The Warmth of Joyce Carol Oates

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I don't much care for many of the works of Joyce Carol Oates, although some stand out brilliantly against her vast opus; however, I have always liked the sense of the person I received when reading Joyce Carol Oates. An example:

from The Faith of a Writer
Joyce Carol Oates

What advice can an older writer presume to offer a younger? Only what he or she might wish to have been told years ago. Don't be discouraged! Don't cast sidelong glances and compare yourself to others among your peers! (Writing is not a race. No one really "wins." The satisfaction is in the effort, and rarely in the consequent rewards, if there are any.) And again, write your heart out.

Read widely and without apology. Read what you want to read, not what someone tells you you should read. (As Hamlet remarks, "I know not 'should.' ") Immerse yourself in a writer you love, and read everything he or she has written, including the very earliest work. Especially the very earliest work. Before the great writer became great, or even good, he/she was groping for a way, fumbling to acquire a voice, perhaps just like you.

What good common-sense. What profound human sympathy. It is this strain and these things that I love when I find them in Oates's writing. They lift me up as I read them and set me down gently, renewed and ready to go on again.

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Excellent advice!! Thank you!!



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on February 8, 2007 8:30 AM.

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