Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The miracle of turning inklings into thoughts and thoughts into words and words into metal and print and ink never palls for me
said John Updike who died today. I came to Updike relatively late in my life when I picked up the first Rabbit book one summer and read it voraciously. And then each summer thereafter it became a sort of mini-tradition for me to read another. I felt like I was discovering him and it was such a relief at the time to read such stately prose. Fine, old-fashioned stuff that didn't mask the often vulgar material, just enhanced it.
I saw him last fall, here in Los Angeles, and marveled at his easy depiction of writing as industry. I had gone to hear him speak thinking that he'd be impossibly effete, New Englandy, haughty. And he wasn't. He was charming and witty and so, so literate. I wrote about it here.
I'm sad that John Updike died today and that his voice is gone.