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John Updike Quotes
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When I write, I aim in my mind not toward New York but toward a vague spot a little to the east of Kansas.
Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom but they dare to go it alone.
From infancy on, we are all spies; the shame is not this but that the secrets to be discovered are so paltry and few.
Government is either organized benevolence or organized madness; its peculiar magnitude permits no shading.
Arabic is very twisting, very beautiful. The call to prayer is quite haunting; it almost makes you a believer on the spot.
Every marriage tends to consist of an aristocrat and a peasant. Of a teacher and a learner.
We take our bearings, daily, from others. To be sane is, to a great extent, to be sociable.
Existence itself does not feel horrible; it feels like an ecstasy, rather, which we have only to be still to experience.
The inner spaces that a good story lets us enter are the old apartments of religion.
There is no pleasing New Englanders, my dear, their soil is all rocks and their hearts are bloodless absolutes.
Belief, like love, must be voluntary.
For some of us, books are intrinsic to our sense of personal identity.
My life is, in a sense, trash. My life is only that of which the residue is my writing.
Nature refuses to rest.
People are incorrigibly themselves.
The Founding Fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures called an education.
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.
Customs and convictions change; respectable people are the last to know, or to admit, the change, and the ones most offended by fresh reflections of the facts in the mirror of art.
I seem most instinctively to believe in the human value of creative writing, whether in the form of verse or fiction, as a mode of truth-telling, self-expression and homage to the twin miracles of creation and consciousness.
Perhaps I have written fiction because everything unambiguously expressed seems somehow crass to me; and when the subject is myself, I want to jeer and weep.
A seventeenth-century house can be recognized by its steep roof, massive central chimney and utter porchlessness. Some of those houses have a second-story overhang, emphasizing their medieval look.
America is beyond power; it acts as in a dream, as a face of God. Wherever America is, there is freedom, and wherever America is not, madness rules with chains, darkness strangles millions. Beneath her patient bombers, paradise is possible.
American art in general... takes to surreal exaggerations and metaphors; but its Puritan work ethic has little use for the playful self-indulgence behind Parisian Surrealism.
For many years, I read mystery novels for relaxation. But my tastes were too narrow - and, having read all of Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr, I discovered that the implausibility and the thinness of the people distracted me unduly from the plot.
I know more about what it's like to be elderly and infirm and kind of stupid, the way you get forgetful, but on the other hand I'm a littler, wiser, dare we say? The word 'wisdom' has kind of faded out of our vocabulary, but yeah, I'm a little wiser.
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