Joyce Carol Oates

When youíre 50 you start thinking about things you havenít thought about before. I used to think getting old was about vanity -- but actually itís about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial.

Our enemy is by tradition our savior, in preventing us from superficiality.

Where we come from in America no longer signifies -- itís where we go, and what we do when we get there, that tells us who we are.

The worst cynicism: a belief in luck.

It is not her body that he wants but it is only through her body that he can take possession of another human being, so he must labor upon her body, he must enter her body, to make his claim.

Old women snore violently. They are like bodies into which bizarre animals have crept at night; the animals are vicious, bawdy, noisy. How they snore! There is no shame to their snoring. Old women turn into old men.

The television screen, so unlike the movie screen, sharply reduced human beings, revealed them as small, trivial, flat, in two banal dimensions, drained of color. Wasnít there something reassuring about it! -- that human beings were in fact merely images of a kind registered in one anotherís eyes and brains, phenomena composed of microscopic flickering dots like atoms. They were atoms -- nothing more. A quick switch of the dial and they disappeared and who could lament the loss?

Nothing is accidental in the universe -- this is one of my Laws of Physics -- except the entire universe itself, which is Pure Accident, pure divinity.

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