Wednesday, March 05, 2008

JCO - Finally

Last night, David and I braved a raging ice storm to get downtown to the Ohio Theater to finally hear and meet Joyce Carol Oates, the subject of my 1988 Masters Thesis. Clutching my old (typewritten) thesis under my coat, we raced across Euclid Avenue through pelting ice to hear her remarks titled "The Writer's (Secret) Life - Woundedness, Rejection and Inspiration". She covered the literary landscape from Emily Dickinson to Ernest Hemingway, from the Bronte sisters and Samuel Beckett to Thoreau. She even threw in a digression about Mike Tyson, through which her voice became especially animated. After highlighting stories about various authors' rejections and psychological health, she summed up by saying we must rely on our own judgment and sense of self-worth. Although she was chatty with the few from the audience who asked questions, she did not personalize the books she signed afterward. I took my thesis, which she signed with comment or interest. Although we wanted to take a picture with her, she was afraid of being blinded by the camera's flash. She is frail up close and looks a bit like Emily Dickinson. My number of idols to meet in person is diminished by one.

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