On New Year's Day, 1973, Joyce Carol Oates began keeping a journal that she maintains to this present day. When the journals began, 34–year–old Oates was already a recipient of the National Book Award (1969), with many O. Henry awards, and others, under her literary belt. For all her warm critical reception, however, the author had been (and would remain) fairly reticent about the personal details of her life and background.
Housed in her archive at Syracuse University, the journals run to more than 5,000 single–spaced typewritten pages. This volume focuses on excerpts from that first decade, 1973–1983, one of the most productive of Oates's long career. Far more than a daily account of her writing life, the journals offer a candid discussion of Oates' many friendships with other well–known writers –– Philip Roth, Anne Sexton, John Updike, and many others; she describes her teaching, her relationship to the natural world, her family, her vast reading, her critics, her travels, and other topics central to her life during this time.
What emerges is a fascinating portrait of the artist as a young woman, fully engaged with her world and her culture, a writer who paradoxically fancied herself "invisible" but who was quickly becoming one of the most respected, discussed, and controversial figures in American letters.