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Evil' is after all a relative term: there being a minor and pragmatical sort, to be disposed of as one swats a fly, and a vast, all-encompassing, one might say universal sort, that must be halted by any means at hand. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I probably spend 90% of my time revising what I've written. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The third man in the ring makes boxing possible. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Much of the time he lay part-dressed on his bed, sipping gin, and thinking, and thinking, - though what it was, of which he thought, he seemed not to know. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Still, I am angry with him. I am very angry with him. With my poor dead defenseless husband, I am furious as I was rarely - perhaps never - furious with him, in life. How can I forgive you, you've ruined both our lives. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For some reason, voters can be brainwashed, and they vote sometimes against their own best interests, let alone voting against the interests of people who need them, like people who are disenfranchised and people who are poor and so forth. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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And the thought consoled me, as it does now: everything you believe you have imagined is real. You have only to outlive it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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For what is delusion but the prelude to hurt. And what is hurt but the prelude to rage. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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These are the moments for which we live. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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If food is poetry, is not poetry also food? -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Critics sometimes appear to be addressing themselves to works other than those I remember writing. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Only in love is there trust - even the possibility of trust. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Marianne laughed. But you can't disappoint me! I don't love you. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I always rewrite the very beginning of a novel. I rewrite the beginning as I write the ending, so I may spend part of morning writing the ending, the last 100 pages approximately, and then part of the morning revising the beginning. So the style of the novel has a consistency. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Just to pose certain questions is, I guess, to show your hope they can be answered. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Can compromise be an art? Yes--but a minor art. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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You are writing for your contemporaries - not for Posterity. If you are lucky, your contemporaries will become Posterity. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It seems disingenuous to ask a writer why she, or he, is writing about a violent subject when the world and history are filled with violence. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Before you can write a novel you have to have a number of ideas that come together. One idea is not enough. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Like editing, gardening requires infinite patience; it requires an essential selflessness, and optimism. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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So we invent reasons for the unreasonable. We are rationalists of the irrational. It -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Truths are the last thing you learn about your family. By the time you learn, you're no longer their child. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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You need so much energy and encouragement to write that if someone says something negative, some of that energy goes. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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My belief is that art should not be comforting; for comfort, we have mass entertainment and one another. Art should provoke, disturb, arouse our emotions, expand our sympathies in directions we may not anticipate and may not even wish. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Burnaby wasn't a Christian but he behaved like a Christian is supposed to behave which made Colborne, a Christian, uncomfortable. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Our lives are Mobius strips, misery and wonder simultaneously. Our destinies are infinite, and infinitely recurring. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Every scar in my face is worth it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Poetry is what frightens. It is rare, and worth waiting for. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It's not hard to write poorly. But to write something good, it has to be revised. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Our enemy is by tradition our savior, in preventing us from superficiality. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Foolish woman, don't despair. My justice is My mercy. 5 -- Joyce Carol Oates
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He had no idea of my misery. It would have surprised him to think that I was a human creature with a soul. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The quiet people just do their work. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Silence rolled at me, in waves.
They are all dead, and you are free.
And you are blameless. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The challenge is, to live in a house from which meaning has departed, like air leaking from a balloon. A slow leak, yet lethal. And one day, the balloon is flat: it is not a balloon any longer. By -- Joyce Carol Oates
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When people say there is too much violence in my books, what they are saying is there is too much reality in life. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Beauty is a question of optics. All sight is illusion. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Probably nothing serious or worthwhile can be accomplished without one's willingness to be alone for sustained periods of time, which is not to say that one must live alone, obsessively. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Getting the first draft finished is like pushing a very dirty peanut across the floor with your nose. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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The folly of war is that it can have no natural end except in the extinction an entire people. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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You who are non-believers rely upon us, to confirm your sense of superiority. You need to imagine us as unchanged, unchangeable. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Great handfuls of her life were being stolen from her and she would never be able to retrieve them. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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There is a terrible weight in all kinds of beauty -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Obviously the imagination is fueled by emotions beyond the control of the conscious mind. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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You can't deny Eros. Eros wills trike, like lightning. Our human defenses are frail, ludicrous. Like plasterboard houses in a hurricane. Your triumph is in perfect submission. And the god of Eros will flow through you, as Lawrence says, in the 'perfect obliteration of blood consciousness. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I am what would be called a 'mainstream feminist,' not a radical feminist. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Is joy in life, a terrible joy. There is joy for the taking if you are not afraid. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I don't want anything from you but the fact of you. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I don't read for amusement, I read for enlightenment. I do a lot of reviewing, so I have a steady assignment of reading. I'm also a judge for the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, which gives awards to literature and nonfiction. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I have read on a Kindle. But the Kindle we had only worked for about eight months then it stopped working. You don't have to get books repaired. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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perfection of the life or of the work -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A diverse and lively collection, the highest art of the interview. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Detroit, my 'great' subject, made me the person I am, consequently the writer I am - for better or worse. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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Perhaps the inevitable tragedy of our complex civilization is that we must be specialists in our fields - and our fields have become increasingly difficult, so that communication is nearly impossible. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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One of the large consolations for experiencing anything unpleasant is the knowledge that one can communicate it. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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A daydreamer is prepared for most things. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I am always reading or thinking about reading. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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It was hard not to exude the air of a martyr, if one did just slightly more than the other, as it seemed Mickey frequently did. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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One man's insanity is another man's genius; someday the world will recognize the genius in my insanity. -- Joyce Carol Oates
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I'm Legs Sadovsky I'm FOXFIRE I don't fuck around with guys. -- Joyce Carol Oates