Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Inspirational quotes by Joyce Carol Oates on love, nature, war, children, injustice and other things.

100 Inspirational Quotes By Joyce Carol Oates, The Author Of We Were The Mulvaneys

Quick Facts

Famous As: Writer

Born On: June 16, 1938

Born In: Lockport, New York, U.S.

Winner of a National Book Award, two O. Henry Awards, and the National Humanities Medal apart from five Pulitzer Prize nominations, Joyce Carol Oates need no introduction. Her brilliant piece of work says much about her acclaimed writing career that has created a niche for her as an American writer, novelist, essayist and playwright. Oates is a prodigious writer and was born with a love for literature and writing. Lewis Carroll’s book, ‘Alice's Adventures in Wonderland’ caused the most profound literary influence that changed the course of her life. And rest as they say is history. Oates began writing when she was 14. She made her debut in 1963 with the short story, ‘By the North Gate’. Ever since then, Oates has penned more than 40 novels, plays, poetry, non-fiction and short stories. Her most famous novel is ‘We Were the Mulvaneys’. Most of her works revolve around the theme of rural poverty, sexual abuse, class tensions, desire for power, female childhood and adolescence, and occasionally supernatural. Violence also features as a constant in her work. These themes are also visible in her quotes that say much of life and living. Go through his section and get inspired with a new perspective of life through some of Joyce Carol Oates’ quotes.

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I never change, I simply become more myself.

Joyce Carol Oates

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

Joyce Carol Oates

The best revenge is living well without you.

Joyce Carol Oates

The worst thing: to give yourself away in exchange for not enough love.

Joyce Carol Oates

Loneliness is like starvation: you don't realize how hungry you are until you begin to eat.

Joyce Carol Oates

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

Joyce Carol Oates

In love there are two things - bodies and words.

Joyce Carol Oates

A daydreamer is prepared for most things.

Joyce Carol Oates

He was ugly, himself. Weird-ugly. But ugliness in a man doesn't matter, much. Ugliness in a woman is her life.

Joyce Carol Oates

Keep a light, hopeful heart. But expect the worst.

Joyce Carol Oates

We work in the dark—we do what we can—we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.

Joyce Carol Oates

Keeing busy" is the remedy for all the ills in America. It's also the means by which the creative impulse is destroyed.

Joyce Carol Oates

Every scar in my face is worth it.

Joyce Carol Oates

Writing is a consequence of having been 'haunted' by material. Why this is, no one knows.

Joyce Carol Oates

I had forgotten that time wasn't fixed like concrete but in fact was fluid as sand, or water. I had forgotten that even misery can end.

Joyce Carol Oates

If I try to summon back his face, the sound of his voice, and the sensation in my stomach like a key turning in a lock when he touched me, I lose everything.

Joyce Carol Oates

She wasn't in love but she would love him, if that would save her.

Joyce Carol Oates

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.

Joyce Carol Oates

Death is just the last scene of the last act.

Joyce Carol Oates

Of our hurts we make monuments of survival. If we survive.

Joyce Carol Oates

Read widely, and without apology. Read what you want to read, not what someone tells you you should read.

Joyce Carol Oates

My self is all to me. I don't have any need of you.

Joyce Carol Oates

We are linked by blood, and blood is memory without language.

Joyce Carol Oates

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.

Joyce Carol Oates

It feels good, honey, but it isn't love.

Joyce Carol Oates

Which is why we say I can't live without you meaning your life gives life to me, who am otherwise an empty vessel, nameless.

Joyce Carol Oates

I could EAT YOUR HEART & asshole you'd never know it.

Joyce Carol Oates

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

I was trying not to be happy, hopeful. I did not believe I deserved happiness or even hope, if you knew my soul.

Joyce Carol Oates

Exotic: meaning you're "desired." For madness is seductive, sexy. Female madness. So long as the female is reasonably young and attractive.

Joyce Carol Oates

The ideal art, the noblest of art: working with the complexities of life, refusing to simplify, to "overcome" doubt.

Joyce Carol Oates

Her wish to die was as pervasive as a dial tone: you lift the receiver, it's always there.

Joyce Carol Oates

Taking the law into your own hands, fuck what's wrong with that?

Joyce Carol Oates

The heavenly light you admire is fossil-light, it's the unfathomably distant past you gaze into, stars long extinct

Joyce Carol Oates

You wake up one morning, those years are gone. There's a comfort in this fact perhaps. I want to think that there must be comfort in all facts we can't alter.

Joyce Carol Oates

Beauty is a question of optics. All sight is illusion.

Joyce Carol Oates

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.

Joyce Carol Oates

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.

Joyce Carol Oates

I'm drawn to failure. I feel that I'm contending with it constantly in my own life.

Joyce Carol Oates

Love commingled with hate is more powerful than love. Or hate.

Joyce Carol Oates

... such speculation is like staring into the hot white sun. you know the sun is there but you can't see a thing.

Joyce Carol Oates

For what is delusion but the prelude to hurt. And what is hurt but the prelude to rage.

Joyce Carol Oates

There is an hour when you realize: here is what you have been given. More than this, you won't receive. And what this is, what your life has come to, will be taken from you. In time.

Joyce Carol Oates

A mouth of no distinction but well practiced, before I entered my teens, in irony. For what is irony but the repository of hurt? And what is hurt but the repository of hope?

Joyce Carol Oates

Sometimes people surprise us. People we believe we know.

Joyce Carol Oates

The danger of motherhood. you relive your early self, through the eyes of your mother.

Joyce Carol Oates

. . . there is a wish in the heart of mankind to be distracted and confused. Truth is but one attraction, and not always the most powerful.

Joyce Carol Oates

I love insult, it's always honest.

Joyce Carol Oates

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.

Joyce Carol Oates

Even if I seemed to remember, I could not know. For just to remember something is not to know if it really happened. That is a primary fact of the inner life, the most difficult fact with which we must live.

Joyce Carol Oates

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.

Joyce Carol Oates

Like a flame is real enough, isn't it, while it's burning?-even if there's a time it goes out?

Joyce Carol Oates

I'm sure all that you've heard is just the usual gossip, invented to injure feelings rather than illuminate truth.

Joyce Carol Oates

Dear girl! Life is addictive. Yet we must live.

Joyce Carol Oates

In a family, what isn't spoken is what you listen for. But the noise of a family is to drown it out.

Joyce Carol Oates

These are the moments for which we live.

Joyce Carol Oates

For what are the words with which to summarize a lifetime, so much crowded confused happiness terminated by such stark slow-motion pain?

Joyce Carol Oates

Her problem wasn't she was a dumb blonde, it was she wasn't a blonde and she wasn't dumb.

Joyce Carol Oates

Was it confusing because it was artistic, or artistic because it was confusing?

Joyce Carol Oates

Writing! The activity for which the only adequate bribe is the possibility of suicide, one day.

Joyce Carol Oates

The denial of language is a suicidal one and we pay for it with our own lives.

Joyce Carol Oates

Maybe, love is always forgiveness, to a degree.

Joyce Carol Oates

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

One man's insanity is another man's genius; someday the world will recognize the genius in my insanity.

Joyce Carol Oates

You don't have to understand why anything that has happened nor do you even have to understand what it is that has happened. You have only to live with the remains.

Joyce Carol Oates

There was a Greek philosopher who taught that, of all things, not to have been born is the sweetest state. But I believe sleep is the sweetest state. You're dead, yet alive. There's no sensation so exquisite.

Joyce Carol Oates

I'm nobody's daughter now. I'm through with that.

Joyce Carol Oates

I'm Legs Sadovsky I'm FOXFIRE I don't fuck around with guys.

Joyce Carol Oates

For obviously the advantage for most writers is that no one sees them. The writer is invisible, which confers power.

Joyce Carol Oates

When you give up struggle, there's a kind of love.

Joyce Carol Oates

Your punishment if you're a woman. Not loved enough.

Joyce Carol Oates

What madness! Yet she would do it, if she could force herself. She'd become, she believed, a stronger person: a willful, resolute. Like the man who adored her, reckless.

Joyce Carol Oates

From Mother you will inherit the belief that you can journey to your fate, there's a place to be located on a map that's destiny. If only you can get there. If it isn't too late. If no one stops you.

Joyce Carol Oates

The novel is perhaps the highest art form because it so closely resembles life: it is about human relationships. It's technique, page by page, resembles our technique of living day by day--a way of relating.

Joyce Carol Oates

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.

Joyce Carol Oates

Yet I will make you all love me and I will punish myself to spite your love.

Joyce Carol Oates

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

I am the presence standing here at this juncture of Time & Space- who else?

Joyce Carol Oates

Why should I want what's good for me?' Beatrice asked him, smiling. 'Is that what you want for yourself - only what's good for you?

Joyce Carol Oates

Cherie, keep walking. Shut your eyes. We are headed for the bridge. We are going to cross it.

Joyce Carol Oates

How crucial for us to rehearse the future, in words. Never to doubt that you will live to utter them. Never to doubt that you will tell your story.

Joyce Carol Oates

Our lives can only be interpreted in retrospect, yet must be lived from day to day, blindly. What folly, the human condition!

Joyce Carol Oates

This was before voice mail, recorded phone messages you can't escape. Life was easier then. You just didn't pick up the phone.

Joyce Carol Oates

The distinction between "assistant" and intern" is a simple one: assistants are paid, interns are not. But of course interns are paid, in experience.

Joyce Carol Oates

Paradox: how do we know what we have failed to see because we have no language to express it, thus we cannot know that we have failed to see it.

Joyce Carol Oates

That's how a thing starts out real then ends up just an idea.

Joyce Carol Oates

Betrayal is the deepest wound. Betrayal is what remains of love, when love has gone.

Joyce Carol Oates

If food is poetry, is not poetry also food?

Joyce Carol Oates

Society is the picnic certain individuals leave early, the party they fail to enjoy, the musical comedy they find not worth the price of admission.

Joyce Carol Oates

Not what the mind sees, but what the mind imagines the eye must see.

Joyce Carol Oates

It isn't the subjects we write about but the seriousness and subtlety of our expression that determines the worth of or effort.

Joyce Carol Oates

Hating "The Great Gatsby" (the novel) is like spitting into the Grand Canyon. It will not be going away anytime soon, but you will be.

Joyce Carol Oates

Only in love is there trust - even the possibility of trust.

Joyce Carol Oates

And the thought consoled me, as it does now: everything you believe you have imagined is real. You have only to outlive it.

Joyce Carol Oates

Did you know, Marianne: how by breaking the code that day, you broke it forever? For us all?

Joyce Carol Oates

To the young there are no degrees of old just as there are no degrees of dead - either you are, or you are not.

Joyce Carol Oates

You never give such relationships a thought, To give a thought, to take a thought is a function of dissociation, distance. You can't exercise memory until you've removed yourself from memory's source.

Joyce Carol Oates

None of the rest of my life figures here.

Joyce Carol Oates

Language is the instrument in all cases and can language be trusted? If it were not for language, could we lie?

Joyce Carol Oates

Strange: how when a light is extinguished, it's immediately as if it has never been. Darkness fills in again, complete.

Joyce Carol Oates