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Top 450 Joyce Carol Oates Quotes (2023 Update)
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Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “For memory is a moral action, a choice. You can choose to remember. You can choose not.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Secrets of the adult universe, forbidden for children to know: how beauty and suffering are intertwined.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Her wish to die was as pervasive as a dial tone: you lift the receiver, it’s always there.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “The best part of being a nanny, Katya thought, was reading children’s books aloud to enraptured children like Tricia, for no one had read such books aloud to her when she’d been a little girl. There hadn’t been such books in the Spivak household on County Line Road, nor would there have been any time for such interludes.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Asked by a journalist how he had felt after an unsuccessful election, Abraham Lincoln said, Like a little boy who stubbed his toe in the dark, he was too old to cry but it hurt too much to laugh.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “In no other sport is the connection between performer and observer so intimate, so frequently painful, so unresolved.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “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 Quote: “I believe in uttering the truth, even if it hurts. Particularly if it hurts.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “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 Quote: “Flying fosters fantasies of childhood, of omnipotence, rapid shifts of being, miraculous moments; it stirs our capacity for dreaming.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “The novel is the affliction for which only the novel is the cure.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “The minutiae of our lives! Telephone calls, errands, appointments. None of these is of the slightest significance to others and but fleetingly to us yet they constitute such a portion of our lives, it might be argued that our lives are a concatenation of minutiae interrupted at unpredictable times by significant events.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “The punishment – to the body, the brain, the spirit – a man must endure to become even a moderately good boxer is inconceivable to most of us whose idea of personal risk is largely ego-related or emotional.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “One writes to memorialize, and to bring to life again that which has been lost.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “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 Quote: “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 Quote: “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 Quote: “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 Quote: “There’s a sort of melancholy romance to the experience of being lonesome. I think of reading as a kind of romantic alone activity that you’re doing. The image would include being curled up somewhere on a rainy day and you’re reading very intensely involved in a world that no one can see because it’s inside your head.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Ambitious, absorbing, and poignantly moving.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Maidstone exerts a curious spell upon the observer: suggesting, in its somewhat blunt, foursquare architecture, and its towering chimneys and exceptionally tall, narrow, and “brooding” windows, frequently kept shuttered, an unusual blend of the funereal and the sublime. As.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “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 Quote: “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 Quote: “Josiah feel that, for a moment, he’d been cast back to his adolescent self on this very campus: essentially, a claustrophobic little world of privilege and anxiety in which one was made to care too much about too little.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “You have hardened your heart against your “American cousin.” It was courageous in the memoir to state so clearly how you had to harden your heart against so much, to survive. Americans believe that suffering makes saints of us, which is a joke. Still I realize you have no time for me in your life now. There is no “purpose” to me. Even.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “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 Quote: “Like most people, I can be very easily hurt.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “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 Quote: “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 Quote: “It must happen to everyone. The last time you make love, you can’t know it will be the last.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “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 Quote: “Only in love is there trust – even the possibility of trust.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Strange: how when a light is extinguished, it’s immediately as if it has never been. Darkness fills in again, complete.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “It’s not hard to write poorly. But to write something good, it has to be revised.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Nowhere in a hospital can you walk without blundering into the memory pools of strangers – their dread of what was imminent in their lives, their false hopes, the wild elation of their hopes, their sudden terrible and irrefutable knowledge; you would not wish to hear echoes of their whispered exchanges – But he was looking so well yesterday, what has happened to him overnight –.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “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 Quote: “No, the thing is, we all love storytelling, and as a writer you get to tell stories all the time.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “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 Quote: “Marianne laughed. But you can’t disappoint me! I don’t love you.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “I was writing novels in high school and apprenticed myself in a way both to Faulkner and to Hemingway.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Adriana loved even the rank animal smell of the man’s body, her sweat-slicked breasts and belly flattened beneath him, and her arms and legs clutching him as a drowning woman might clutch another person to save her life. Don’t don’t don’t don’t leave me. DON’T LEAVE ME. As in animal copulation the frenzy is to be locked together not out of sentiment or choice but physical compulsion. As if bolts of electric current ran through both their bodies and would only release them from each other when it ceased.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Love is not enough to keep us from harm.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “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 Quote: “A library is a mausoleum: books of the dead. And so many. And so many secrets lost to him forever. Hadn’t time for it all and if he couldn’t do it all then there was no point in doing any of it. For such an effort would be like drawing a single breath in the knowledge that you would not draw another. You were fated to suffocate, to die. You were fated to become extinct.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “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 Quote: “I am always reading or thinking about reading.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “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 Quote: “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 Quote: “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 Quote: “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.”
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