It may be that actual tears have stained the tile floors or soaked into the carpets of such places. It may be that these tears can never be removed. And everywhere the odor of melancholy, that is the very odor of memory.

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates

Profession: Author
Nationality: American

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And that's the insult of it, how always it comes back to a woman being a "good" mother in the world's eyes or a "bad" mother, how everything in a woman's life is funneled through her body between her legs.

If she lets us down, if she's weird sometimes—just ignore it, and love her. Just love her.

There could be no romance in the terrible possibility that Gretel Nissenbaum had fled on foot, alone, not to her family but simply to escape from her life; in what exigency of need, what despondency of spirit, no name might be given it by any who have not experienced it.

Three days later on October 29, 1959, the Pontiac registered in the name of Niles Tignor would be discovered, gas tank near-empty, keys on the floorboards beneath the front seat, in a parking lot close by the Greyhound bus station in Rome, New York.

Love is not enough to keep us from harm.

A man is fearful of lonely in a woman.

It simply fell from him, like a heavy overcoat he'd shrugged off, no longer needing its warmth or bulk to protect him.

I don't read for amusement, I read for enlightenment. I do a lot of reviewing, so I have a steady assignment of reading. I'm also a judge for the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, which gives awards to literature and nonfiction.

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.

SO RISKY, to love another person! Like flaying your own, outermost skin. Exposed to the crude air and every kind of infection.

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.

Oh, it's a terrible, cruel thing—first you're young, and that takes up such a long time you think it's forever, then suddenly you're not young, and you never get used to it—and, oh dear, there's just the one way out.

Like editing, gardening requires infinite patience; it requires an essential selflessness, and optimism.

I would know of myself through the witnessing and naming of others. As Jesus in the Gospels is only seen and spoken of and recorded by others. I would know my existence and the value of that existence through others' eyes, which I believed I could trust as I could not trust my own.