John Updike Quotes About Act

Browse 15 famous quotes of John Updike about Act.

"Writing … is an addiction, an illusory release, a presumptuous taming of reality, a way of expressing lightly the unbearable. That we age and leave behind this litter of dead, unrecoverable selves is both unbearable and the commonest thing in the world — it happens to everybody. In the morning light one can write breezily, without the slight acceleration of one's pulse, about what one cannot contemplate in the dark without turning in panic to God. In the dark one truly feels that immense sliding, that turning of the vast earth into darkness and eternal cold, taking with it all the furniture and scenery, and the bright distractions and warm touches, of our lives. Even the barest earthly facts are unbearably heavy, weighted as they are with our personal death. Writing, in making the world light — in codifying, distorting, prettifying, verbalizing it — approaches blasphemy." ~ John Updike
"Hope bases vast premises upon foolish accidents and reads a word where, in fact, only a scribble exists." ~ John Updike
"For many men, work is the effective religion, a ritual occupation and inflexible orientation which permits them to imagine that the problem of their personal death has been solved. Unamuno: ‘Work is the only practical consolation for having been born.' My own chosen career — its dispersal and multiplication of the self through publication, its daily excretion of yet more words, the eventual reifying of those words into books — certainly is a practical consolation, a kind of bicycle which, if I were ever to stop pedaling, would dump me flat on my side. Religion enables us to ignore nothingness and get on with the jobs of life." ~ John Updike
"He showed the world what can be done against the odds, against a superpower. He showed -- and this is where Vietnam and Iraq come in, that in a war between an imperialist occupier and the people who actually live there, the people will eventually prevail. They know the terrain. They have more at stake. They have nowhere else to go." ~ John Updike
"He tries to picture how it will end, with an empty baseball field, a dark factory, and then over a brook in a dirt road, he doesn't know. He pictures a huge vacant field of cinders and his heart goes hollow." ~ John Updike
"We expect the world of doctors. Out of our own need, we revere them; we imagine that their training and expertise and saintly dedication have purged them of all the uncertainty, trepidation, and disgust that we would feel in their position, seeing what they see and being asked to cure it. Blood and vomit and pus do not revolt them; senility and dementia have no terrors; it does not alarm them to plunge into the slippery tangle of internal organs, or to handle the infected and contagious. For them, the flesh and its diseases have been abstracted, rendered coolly diagrammatic and quickly subject to infallible diagnosis and effective treatment. The House of God is a book to relieve you of these illusions; it … displays it as farce, a melee of blunderers laboring to murky purpose under corrupt and platitudinous superiors." ~ John Updike
"Nevertheless, we react to one a bit differently than we do to Rothko's hovering panels or Barnett Newman's stripes, though Whistler does approach their extremity of abstraction; part of our pleasure lies in recognizing bridges and buildings in the mist, and in sensing the damp riverine silence, the glimmering metropolitan presence. … The painting - a single blurred stripe of urban shore - is additionally daring in that the sky and sea are no shade of blue, but, instead, an improbable, pervasive cobalt green. Human vision is here taken to its limits, and modern painting, as a set of sensations realized in paint, is achieved." ~ John Updike
"Creativity is merely a plus name for regular activity. Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better." ~ John Updike
"To be President of the United States, sir, is to act as advocate for a blind, venomous, and ungrateful client." ~ John Updike
"An affair wants to spill, to share its glory with the world. No act is so private it does not seek applause." ~ John Updike
"Everybody who tells you how to act has whiskey on their breath." ~ John Updike
"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." ~ John Updike
"Days, pale slices between nights, they blend, not exactly alike, transparencies so lightly tinted that only stacked all together do they darken to a fatal shade." ~ John Updike
"Neutrinos, they are very small.They have no charge and have no massAnd do not interact at all.The earth is just a silly ballTo them, through which they simply pass,Like dustmaids down a drafty hallOr photons through a sheet of glass.They snub the most exquisite gas,Ignore the most substantial wall,Cold shoulder steel and sounding brass,Insult the stallion in his stall,And, scorning barriers of class,Infiltrate you and me. Like tallAnd painless guillotines they fallDown through our heads into the grass.At night, they enter at NepalAnd pierce the lover and his lassFrom underneath the bed—you callIt wonderful; I call it crass." ~ John Updike
"In fact we do not try to picture the afterlife, nor is it our selves in our nervous tics and optical flecks that we wish to perpetuate; it is the self as the window on the world that we can't bear to thinkof shutting. My mind when I was a boy of ten or eleven sent up its silent scream at the thought of future aeons -- at the thought of the cosmic party going on without me. The yearning for an afterlife is the opposite of selfish: it is love and praise of the world that we are privileged, in this complex interval of light, to witness and experience." ~ John Updike
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