“We have this illusion that we are unitary beings. We have the notion that there is a pilot light inside us that is one’s self. I don’t believe this is the case. We’re a collection of poses, of attitudes, of versions of ourselves. We make ourselves up as we go along. This is what makes life interesting.”
Joyce Carol Oates is the author of more than 50 novels, as well as many volumes of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. In this recording from the 2012 seminar, Oates reads “San Quentin,” a short story based on her experience teaching English at San Quentin State Prison in the spring of 2011.