Elegy for Raymond
A renowned author finds that art is poor consolation in a time of crippling grief
A Widow's Story:
by Joyce Carol Oates
$25.99 List Price
In early 2008, Joyce Carol Oates gave a talk called "The Writer's (Secret) Life: Woundedness, Rejection, and Inspiration," about how writers go about transmuting painful life experiences into art. At the heart of her speech was a quote from Hemingway, which Oates found so profound that she cited it twice. "From things that have happened . . . and from all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and you make it alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality," he wrote. "That is why you write and for no other reason."
When Oates delivered her remarks, only two weeks had passed since the death of Raymond Smith, her husband of forty-seven years. Her astonishing
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