John Updike (1932 – 2009)

“A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people’s patience.”

“Each morning my characters greet me with misty faces willing, though chilled, to muster for another day’s progress through the dazzling quicksand the marsh of blank paper.”

“Writers take words seriously – perhaps the last professional class that does – and they struggle to steer their own through the crosswinds of meddling editors and careless typesetters and obtuse and malevolent reviewers into the lap of the ideal reader.”

“The writer must face the fact that ordinary lives are what most people live most of the time, and that the novel as a narration of the fantastic and the adventurous is really an escapist plot; that aesthetically the ordinary, the banal, is what you must deal with.”

“The refusal to rest content, the willingness to risk excess on behalf of one’s obsessions, is what distinguishes artists from entertainers, and what makes some artists adventurers on behalf of us all.”

“I would especially like to recourt the Muse of poetry, who ran off with the mailman four years ago, and drops me only a scribbled postcard from time to time.”

“From earliest childhood I was charmed by the materials of my craft, by pencils and paper and, later, by the typewriter and the entire apparatus of printing.  To condense from one’s memories and fantasies and small discoveries dark marks on paper which become handsomely reproducible many times over still seems to me, after nearly 30 years concerned with the making of books, a magical act, and a delightful technical process.  To distribute oneself thus, as a kind of confetti shower falling upon the heads and shoulders of mankind out of bookstores and the pages of magazines is surely a great privilege and a defiance of the usual earthbound laws whereby human beings make themselves known to one another.”

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