I don’t really have anything to add to the many Updike obits that have been printed in the past few weeks (I already shared my one interaction with Updike in this post), though my parents, knowing of my long-time Updike fandom, did mention it to me this weekend, when they were visiting. My father, several years ago, when I was complaining about how I missed seeing Updike, was like, “Oh, don’t worry, he’ll be back in New York–those kinds of readings happen all the time.” As a matter of fact, I did get to see him speak (as mentioned in that post), but I’m glad I went, because now he’s gone. (What I said to Updike: “I have always loved your work.” What he said to me: “Have you?” That was it. I was rather embarrassed and took my autographed book and hustled off.)
Moral of the story: If you can afford something, go see it now, because you never know when it will disappear.
Oh! I do remember, in high school, for a class in American literature, we had to write a paper on an American novelist of our choice, and I wrote mine on Updike (of course), and when my teacher handed back our essays, he said, “I have never liked Updike, but your paper made a compelling case for him.” (Or something like that, excuse the horn tooting, but it probably was a good essay, because I do/did really love Updike.) And then my friend, (who had written hers on Zelda Fitzgerald, as befits a young feminist), snickered and was like, “Bleh, Updike,” and my teacher was like, “Yes, I know! Who likes Updike?”
Oh, and I remember a high school friend once saying that he never knew any women who liked Updike, but I always have–somehow, I always associate reading Updike with sad summer days, and the language has stayed with me all these years. I have two favorite Updike lines–one is not in this giant Updike compendium I have here, but the other is: “So I am taken by surprise at a turning when at the meaningful hour of ten you come with a kiss of toothpaste to me moist and girlish and quick; an unexpected gift is not worth giving.”
No knitting content today. Maybe tomorrow!