The Other John Updike Archive
Trash and Bumfodder

Trash and Bumfodder


The muddled and inconsequent surface of things now and then parts to yield us a gift. In my boyhood I had the impression of being surrounded by an incoherent generosity, of—to quote a barefaced reminiscence I once wrote—a quiet but tireless goodness that things at rest, like a [ brick wall or a small stone, seem to affirm. A wordless reassurance these things are pressing to give. An hallucination? To transcribe middleness with all its grits, bumps, and anonymities, in its fullness of satisfaction and mystery: is it possible or, in view of the suffering that violently colors the periphery and that at all moments threatens to move into the center, worth doing? Possibly not; but the horse-chestnut trees, the telephone poles, the porches, the green hedges recede to a calm point that in my subjective geography is still the center of the world.

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




Bryan Ferry Is Touring. On the set list is Robert Palmers Johnny and Mary. Very Updikean

Roxy Redux:

“I was backstage at the Orpheum in Boston, standing on one side of the stage door across from Bryan Ferry during Roxy Music’s Manifesto Tour.

WBCN DJ Mark Parento was attempting to get Bryan to recall a past intersection, but Ferry was politely distracted as the music swelled for his grand entrance. I coveted Ferry’s leather suit jacket. After the show I discovered a carton of Dunhill cigarettes and some poetry books left behind by the singer in his haste to escape ardent fans.  The Dunhills were lovingly inscribed:  “To Bryan Ferry…” by Boston Phoenix writer Robert Polito. Not quite the same as the iconic leather jacket. Still, I felt I was infusing myself with Ferry’s “serpentine sleekness” with every cigarette.”  Paul Moran

When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical may be madness. To surrender dreams, this may be madness. To seek treasures where there is only trashToo much sanity may be madness, and maddest of all is to see life as it is and not as it should be.

Miguel De Cervantes, Don Quixote de la Mancha

Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.John Updike

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