It’s only fitting

Though this is old news by now, it seemed fitting that a blog about fiction writing would make some form of comment about the recent death of John Updike. Count this as my personal tribute and an extended about me section.

Anyone that has any concern about this will know by now that John Updike has passed. The LA Times wrote an excellent obituary that is worth checking out here. The reason I bring up Updike is, from my perspective as an almost graduate with a major in Journalism and a minor in Creative Writing (probably not supposed to be capitalized but my stylebook is upstairs so suck it) I can’t help but notice the impact he has had on my life.

Going back to my freshman year I remember wanting to start reading again. As a kid I loved to read and would go to the library to get books. My parents also bought me an amazing collection. It was all of the classic works of literature condensed and with the writing simplified so that children could read and appreciate them. From when I was around 5 to when I “outgrew” them, those books were read to me, and then I would read them out loud.

But now I was 18 and I had not read a good book in years besides books that were required from school. And here came in my friend Matt, who had recently started generating a great interest in reading and writing. I asked Matt if I could borrow a book to read and he handed me a copy of, “Rabbit, Run.”

I was so engrossed that I couldn’t put the book down. I needed to know everything that happened to Harry Angstrom. I was so starved for reading that I didn’t mind Updike’s perchance for paragraphs that might take up a page or more. This is not to say that I would have just read anything, but that it was the right book at the right time.

What John Updike did was make me realize that I always enjoyed reading and writing, I was good at reading and writing (still to be proved, but I’m working on it) and that those are two things that I always want to be a part of my life.

Forget the two Pulitzer Prizes, the numerous National Book Awards, the 50+ works of literature, the countless criticism, if a book that John Updike wrote in 1960 can unlock the passion in an 18 year old in 2004 then certainly he has achieved something with his life.

So it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century. Farewell sir, see you on the other side.

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