She’s too damn entertaining.
Earlier this week, Michelle Dean wrote an open letter to Oates encouraging her to delete her Twitter account:
Here is the problem with your Twitter feed, Joyce Carol Oates: It is, as we like to say on the internet, the worst. You fundamentally misunderstand the medium. Your continued presence there does nothing but undermine your own authority and annoy other people. You should delete your Twitter account.
You might think that I offer this bit of public advice because I dislike you and/or your work. That is not true! I am very fond of several of your novels. I am especially into that famous short story of yours entitled, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” I like the way your sentences are long and languid, and I like the way they sometimes double back on themselves. I like that the thoughts in them have not been truncated to meet some kind of arbitrarily-imposed standard about length.
I believe that you are smart enough to see what I am getting at, Joyce Carol Oates. Expertise in one form of writing does not necessarily mean mastery of them all. When it comes to writing long books, formulated in multiple pages and paragraphs, every sentence read in context with the one preceding it, you are pretty good at that, better than most of us can ever hope to be. But when you offer disconnected, abbreviated, context-free thoughts, say like the above beliefs about cat food and China, you are not so good.
But one reason I enjoy Twitter is for the “disconnected, abbreviated, context-free thoughts” of people like Oates who regularly remind us how weird…
Somewhere, someone is pondering where to aim a poisoned dart.
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 10, 2014
History of civilization/ “organized religion” mostly men telling women what to do w/ their bodies & what not to do. — Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 10, 2014
Watching young deer frolic in neighbors’ field in Hopewell Township. Amazingly playful, agile. Good no one has told them they are “prey.”
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) April 28, 2014
Hyper-sensitivity of our contemporaries re. “improper” words is becoming pathological as well as counter-productive in democracy.
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) April 2, 2014
people are. Please, Joyce Carol Oates, stay.