Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One writer who won't be reading my blog today.

You know how people Google their own names to read what other people are writing about them? It's called a vanity Google, and men do it much more than women, although women are much more inclined to Google men.

This morning I said that my early writing went through a faux-Updike period. I loved Updike. Of all his novels, and there were 50 or so, the Rabbit series will always hold a special place. Rabbit wasn't the brightest man, or the most responsible, or even likeable at times, but he tried like the rest of us, and often came up short.

Updike wrote with such compact beauty - "Sailboats tilted against the glitter" - that when I first read that sentence it nearly took my breath away.

Updike could pack in enough symbolism and metaphor to keep English majors busy for several semesters. But for those of us who read more for story and character, Updike had the goods. When we saw a bit of allusion peek out from behind the suburban landscaping, we were happy, knowing that he hadn't take us for morons. He knew we would get it without making the thing strut about wearing a hat, blowing a horn, calling cheap attention to itself. I like that. I like that a lot.

He had a great run. He's left us richer for his time on the planet. And that ain't a bad epitaph.

To paraphrase one of his own titles: Updike at Rest.



RedTree said...

Wow, I was shocked when I flipped on your site and saw that Updike was dead. I had been pleased earlier when you had mentioned him and had thought a bit about how I, too, had been affected by his writing. As you said in this post, there were sentences and paragraphs where I found myself staggered by the sheer beauty and rhythm of his writing. I was enthralled and intimidated.
That guy had the goods...

Stephen Blackmoore said...

That is a damn shame. The world is poorer for his passing.

Beneath the Carolina Moon said...

One of the all time greats.

Charlie Stella said...

This is a tough one.

The Rabbit series is a part of Americana, heart and sole.

Very few ever did or ever will come close.