“…if only someone will take the time and the care…”

Joyce Carol Oates, interviewed in the Paris Review, 1978. INTERVIEWER Do you enjoy writing? OATES I do enjoy writing, yes. A great deal. And I feel somewhat at a loss, aimless and foolishly sentimental, and disconnected, when I've finished one work and haven't yet become absorbed in another. All of us who write, work out …

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‘It’s difficult to argue with numbers – if numbers are accepted as an argument.’

On the certainties that underlied communism, the ethics of quantitative and qualitative. "Everyone who went over to communism had to accept the Leninist principle that you couldn't make omelettes without breaking eggs. That was the first thing. But a basic question arose here, and I asked myself: what certainty is there; where are the criteria …

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The strangest thing in the supermarket

I want you to look at this, especially if you savor the random and/or the seemingly senseless in life and supermarket aisles.  For there - in the main aisle of my local supermarket, drifting between the courtesy desk and pharmacy counter  - is where I first noticed this particular DVD display stand several months ago.  …

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In which I get half-lost in Ulster County, and stirred by cyclists in Rwanda

I'm not known for getting up very early on Sunday mornings (or any morning, for that matter.)  Yet I went up to Poughkeepsie earlyish this morning (for me) to do a little volunteering for a good cause - Blue Belt Janicik, a bicycle safety awareness campaign put together by the family of a local airman, …

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“Always expanding and enriching the relationship without breaking it”

"Versification involves a continual reconciliation of two apparently opposed elements.  One is rhythm, in the sense of the fluid and shifting movements of live speech.  The other is meter, in the sense of a fixed, abstract pattern according to which those movements are organized.  And this steady and ongoing reconciliation between meter and rhythm is …

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Drawing water

Sometimes I just can't help myself; I long for some Olympian point of view, a 50,ooo foot perspective - no, really, the god's eye view of things, the sense of ultimate authorial omnipotence.  Reading too many novels did this.  Something simple and self-contained crosses my mind or my vision; a ferryboat crossing the river, a …

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