#Muse Media: The Future and #Joyce Carol Oates

 #Muse Media

#Muse Media looks for our muse by mixing prose with other media, in this case by looking at the future with Joyce Carol Oates

English: past future path

English: past future path (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


 “Remembering backward is the easy thing. If you could remember forward, you could save yourself…”

Joyce Carol OatesThe Gravedigger’s Daughter


 Joyce Carol Oates never shys away from difficult issues. But her take on looking to the future in this quote is unique. I love the phrase “remembering forward”. It sounds so realistic. So possible. The character speculates her own redemption from an unwanted fate, trying to take control over her future. But as a society our concept of  what the future brings changes continuously, effected by a myriad of influences from technology, world affairs, space travel and the influence of the individual. Writers no longer necessarily write linear novels. Time travel itself has long been speculated as a possibility. How much control do we have over any of this?

 Do we have any control over our future?

Can we at the very least have some influence?

Do  share your comments below and if you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it on your favorite social media.

Many Thanks!


 Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938) is an American author. Oates published her first book in 1963 and has since published over fifty novels, as well as many volumes of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. Her novel them (1969) won the National Book Award,[4] and her novels Black Water (1992), What I Lived For (1994), and Blonde (2000) were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Connect with me on: –

Twitter: @artyyah


Facebook page : http://facebook.com/akandrewwriter

For regular updates of my blog: Subscribe Here



Related articles


  1. I still haven’t read Joyce Carol Oates, other than perhaps a short story. Maybe I will.

    As to the future, someone posted on FB about creating one’s own opportunities (as opposed to taking opportunities as they appear). My recent interview came about because the person asked me on LinkedIn about one thing, and I responded with something else. I think we both came away with something worthwhile. We have the power over some of our choices. We need to be good detectives to find better options for our future.
    Leora recently posted..Interview with Zion Kim of Juice TankMy Profile

  2. Very interesting concept. They say that time is not linear but that we perceive it as such. ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ also expresses some views of time that really make you think.
    Geek Girl recently posted..Guest Post & Recipe By Anne NewsomeMy Profile

  3. Knowing the future and seizing opportunities is a fascinating topic. My son is into psychic readings because he believes that knowledge of the future can help him direct his life. I have always thought maybe it is better not to know. This discussion shows me how fatalistic my attitude has been! In religious liturgy the cyclic ritual, in contrast with the linear, is seen as the place where linear time breaks through into eternal time, another way of saying our concept of time is limited, and that there is a great deal more out there that we can access.

    • Really interesting Kathleen that you should bring up psychic readings and religious liturgy in the same comment. Although I’m not religious myself, I do see the logic and appeal of the cyclical year. The Jewish calendar in particular is rich in this respect. Time itself is a strange concept, that as children we find it hard to conceive of and as adults it escapes us. So naturally we want to rein in the future in some way. I do agree from a myriad of perspectives that how we think of time is both limited and could be expanded. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Future and Joyce Carol OatesMy Profile

  4. If the future already exists or not is one of those issues that have been discussed for thousands of years. Maybe it does? Maybe it doesn’t? Personally sometimes dream things that then happens. It’s seldom I have such dreams, but still. However, for some reason we are not meant to know the future. Maybe because we would stop making an effort if we knew what would happen?:-)

    We definitely influence our future by the decisions we take and what direction we take when we come to a cross roads. It’s not as if we can sit down and just wait for the future to happen.

    Leora is spot on when she says that we create our own opportunities. Frankly if we don’t bother to do so we have no reason to complain when we don’t like our lives.
    Catarina recently posted..Rising inequality – the main risk facing the world?My Profile

    • I don’t think we’re meant to ‘know ‘ the future either, and the temptation to be fatalistic could be just too strong. I do think that it’s wise to take a hand in trying to influence things by our decision making, but sometimes the best decision making in the world doesn’t end up the way we think it’s going too. Then we have to play with the hand we’re dealt, and try and look at things as opportunities and challenges rather than bad luck.
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Future and Joyce Carol OatesMy Profile

  5. I love Oates! Her output over the years has been quite prolific. This quote brings to mind a Kierkegaard quote: “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” I feel people do have a great deal of control over their future, but only to the degree that they are able to reflect on past events in order to better alter the course of their lives.
    Jeri recently posted..Guest Posts: Topics and Submission CriteriaMy Profile

    • I love that Kierkegaard quote.
      Jon Jefferson recently posted..KBW Rinse, RepeatMy Profile

    • I love your interpretation, Jeri.

      Isn’t deja vue a little bit of living the future? So often, we will have a moment knowing that we are on replay, and that we have already lived that moment. I guess replay exists until we get it right.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..born to blogMy Profile

      • Deja Vu is totally spooky isn’t it. It first happened to me when I was about 6 years old, so had no understanding what it could be. Isn’t it in reality a misfiring of neurons that only makes it appear that we’ve have seen the scene before, and in reality it was merely a split second ago?
        Whatever causes is it, it’s definitely a weird sensation.
        Deja Vu according to Wiki:The psychologist Edward B. Titchener in his book 1928 A Textbook of Psychology, explained déjà vu as caused by a person having a brief glimpse of an object or situation, before the brain has completed “constructing” a full conscious perception of the experience. Such a “partial perception” then results in a false sense of familiarity.
        A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Future and Joyce Carol OatesMy Profile

    • @Jeri Indeed, Joyce Carol Oates has been v. prolific, and because of this her work has very different flavors.
      Great Kierkegaard quote Jeri! Thanks for that.The convolution of past present and future is almost a 3 dimensional puzzle. Throw in ‘hindsight’s always 20/20’ and you have the whole ball of wax.We have to hope that history does not repeat itself unless its in a positive way, and make every effort to achieve that – easier said than done.
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Future and Joyce Carol OatesMy Profile

  6. This brings to mind all the time travel science fiction I have read. Imagine time as a flowing river. When you drop a pebble it causes a ripple. But when you drop a boulder it can cause the river to split, possibly even creating two seperate futures.

    Food for thought, your future is your future self’s past. How do you want to remember yourself?
    Jon Jefferson recently posted..KBW Rinse, RepeatMy Profile

    • I think science fiction like themes play a role as soon as we start thinking about the future. I love the image you quoted. I’ve long wondered about there being the possibilities of a parallel universe, or even numerous ones, that are a result of the different choices we may or may not make in our lives. All probably a bunch of hooey, but an interesting concept.
      Now how you want to be be remembered – I think that’s food for another post!
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Future and Joyce Carol OatesMy Profile

  7. We can only control the future in some degree by using lesson we have learned from our past experiences. The challenge is to remember them when they’re most necessary. The biggest challenge for most is we don’t learn for our past and keep repeating the same lesson over and over again. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted..Guest Post By Dan Meyers: My Most Embarrassing Moment Ever – StoryMy Profile

    • You’re right Susan, we do often make repetitive mistakes, but I have to believe that for the big ones at least we do in fact learn, and that’s in part what aging is all about. Now whether that’s true with societal concerns is another matter. But if we as individuals move forward in a positive way, then hopefully that will have a knock-on effect.
      I love all these different aspects of this subject that have come into this discussion.:-)
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Future and Joyce Carol OatesMy Profile

  8. A.K.,
    I’m not familiar with Joyce Carol Oates but I too love the phrase “remembering forward”. It sounds reflective and optimistic at the same time. This was a nice share. Thanks!
    Sherryl Perry recently posted..Time to Tweak Your Twitter StrategyMy Profile

    • Glad you like the phrase Sherryl – it really caught my eye. It does sound both reflective and positive, and that’s how I am going to view it – though having read the novel I know the protagonist is coming from a very dark place. As I said to Susan, I’m thrilled that this phrase has generated such a diverse and interesting discussion.Thanks so much being part of it Sherryl.
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Future and Joyce Carol OatesMy Profile

  9. I know Joyce Carol Oates is widely read but I have yet to pick up one of her books. I think we can influence our future but have very little control over it. I like Yogi Berra’s famous statement: “When you find a fork in the road take it.” We don’t know what life holds for us so just keep forging ahead.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted..Employees Can Be Your Most Important Change AgentsMy Profile