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Saturday, October 24, 2015

In the Back

In a recent review of a Gore Vidal biography in the New Yorker, the subject is reported to have asked a friend to name the three saddest words in the English language, then supplied the answer himself:

"Joyce Carol Oates."

Now that's uncharitable.

One has never actually read the Reigning Queen of U$ Letters, but her ceaseless waterfall production of novels and whatnot has always made one feel uncomfortable. One is supposed to sweat blood, live like a pauper, drink to excess, wander the streets in a private cloud of alienation and self-pity, etc., etc., in order to be a novelist, and here's this person who turns out novels with the effortlessness of someone sneezing, all the while collecting a salary from Princeton or wherever that enables her to wear silk pajamas and have her bread buttered on both sides.

I've always thought one might be walking down the street with Joycey and she would duck into a rest room and come out fifteen minutes later and when one asked if she was okay, as a way of inquiring as to what took her so long in the restroom, she would hold out a ream of typescript and say, with a wide grin:

"I just wrote another novel!"

"Oh Joycey, you're so wonderful!"

"Aren't I?"

I'm sure she's a wonderful person and a gifted stylist, etc., etc., and has made significant contributions to the evolution of the American Novel, etc., etc., etc., but still, when one has been assaulted by a waterfall for the entirety of one's adult life, one unthinkingly starts throwing stones at it at some point. Like this morning, October 24, 2015 @ 6:55 AM.

Sat verbum.

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