The Other John Updike Archive
Trash and Bumfodder

Trash and Bumfodder


The mixed up and inconsequent appearance of things sometimes play a role in yielding us a gift. In my early years, as a boy, I felt the impression of being surrounded by unclear generosity, of – a barefaced reminiscence I wrote at one point – a silent, however relentless goodness that substances at rest appear to affirm. A wordless reassurance all these things are pushing to offer. A hallucination? To illustrate middleness with all its struggles, bumps, grits, and anonymities, in its wholeness of satisfaction as well as a mystery: is it capable of happening, or looking at the suffering that violently surrounds the periphery and that at all times threatens to go into the center, worth undertaking? Maybe not; but the telephone poles, horse-chestnut trees, the porches, the green hedges retreat to a cool point, that according to my view is still the middle of the world.

[from the “Foreward” to OLINGER STORIES, Vintage Books, 1964


Bryan Ferry Is Touring. The setlist includes Robert Palmers Johnny and Mary. Very Updike.

Roxy Redux:

“I had moved backstage at the Orpheum, Boston, where I stood on the side of the stage door across from Bryan Ferry during the Manifesto Tour of Roxy Music.

DJ Mark Parente of WBCN was trying to make Bryan remember an intersection in the past, but Ferry was smoothly distracted as the music played during his grand entrance. I admired Ferry’s leather suit jacket. After the show was over, I found some poetry books and a carton of Dunhill cigarettes the singer had left behind as he tried to escape his loyal fans. The Dunhills had the lovely inscription: “Meant For Bryan Ferry…” by Boston Phoenix writer Robert Polito. Not quite similar to the special leather jacket.

When life appears to be lunatic, no one can tell where the madness lies. Possibly to be very practical maybe the madness. To give up on dreams, could be madness. To look for treasures in a place full of trash. Too much sanity may be madness, and the highest level of madness is to see life as it appears rather than the way it should be.

– Miguel De Cervantes, Don Quixote de la Mancha

Any task assumes to be creative when the doer is concerned about doing it in the right way or making it better. John Updike.

This article is written by one of the members of tree trimming in Alexandria.

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