Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

O is for Ouch, Oowie, OMG! No, it's for Oates

The Rogue Speaks:

Well at first I was going to write about the spinal injection I had yesterday to alleviate my severe back pain. It was HORRIBLE! It certainly didn't hurt anywhere near that bad two years ago! It had damn well better work, because I am NEVER having one again. The first time I met the doctor, several years ago, he actually told me that he was not good in social settings--in other words, he has NO BEDSIDE MANNER AT ALL! He comes in, gives the injections, and then he leaves. He doesn't have a chatty bone in his body. What he does have is "Ass Burners Syndrome," because after 24 hours, I can still feel the burning, shooting pain of those needles!!

So anyway, I decided to change my mind and find a really interesting O person to write abou--JOYCE CAROL OATES!

Jouce Carol Oates grew up on her parents' farm just outside Lockport, New York. It was a rural area, and Joyce attended the same one-room school house that her mother had gone to. She was a child of the Great Depression, and times were really hard for farm families. Joyce never complained, though, because she loved the out-of-doors and the beauty of nature in farm country. She was born with an innate love of books and writing, and even though her parents had very little education themselves, they encouraged their daughter's ambitions. When she was 14, her grandmother gave her a typewriter, and she vowed to write "novel after novel" beginning with her high school days and on into college.

Ms. Oates had a brilliant high school and college career. When she was only 19, she won a contest sponsored by Mademoiselle magazine. Ah, if only we had been so dedicated in college! Personally, I majored in bridge when I was at Georgia State. I eventually settled down, though.

After Ms. Oates graduated from Syracuse University, she went to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin. Have you ever been there?? I have, because our daughter, Allison, graduated from there. Our son-in-law, Richard, got his PhD from there, and our first granddaughter, Kaitlin, was born in Madison. It is a really cool town!

Anyway, Joyce earned her Master's degree in only one year!! And she also met her future husband, Raymond Smith, there. They got married after three months!! So far, this seems like no more than just some rather mundane facts about her life--not like some of my artists about whom I have written--no wild drinking, no drugs, no unprotected sex that we know of, no serious angst!

In 1962, Joyce and her husband moved to Detroit, just in time for all the turmoil of the 60's. I remember being afraid that we were doomed to die during that time, when Kennedy was president and the Bay of Pigs was going on. Joyce, on the other hand, took this period in our history to really make a name for herself with her novels, and at age 28, her first novel, With Shuddering Fall, was published. Her novel them received the National Book Award.

Joyce and Raymond moved across the river from Detroit to Winsor, Ontario in 1968. While they were there she produced books at the alarming rate of 2 or 3 a year!
This woman hardly had time to eat or sleep! She rapidly became one of the most respected writers in the United States, and she was only in her thirties. When I was in my thirties, I was juggling a job as an import broker, and changing DIAPERS at an alarming rate. There is no comparison here--diapers? books? OMG! My life was soooo boring!!

Joyce and Raymond even started a small press and began publishing a literary magazine, The Ontario Review. They continued publishing until after they moved to Princeton in 1978.

How did she do it? Just how has she managed to produce more than 56 novels, 30 collections of short stories, eight volumes of poetry, plays, essays, and book reviews,and as Yule Brenner said in The King and I, "Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera..."

Joyce currently lives in Princeton, New Jersey. She is a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University.


Jingle Poetry said...


kind of scary.
well done.

House Revivals said...

Amazing woman! But taking care of your babies was pretty amazing, too! It's the apples and oranges thing -- both are wonderful, but how do you compare the two?

Judie said...

Actually, I have NO COMPLAINTS when it comes to my children. They are all SMART, hardworking people who never fail to make me proud. They are kind, sweet, loving adults. I am actually pretty damn lucky that they even survived their childhoods considering that I am their mother.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I have enough trouble finding time to write blog posts every week. Joyce is amazing.

I hope you feel better soon.

Theresa said...

O OUCH! Hope the back is better and you are enjoying some Joyce Carol Oates - she's wonderful!

Pondside said...

Big, big sympathy from a fellow back-pain sufferer. If anyone ever suggests an injection I'll come back to read your blog!
Of course we know how JCO did it all (besides having talent, of course)...she wasn't blogging!

Jo said...

Oh dear ... I am so sorry for ya ... it doesn't sound like a positive experience at all ...
and JCO ... what an amazing and prolific writer ...
Get loads of rest for your back ... (hugs)

Anonymous said...

What an inspiring lady Joyce is and so are you! Bringing us such wonderful insights every week, a stop off I really look forward to.
I hope whilst you read this that back is getting better and better xx

tracy said...

That is amazing! ..and I hope our back is okay. ouch for sure.

nothingprofound said...

Yes, Oates is quite a word machine. Don't think I envy a life like that. Though writing is fun, I prefer long walks on the beach. Hope by now your pain has gone the way of the dodo.

★Mumsy★ said...

Judie, you didn't mention that she has children or not, so to answer your question "how did she do that", she didn't have to change diapers :-)

Anyway, she is an amazing woman and a great writer for sure.

Great read as always, Judie! Have a good weekend!

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Thanks for all of the great info about one of my favorite writers....

I can't even remember my 20's and 30's, they are a blur of babies, diapers and work...sigh..

Judie said...

I don't think Ms. Oates has children. I would be surprised if she even had time for sex!!

NP, I am getting better, and should be out playing golf by next week. I am always up for a long walk on the beach, though!!

magsmcc said...

This kills me. I can't get the ironing done! Good luck with the back!

Judie said...

When the ironing starts building up around here, I simply bury it in the back yard. Works for me!!

askcherlock said...

Judie, my heart goes out to you for the pain on top of pain you have endured. To the doctor, I say, pffttt! How dare you treat my friend this way. My fingers are crossed that the shot works in spite of his lack of empathy.

The Oates essay was excellent! She is an interesting character and I marvel at her voluminous capacity for the written word.

Take care, my sister, and let us know your progress.

Mary said...

So sorry to hear about your back & injection...Yikes! Hope you find some relief. Enjoyed learning about Joyce Carol Oates & so happy to hear about Mulligan :-)

Brenda said...

Those are some interesting facts that you shared with us today. I have getting these injections myself and I think you need to switch doctors. Mine gives me a sedative first and then she has an x-ray tech. that has a picture of my back up so she can see right where it need to go. They are starting to help. Unfortunately hubs insurance company decided it would only pay for the injections in my lower back and I have a lot of things going on in my hip areas also. So she tried a different one this week and I have actually slept most of two nights now. It was blessed.

dianesartnow said...

Chuck had the same experience recently with an orthopedist. He went in for his 6 month knee injection. Last time the "nice doctor" injected lidocaine, rubbed it with some sort of numbing agent and then gave the shot.
Well this time the not so nice new doctor said "are you ready for the injection?" marked the spot with a pen and jammed the giant needle right into his kneecap. Yikes he wasn't ready for that. So we know what you mean. Sorry you are in so much pain,

myorii said...

Ouch! Just the name "spinal injection" sounds painful to me! I hope it works for your sake too!

Wow, Joyce Carol Oates is amazing! She's been so prolific with her writing and from the sound of it, she leads quite an interesting life :)

Angelia Sims Hardy said...

I don't know, but if she could bottle up and sell her energy of those days. I'd be buying Costco style! What a woman! She is A-ok in my book (which I'll probably never even write one of).

Hey-Did you seem caption contest? You'd be great at that. It's a few posts back. :-)

paige said...

I learn so much here. I really love this place. :)

Akseli Koskela said...

Doctors these days never have any bedside manner, unless they're specialists in which case they've got a really fantastic smile. It's because they practice so much when laughing all the way to the bank!

But Joyce Carol Oates sounds like an incredibly driven person. I really wish I had the same willpower to just knuckle-down and get things done in my life like that - writing, studying, working - I find just writing my blog regularly difficult sometimes!

Gattina said...

Her name doesn't say anything to me, maybe her books haven't been translated into French or German. And since I started reading in English, never noticed her name. The choice of English books is also still very limited in Belgium.

Sarah said...

I know how she did it--she doesn't eat. Look at her! She probably doesn't have sex either--look at the way she's 'pulling away' from him...:)

So sorry about your spine injection. It sounds painful.

Judie said...

Actually, I am much better. I am just a whiner with a very low pain threshold.

Vintagesouthernlife said...

Ouch! Hope your back is better soon. I have started therapy and they are trying to stretch a nerve.If it doesn't work the injection is next.

Jenny said...

I kinda/sorta got stuck on the part of your post about the spinal injections...YIKES!!!! I had the test injections in my spine once and I thought I would die. Obviously you are a braver soul than me to have done it several times....or else the back pain must be really bad. Either way, I'm really sorry about that. I hope today things are a little better.

I've not read much about Ms. Oates. She sounds like a strong and fascinating woman.

Thanks for an outstanding link this week Miss Judie. I enjoyed my visit here very much.


noexcuses said...

Hope by this time that your pain is completely gone!

I loved reading about Ms. Oates! Now I hope to check out some of her books!

You do have wonderful children, despite being their mom. I say the same thing to myself on a daily basis!

Have a great weekend!

Judie said...

Hahahaha! I just realized that some people may have thought the guy in the photograph was Joyce Carol Oates' husband. In fact, it is Mike Tyson, whom she wrote about!

Sara Katt said...

Dear Judie,
First off, I would like to thank you for visiting and leaving a nice comment on my O-post. (Actually, I ws thinking of you folks in Arizona when I was reading up on Ocelots.)
You are first commenter and have an extra link back to your blog here.

Secondly, I hope you are feeling better. Back problems are no fun and stupid, unsocialable doctors are an extra insult when you need comfort. These people, who have a bad 'bedside-manner', are often bad at what they are doing as well!

Add thirdly, thank you for choosing Joyce Carol Oates as your 'O-word' for this week. You have reminded me that I should take another look at her work. She is prolific and a very good writer. (she has edited a anthology of cat-literature too!) Oates is such a success at what she does that she probably will never win the Nobel Prize in literature, even if the quality of her work would merit it.
Ironic isn't it? This was why Graham Green never won the prize. [Hmmm... Maybe I should write about the Nobel Prize for literature next time we get to 'N'?]
The few texts that are read aloud in translation over the Swedish Radio have been stories about women who have made alot of bad choices. Maybe it takes a solid, secure agrarian childhood combined with a quick and well-disciplined mind to write books about such difficult subjects.

Fourthly, I have looked around your blog and found lots of interesting texts and artwork. Your paintings are amazing! Like your family and pets photo album too.

Please don't go comparing your life with Joyce Carol Oates' unusually successful career. I mean, I'm just a housecat. At best I maybe can live 15 to 20 years. I am already older than middle-aged at 10 years old. And I still haven't gotten my novel published!

Sara Cat

For the benefit of other readers:
Sara Cat's AT-rd2-O as in Oscelot

Sara Katt said...

Meow again!
The link I left does not work. Try this one:
Sara Cat's AT-rd2-O as in Oscelot
Purrs, Sara Cat

JJ said...

Judie: Sorry about the back. I know this woman through Creative Writing seminars. She is Outstanding. If I'm not mistaken, she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Great post!

Be well.

Sarah said...

LOL! I guess I won't recognize Mike Tyson even if in flesh and blood!

Judie said...

Sara, I don't think that is anything to be embarrassed about. The only boxer I know is the one who sells the appliances on t.v. and then there is always Ali. I almost forgot about him.

Cheryl D. said...

OMG! Totally loved that "Ass Burners" joke! So funny! I hope you're feeling better now!

Lourie said...

Sorry you are such pain. I have a bad back. Not that bad, but I am sorry.

Splendid Little Stars said...

haven't read Oates in a while. interesting bio.
She produced books, YOU produced CHILDREN!!
I do want to know if that injection works. I have a friend who may be facing that. I hope my back issues don't require it. It sounds so awful.
Here's to healing, Judie!

Amylynn said...

Hey - how are you feeling now? My mom just had an epidural to help with her severe back pain. It worked but not for very long. Hope you're feeling better soon.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

First...sorry to hear about your "No bedside manner" doc! Hope you are better and it's always fun to learn more about those you feature...I did love that you interjected a bit about you in there too :o) (side note-all my dad's family are from Wisconsin...and I didnt realize you went to Georgia State. ...we live in Savannah, by the sounds of it, you moved around a bit too?)

Blesings & Aloha!
(I am unexpectedly off today! Yay! so catching up a bit on blog visits...thank you always for popping over and for your comments!)

Anonymous said...

Hi Judie:
Yin Yoga and an Osteopath can do wonders for back pain.