My thesis here is a modest one: that prolificacy is sometimes inevitable, and has its place. The accepted definition — “producing much fruit, or foliage, or many offspring” — has an optimistic ring, at least to my ear.
Not everyone feels that way. I remember a party where some self-appointed arbiter of literary taste joked that Joyce Carol Oates was like the old lady who lived in a shoe, and had so many children she didn’t know what to do. In truth, Ms. Oates knows exactly what she is doing, and why she is doing it. “I have more stories to tell,” she writes in her journals, and “more novels.” I’m glad of that, because I want to read them.