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
The most superior Joyce Carol Oates quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening
Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.
Night comes to the desert all at once, as if someone turned off the light.
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.
I never change, I simply become more myself.
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.
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.
Keep a light, hopeful heart. But expect the worst.
See, people come into your life for a reason.
They might not know it themselves, why. You might not know it. But there's a reason. There has to be
Running! If there's any activity happier, more exhilarating, more nourishing to the imagination, I can't think of what it might be.
I have forced myself to begin writing when I've been utterly exhausted, when I've felt my soul as thin as a playing card…and somehow the activity of writing changes everything.
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.
We are linked by blood, and blood is memory without language.
When you're 50 you start thinking about things you haven't thought about before.
I used to think getting old was about vanity -- but actually it's about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial.
There is an hour, a minute - you will remember it forever - when you know instinctively on the basis of the most inconsequential evidence, that something is wrong. You don't know - can't know - that it is the first of a series of "wrongful" events that will culminate in the utter devastation of your life as you have known it.
Budapest in late May is a city of lilacs.
The sweet, languid, rather sleepy smell of lilacs wafts everywhere. And it is a city of lovers, many of them quite middle-aged. Walking with their arms around each other, embracing and kissing on park benches. A sensuousness very much bound up (it seems to me) with the heady ubiquitous smell of lilacs.
Look at the world and see what's there.
It's very beautiful. It's a very exciting but in some ways treacherous world, and all this goes into the writing.
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.
Self-criticism is an art not many are qualified to practice.
It is only through disruptions and confusion that we grow, jarred out of ourselves by the collision of someone else's private world with our own.
The mere passage of time makes us all exiles.
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.
The worst cynicism: a belief in luck.
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.
I used to think getting old was about vanity but actually it's about losing people you love.
Of our hurts we make monuments of survival. If we survive.
Boxing has become America's tragic theater.
Nothing is accidental in the universe -- this is one of my Laws of Physics -- except the entire universe itself, which is Pure Accident, pure divinity.
The worst thing: to give yourself away in exchange for not enough love.
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.
Nothing is accidental in the universe - this is one of my Laws of Physics - except the entire universe itself, which is Pure Accident, pure divinity.
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.
Loneliness is like starvation: you don't realize how hungry you are until you begin to eat.
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.
To be knocked out doesn't mean what it seems. A boxer does not have to get up.
The third man in the ring makes boxing possible.
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.
The quiet people just do their work.
Stories come to us as wraiths requiring precise embodiments.
Maybe, love is always forgiveness, to a degree.
Art is about freedom of expression, and should not be molded to fit any propaganda or lofty ideal.
The best revenge is living well without you.
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.
We inhabit ourselves without valuing ourselves, unable to see that here, now, this very moment is sacred; but once it’s gone – its value is incontestable.
My nature is orderly and observant and scrupulous and deeply introverted.
Boxing is a celebration of the lost religion of masculinity all the more trenchant for its being lost.
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.
I am the presence standing here at this juncture of Time & Space- who else?
Flying fosters fantasies of childhood, of omnipotence, rapid shifts of being, miraculous moments; it stirs our capacity for dreaming.
Writing is a solitary occupation, and one of its hazards is loneliness.
But an advantage of loneliness is privacy, autonomy and freedom.
The first sentence cant be written until the final sentence is written.