Oates on Writerly Influences


“It’s said

that the influences

that matter

greatly to us

come early.”


How solitary I’ve always felt, in my writing life. Unlike nearly all my writer friends, especially my poet friends, I never really had a “mentor”—never anyone to whom I might show my work in progress in anything approaching an ongoing, still less an intimate or “profound,” relationship.

Even during my marriage of many years—which ended in February 2008 with the sudden death of my husband, Raymond Smith—my writing occupied another compartment of my life, apart from my married life. I am very uneasy when people close to me read my writing—my fiction—as if I were intruding on their sense of me, which I would not wish to violate; I think that the life of the artist can be detached from the life of the “art”—no one is comfortable when others perceive, or believe they can perceive, the wellsprings of their “art” amid the unremarkable detritus of life.


Joyce Carol Oates
Notes on Writerly Influences






~ by eaesthete on 10/13/09.

One Response to “Oates on Writerly Influences”

  1. complex thought from a complex Oates. It seems a lonely life to be so passionate about an art that no one close can or will share. la

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