Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Joyce Carol Oates Interview (Lawrence Grobel)

Lawrence Grobel has been a freelance writer for thirty years, Playboy calls him "the interviewer's interviewer." In 1992 he sat down with Joyce Carol Oates:

Lawrence: "Since you seem to be a compulsive writer, what is it that most excites you about putting words on paper?"

Joyce Carol Oates: "The challenge of making an internal vision external. Getting the inner vision out. I love to write. I feel I have something to say. It's exhilarating once in a while, but most of my experiences are fraught with frustration because I always feel dissatisfied. A whole day can go by and I feel I haven't accomplished anything. My husband was asking me about this. He said, "You get a lot done in a day." I guess I do, but I don't feel that I have. I have a feeling always, which is subterranean of being profoundly dissatisfied with what I'm working at."

Lawrence: "How important are names for your characters?"

Joyce Carol Oates: "Absolutely important. I spend a long time naming names. If I can't get a name right, I can't write, I can't begin. I have a lot of people's names that begin with J, especially men. It's like my alter ego. I always go for the J if I can get away with it."

Endangered Species, Writers Talk About Their Craft, Their Visions, Their Lives
by Lawrence Grobel
Published by DA CAPO Press (c) 2001
pages 324,362

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