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John Updike Quotes

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John Updike
March 18, 1932 - January 27, 2009
Nationality: American
Category: Novelist
Subcategory: American Novelist

A narrative is like a room on whose walls a number of false doors have been painted; while within the narrative, we have many apparent choices of exit, but when the author leads us to one particular door, we know it is the right one because it opens.


We are most alive when we're in love.


We do survive every moment, after all, except the last one.


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.


To be President of the United States, sir, is to act as advocate for a blind, venomous, and ungrateful client.


Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.


The essential self is innocent, and when it tastes its own innocence knows that it lives for ever.


There is no pleasing New Englanders, my dear, their soil is all rocks and their hearts are bloodless absolutes.


By the time a partnership dissolves, it has dissolved.


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.


Existence itself does not feel horrible; it feels like an ecstasy, rather, which we have only to be still to experience.


We take our bearings, daily, from others. To be sane is, to a great extent, to be sociable.


A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience.


Now that I am sixty, I see why the idea of elder wisdom has passed from currency.


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.


From infancy on, we are all spies; the shame is not this but that the secrets to be discovered are so paltry and few.


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.


Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.


Until the 20th century it was generally assumed that a writer had said what he had to say in his works.


Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right or better.


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