John Updike

United States author (born 1932)

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A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience.
A leader is one who, out of madness or goodness, volunteers to take upon himself the woe of the people. There are few men so foolish, hence the erratic quality of leadership in the world.
America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.
Americans have been conditioned to respect newness, whatever it cost them.
Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.
Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or doing it better.
Art is like baby shoes. When you coat them with gold, they can no longer be worn.
Bankruptcy is a sacred state, a condition beyond conditions, as theologians might say, and attempts to investigate it are necessarily obscene, like spiritualism. One knows only that he has passed into it and lives beyond us, in a condition not ours.
Creativity is merely a plus name for regular activity . . . any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about dong it right, or better.
Critics are like pigs at the pastry cart.
Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.
Every marriage tends to consist of an aristocrat and a peasant. Of a teacher and a learner.
Four years was enough of Harvard. I still had a lot to learn, but had been given the liberating notion that now I could teach myself.
Government is either organized benevolence or organized madness; its peculiar magnitude permits no shading.
I love my government not least for the extent to which it leaves me alone.
I think taste is a social concept and not an artistic one. I'm willing to show good taste, if I can, in somebody else's living room, but our reading life is too short for a writer to be in any way polite. Since his words enter into another's brain in silence and intimacy, he should be as honest and explicit as we are with ourselves.
If men do not keep on speaking terms with children, they cease to be men, and become merely machines for eating and earning money.
It seems to me the book has not just aesthetic values-- the charming little clothy box of the thing, the smell of the glue, even the print, which has its own beauty. But there's something about the sensation of ink on paper that is in some sense a thing, a phenomenon rather than an epiphenomenon. I can't break the association of electric trash with the computer screen. Words on the screen give the sense of being just another passing electronic wriggle.
Life is like an overlong drama through which we sit being nagged by the vague memories of having read the reviews.
Perfectionism is the enemy of creation, as extreme self-solicitude is the enemy of well-being.
The essential support and encouragement comes from within, arising out of the mad notion that your society needs to know what only you can tell it.
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 education. School is where you go between when your parents can't take you and industry can't take you.
The guarantee that our self enjoys an intended relation to the outer world is most, if not all, we ask from religion. God is the self projected onto reality by our natural and necessary optimism. He is the not-me personified.
The yearning for an afterlife is the opposite of selfish it is love and praise for the world that we are privileged, in this complex interval of light, to witness and experience.
There are times when fear is good It must keep its watchful place at the heart's controls. There is advantage in the wisdom won from pain.
To say that war is madness is like saying that sex is madness: true enough, from the standpoint of a stateless eunuch, but merely a provocative epigram for those who must make their arrangements in the world as given.
We are most alive when we're in love.
Writing criticism is to writing fiction and poetry as hugging the shore is to sailing in the open sea.

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