Joyce Carol Oates Quotes

Most popular Joyce Carol Oates Quotes

Boxing has become America's tragic theater.
— Joyce Carol Oates

boxing

Can compromise be an art?—yes, but a minor art.

compromise

Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make famous.

fame

The blow you can't see coming is the blow that knocks you out.
Love commingled with hate is more powerful than love. Or hate.
— Joyce Carol Oates

love

Near the point of impact, time accelerates to the speed of light.

time

The artwork labors to create itself: One must only not interfere.
— Joyce Carol Oates

art

If you are a writer you locate yourself behind a wall of silence.

writers

Our enemy is by tradition our savior, in preventing us from superficiality.

enemies

I used to think getting old was about vanity but actually it's about losing people you love.
— Joyce Carol Oates

aging

I used to think that getting old was about vanity—but actually it's about losing people you love.

aging

Getting the first draft finished is like pushing a peanut with your nose across a very dirty floor.

writing

In The Paradox of Acting she'd read: All actors are whores. They want only one thing: to seduce you.

actors

Boxing is a celebration of the lost religion of masculinity all the more trenchant for its being lost.

boxing

In no other sport is the connection between performer and observer so intimate, so frequently painful, so unresolved.
— Joyce Carol Oates

boxing

It is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin; another's voice; another's soul.

reading

Women want the seemingly impossible: that men treat them with the respect and fair-mindedness with which they treat most men.
— Joyce Carol Oates

women's rights

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

symbol

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.
— Joyce Carol Oates
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.
— Joyce Carol Oates
Perhaps evil isn't a cosmological riddle, only just selfish human behavior, and this behavior the result of conscious, accountable choice.

selfishness evil

What is a family, after all, except memories?—haphazard and precious as the contents of a catchall drawer in the kitchen (called the "junk drawer" in our household, for good reason)

family

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 be writing, because you have that space.
— Joyce Carol Oates

writing

Boxing as a public spectacle is akin to pornography: in each case the spectator is made a voyeur, distanced, yet presumably intimately involved, in an event that is not supposed to happening as it is happening.

boxing

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 not to see your opponent is you.

life