John Updike Quotes About Con

Browse 24 famous quotes of John Updike about Con.

"Not only are selves conditional but they die. Each day, we wake slightly altered, and the person we were yesterday is dead. So why, one could say, be afraid of death, when death comes all the time?" ~ John Updike
"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
"A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience." ~ John Updike
"The first breath of adultery is the freest; after it, constraints aping marriage develop." ~ John Updike
"Students present themselves...like a succession of CDs whose shimmering surface gives no clue to their contents without the equipment to play them." ~ 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
"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." ~ John Updike
"...I glance around at the nest we have made, at the floorboards polished by our bare feet, at the continents of stain on the ceiling like an old and all-wrong discoverer's map, at the earnestly bloated canvases I conscientiously cover with great streaks straining to say what even I am begining to suspect is the unsayable thing, and I grow frightened." ~ 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
"He doesn't blame people for many sin, but he does hate uncoordination, the root of all evil, as he feels it, for without coordination there can be no order, no connecting." ~ John Updike
"Ken appeared, was taller than she, wanted her, was acceptable and accepted on all sides; similarly, nagging mathematical problems abruptly crack open. Foxy could find no fault with him, and this challenged her, touched off her stubborn defiant streak. She felt between his handsomeness and intelligence a contradiction that might develop into the convoluted humour of her Jew. Ken looked lika a rich boy and worked like a poor one. From Farmington, he was the only son of a Hartford laywer who never lost a case. Foxy came to imagine his birth as cool and painless, without a tear or outcry. Nothing puzzled him. There were unknowns, but no mysteries. (...) He was better-looking, better-thinking, a better machine." ~ John Updike
"The cloud of the consommé's warmth enveloped her face and revived her poise. In the liquid a slice of lemon lay at fetal peace." ~ John Updike
"Still, my fascination with Buchanan did not abate, nor was I able, as the Seventies set in, to move the novel forward through the constant pastiche and basic fakery of any fiction not fed by the springs of memory -- what Henry James calls (in a letter to Sarah Orne Jewett) the "fatal cheapness [and] mere escamotage" of the "'historic' novel." ~ John Updike
"On being conscious of being a writer: As soon as one is aware of being "somebody," to be watched and listened to with extra interest, input ceases, and the performer goes blind and deaf in his overanimation. [...] Most of the best fiction is written out of early impressions, taken in before the writer became conscious of himself as a writer. The best seeing is done by the hunted and the hunter, the vulnerable and the hungry; the "successful" writer acquires a film over his eyes. His eyes get fat. Self-importance is a thickened, occluding form of self-consciousness. The binge, the fling, the trip – all attempt to shake the film and get back under the dinning-room table, with a child's beautifully clear eyes." ~ John Updike
"My first thought, as a child, was that the artist brings something into the world that didn't exist before, and that he does it without destroying something else. A kind of refutation of the conservation of matter. That still seems to me its central magic, its core of joy." ~ John Updike
"[I]n my own case at least I feel my professional need for freedom of speech and expression prejudices me toward a government whose constitution guarantees it." ~ John Updike
"We are fated to love one another; we hardly exist outside our love, we are just animals without it, with a birth and a death and constant fear between. Our love has lifted us up , out of the dreadfulness of merely living." ~ 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
"I once did something right. I played first-rate basketball. I really did. And after you're first-rate at something, no matter what, it kind of takes the kick out of being second-rate." ~ John Updike
"The mind cannot fall asleep as long as it watches itself. Only when the mind moves unwatched and becomes absorbed in images that tug it as it were to one side does self-consciousness dissolve and sleep with its healing, brilliantly detailed fictions pour in upon the jittery spirit. Falling asleep is a study in trust. Likewise, religion tries to put as ease with the world. Being human cannot be borne alone. We need other presences. We need soft night noises-a mother speaking downstairs. We need the little clicks and sighs of a sustaining otherness. We need the gods." ~ John Updike
"Evening Concert, Sainte-Chapelle" The celebrated windows flamed with lightdirectly pouring north across the Seine;we rustled into place. Then violinsvaunting Vivaldi's strident strength, then Brahms,seemed to suck with their passionate sweetness,bit by bit, the vigor from the red,the blazing blue, so that the listening eyesaw suddenly the thick black lines, in shapesof shield and cross and strut and brace, that heldthe holy glowing fantasy together.The music surged; the glow became a milk,a whisper to the eye, a glimmer ebbeduntil our beating hearts, our violinswere cased in thin but solid sheets of lead." ~ John Updike
"The Sometime Sportsman Greets the Springby John UpdikeWhen winter's glaze is lifted from the greens,And cups are freshly cut, and birdies sing,Triumphantly the stifled golfer preensIn cleats and slacks once more, and checks his swing.This year, he vows, his head will steady be,His weight-shift smooth, his grip and stance ideal;And so they are, until upon the teeBefall the old contortions of the real.So, too, the tennis-player, torpid fromHibernal months of television sports,Perfects his serve and feels his knees becomeSheer muscle in their unaccustomed shorts.Right arm relaxed, the left controls the toss,Which shall be high, so that the racket faceShall at a certain angle sweep acrossThe floated sphere with gutty strings—an ace!The mind's eye sees it all until uponThe courts of life the faulty way we playedIn other summers rolls back with the sun.Hope springs eternally, but spring hopes fade." ~ John Updike
"....his silence he has indicated that he is willing. He hasn't the strength any more, the excess vitality, for an affair - its danger, its demand performances, the secrecy added like a filigree to your normal life, your gnawing preoccupation with it and with the constant threat of its being discovered and ended." ~ John Updike
"The faith in an afterlife, however much our reason ridicules it, very modestly extends our faith that each moment of our consciousness will be followed by another - that a coherent matrix has been prepared for this precious self of ours. The guarantee that our self enjoys an intended relation to the outer world is most, if not all, of what we ask from religion. God is the self projected onto reality by our natural and necessary optimism. He is the not-me personified." ~ John Updike
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I think the kind of landscape that you grew up in, it lives with you. I don't think it's true of people who've grown up in cities so much; you may love a building, but I don't think that you can love it in the way that you love a tree or a river or the colour of the earth; it's a different kind of love."
Author: Arundhati Roy

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