I feel I am closest to God when writing. You’re singing praises. You’re describing the world, as it is. And even if the passages turn out sordid or depressing, there’s something holy about the truth — John Updike, commenting when interviewed for NPR’s ‘Tell Me A Story,’ as reflected upon by the host, Marjorie Leet Ford, March 31, 2003.*
Over breakfast this morning, I read the NY Times article A Relentless Updike Mapped America’s Mysteries. In addition, I watched the brief, but stimulating October 2008 interview of John Updike (1932-2009) focused upon the craft of fiction and the art of writing. Hungry for more, I watched the A Life in Letters Interview. ** With regard to both pieces, I was struck by the wisdom of this 76 year old from central Pennsylvania (who moved north for a Harvard education and continued in suburban Massachusetts for writing and family life). As for Updike’s Tour of Protestantism, I found a helpful piece in Religion & Ethics Newsweekly’s report on his 2004 presentation at the Center for Religious Inquiry, St. Bartholomew’s Church, New York City.
Any Updike fans/experts have thoughts to share regarding the film version of “The Witches of Eastwick” (1987) versus his 1984 book, his range of writing, his characters, his themes (and the research involved in them), his life, his faith? I must confess that I’m not very familiar with Updike and would love to learn more. Teach me.
*HT to Dick Staub’s post John Updike Quotes By and About.
**Update (1/29/09): Treated to John Updike, a Lyrical Writer of the Middle-Class Man, Dies at 76 over breakfast this morning. Great to learn more about his PA childhood, his progression of writing, and the tragic nature of his basketball star (another book series to add to my reading list).