When I Write: Joyce Carol Oates

Pen or computer? (Material)

Pen, computer, print-out; pen, computer, print-out.  Repeat.

Sitting or standing? (Pose)

Walking/ running while planning;  sitting while writing.

Morning or evening? (Time)

Virtually all the time with interruptions.

Punctual or fitful? (Time-keeping)

Both punctual & fitful.

At home or away? (Venue)

Both at home & away.

Hours or words? (Unit of productivity)

Do not keep score.   Why would one?

Smart or casual? (Dress)

Do not notice.

Feed or starve? (Fuel)


Stimulated or sedate? (Substance)


Sound or silence? (Ambience)

Wind in trees.   Birds.   Cat purring close by.

Interruption or distraction? (Nemesis)’

Interruptions & distractions (like interviews) unavoidable, on occasion.


CarthageRead an excerpt from Carthage, the latest novel from Joyce Carol Oates.

A young girl’s disappearance rocks a community and a family, in this stirring examination of grief, faith, justice and the atrocities of war, from literary legend Joyce Carol Oates.

Zeno Mayfield’s daughter has disappeared into the night, gone missing in the wilds of the Adirondacks. But when the community of Carthage joins a father’s frantic search for the girl, they discover instead the unlikeliest of suspects – a decorated Iraq War veteran with close ties to the Mayfield family. As grisly evidence mounts against the troubled war hero, the family must wrestle with the possibility of having lost a daughter forever. Carthage plunges us deep into the psyche of a wounded young Corporal, haunted by unspeakable acts of wartime aggression, while unraveling the story of a disaffected young girl whose exile from her family may have come long before her disappearance. Dark and riveting, Carthage is a powerful addition to the Joyce Carol Oates canon, one that explores the human capacity for violence, love and forgiveness, and asks if it’s ever truly possible to come home again.

An excerpt from ‘Carthage’ by Joyce Carol Oates by 4thEstateBooks

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