Quotations for Writers by Joyce Carol Oates

By | October 22, 2017

Quotations for Writers by Joyce Carol Oates

by | Oct 22, 2017 | Quotes | 0 comments

Joyce Carol Oates | slip helplessly into another’s soul…

Joyce Carol Oates

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

slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin

Joyce Carol Oates is the rarest of commodities, an author modest about her work, though there is such a quantity of it that she has three publishers—one for fiction, one for poetry and a “small press” for more experimental work, limited editions, and books her other publishers simply cannot schedule…

Ms. Oates is striking-looking and slender, with dark hair and large, inquiring eyes. She is highly attractive but not photogenic; no photo has ever done justice to her appearance, which conveys grace and high intelligence. If her manner is taken for aloofness—as it sometimes has been—it is, in fact, a shyness that the publication of thirty-three books, the production of three plays, and the winning of the National Book Award has not displaced.

Robert Phillips

Paris Review, Joyce Carol Oates, The Art of Fiction

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates

My theory is that literature is essential to society in the way that dreams are essential to our lives. We can’t live without dreaming – as we can’t live without sleep. We are ‘conscious’ beings for only a limited period of time, then we sink back into sleep – the ‘unconscious.’ It is nourishing, in ways we can’t fully understand.

Obviously the imagination is fueled by emotions beyond the control of the conscious mind.

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates ~ a brief bio

Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938) is an American writer. Oates published her first book in 1963 and has since published over 40 novels, as well as a number of plays and novellas, and many volumes of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. Oates has taught at Princeton University since 1978 and is currently the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor Emerita in the Humanities with the Program in Creative Writing.

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates

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.

I don’t read for amusement, I read for enlightenment.

Joyce Carol Oates

To write a novel is to embark on a quest that is very romantic. People have visions, and the next step is to execute them. That’s a very romantic project. Like Edvard Munch’s strange dreamlike canvases where people are stylized, like ‘The Scream.’ Munch must have had that vision in a dream, he never saw it.

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates

Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions.

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

5 time Pulitzer Prize finalist

  • 1970: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction – The Wheel of Love and Other Stories
  • 1993: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction – Black Water
  • 1995: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction – What I Lived For
  • 2001: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction – Blonde
  • 2015: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction – Lovely, Dark, Deep: Stories

It’s not hard to write poorly. But to write something good, it has to be revised.

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates

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 - BuzzFeed Interview

Each work has its own integrity. If you’re writing a short story, the story’s probably going to be about 25 pages long with a certain density and lyricism. You can’t write it too fast, because that’s how long it takes. So, the important thing is the integrity of that work. Now, a shorter story, something like a delightful little thing by Donald Barthelme, is sort of like a flame; you light the match and it burns — it’s really quick. Something like that is usually three pages long, and you wouldn’t want to take three months to work on that because that’s not appropriate. But if you’re taking an ambitious subject — like a novel about two families going through a tough time for 10 years or 12 years or so — it takes a long time, sort of spiritually and emotionally, just to grasp that. I think that’s one of my problems: I’m trying to fully realize each paragraph but then not make it too long. There’s always breaks and editing, so I’m going forward then taking some steps back, but before I would just go forward and then go back to the beginning and do the whole thing over again. I recommend to my students that they do the whole thing quickly and then revise, that they not write the way I do. But everybody I know writes the way I do.

Joyce Carol Oates

A writer can’t subtract or excise any of his/her past because doing so would erase the work produced during that time.

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

Joyce Carol Oates

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 – Awards

  • 1955-1956: Scholastic Art & Writing Award
  • 1967: O. Henry Award – “In the Region of Ice”
  • 1968: M. L. Rosenthal Award, National Institute of Arts and Letters – A Garden of Earthly Delights
  • 1970: National Book Award for Fiction – them
  • 1973: O. Henry Award – “The Dead”
  • 1988: St. Louis Literary Award from the Saint Louis University Library Associates
  • 1990: Rea Award for the Short Story
  • 1996: Bram Stoker Award for Novel – Zombie
  • 1996: PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Art of the Short Story
  • 2002: Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award
  • 2003: Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement (The Kenyon Review)
  • 2005: Prix Femina Etranger – The Falls
  • 2006: Chicago Tribune Literary Prize (Chicago Tribune)
  • 2006: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Mount Holyoke College
  • 2007: Humanist of the Year, American Humanist Association
  • 2009: Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement, NBCC
  • 2010: National Humanities Medal
  • 2010: Fernanda Pivano Award
  • 2011: Honorary Doctor of Arts, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2011: World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction – Fossil-Figures
  • 2012: Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection – The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares
  • 2012: Stone Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement, Oregon State University
  • 2012: Norman Mailer Prize, Lifetime Achievement
  • 2013: Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection – Black Dahlia and White Rose: Stories

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

Joyce Carol Oates

Productivity is a relative matter. And it’s really insignificant: What is ultimately important is a writer’s strongest books. It may be the case that we all must write many books in order to achieve a few lasting ones – just as a young writer or poet might have to write hundreds of poems before writing his first significant one.

One writes to memorialize, and to bring to life again that which has been lost.

Joyce Carol Oates

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