Saturday, February 21, 2015
Though our enthusiasms may fade, it's interesting to note their lasting effects. Since I've been thinking and writing about those years, I've revisited some of the early Updike short stories I first read, and I noted particularly a couple of his comments in his Paris Review interview. aI'm sure I came upon the first of them for the first time in this interview, and it became formative. The second is more in the nature of consolation, a retroactive justification for a different personal history than I was looking for.
"When I write, I aim my mind not toward New York but toward a vague spot a little to the east of Kansas. I think of the books on library shelves, without their jackets, years old, and a countryish teen-aged boy finding them, and having them speak to him. The reviews, the stacks in Brentano's, are just hurdles to get over, to place the books on that shelf."
"No, I always wanted to draw or write for a living...I would write ads for deodorants or labels for catsup bottles if I had to...The distinction between a thing well done and a thing done ill obtains everywhere..."