51+ John Updike Quotes and Sayings for Inspiration

john updike quotes

What would you say if I told you that John Updike was my favorite author? Well, he is. And I’m sure you’d agree that his writing style is unique and inspiring.

I love reading books because they allow me to escape from reality for a little bit. They give me time to reflect on life and myself.

So, I decided to share some of my favorite quotes from John Updike. These are great reminders to live each day to its fullest.

We are most alive when we’re in love.

– John Updike

John Updike Quotes

1. “If you have the guts to be yourself, other people’ll pay your price.” – John Updike

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

3. “The artist brings something into the world that didn’t exist before, and he does it without destroying something else.” – John Updike

4. “Sex is like money; only too much is enough.” – John Updike

5. “We are cruel enough without meaning to be.” – John Updike

6. “Americans have been conditioned to respect newness, whatever it costs them.” – John Updike

7. “The Founding Fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures called an education.” – John Updike

8. “Critics are like pigs at the pastry cart.” – John Updike

9. “What you haven’t done by thirty you’re not likely to do. What you have done you’ll do lots more.” – John Updike

10. “How can you respect the world when you see it’s being run by a bunch of kids turned old?” – John Updike

11. “Looking foolish does the spirit good. The need not to look foolish is one of youth’s many burdens; as we get older we are exempted from more and more.” – John Updike

12. “Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom but they dare to go it alone” – John Updike

13. “It’s been the same story ever since I can remember, ever since Wilson – the Republicans don’t do a thing for the little man.” – John Updike

14. “I like middles. . . It is in middles that extremes clash, where ambiguity restlessly rules.” – John Updike

15. “There is no such thing as static happiness. Happiness is a mixed thing, a thing compounded of sacrifices, and losses, and betrayals.” – John Updike

16. “The universe is a pointless, self running machine, and we are insignificant by-products, whom death will tuck back into oblivion, with or without holy fanfare.” – John Updike

17. “The difficulty with humorists is that they will mix what they believe with what they don’t—whichever seems likelier to win an effect.” – John Updike

18. “There is no doubt that I have lots of words inside me; but at moments, like rush-hour traffic at the mouth of a tunnel, they jam.” – John Updike

19. “Museums and bookstores should feel, I think, like vacant lots – places where the demands on us are our own demands, where the spirit can find exercise in unsupervised play.” – John Updike

20. “Not only are selves conditional but they die. Each day, we wake slightly altered, and the person we were yesterday is dead. So why, one could say, be afraid of death, when death comes all the time?” – John Updike

21. “Wickedness was like food: once you got started it was hard to stop; the gut expanded to take in more and more.” – John Updike

22.Nature may be defined as that which exists without guilt.” – John Updike

23. “Atrocity is truly emperor; All things that thrive are slaves of cruel Creation.” – John Updike

24. “In general the churches … bore for me the same relation to God that billboards did to Coca-Cola: they promoted thirst without quenching it.” – John Updike

25. “It is easy to love people in memory; the hard thing is to love them when they are there in front of you.” – John Updike

26. “Perfectionism is the enemy of creation, as extreme self- solitude is the enemy of well- being.” – John Updike

27. “What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.” – John Updike

28. “No act is so private it does not seek applause.” – John Updike

29. “Writing criticism is to writing fiction and poetry as hugging the shore is to sailing in the open sea.” – John Updike

30. “Part of being human is being on the verge of disgrace.” – John Updike

31. “Living is a compromise, between doing what you want and doing what other people want.” – John Updike

32. “It’s great to have an enemy. Sharpens your senses.” – John Updike

33. “Life is a roller coaster, you have your ups and downs unless you fall off.” – John Updike

34. “Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” – John Updike

35. “Life is a video game. No matter how good you get, you are always zapped in the end.” – John Updike

36. “Life is a nacho. It can be yummy-crunchy or squishy-yucky. It just depends on how long it takes for you to start eating it.” – John Updike

37. “Do what the heart commands. The heart is our only guide.” – John Updike

38. “Existence itself does not feel horrible; it feels like an ecstasy, rather, which we have only to be still to experience.” – John Updike

39. “Most of American life consists of driving somewhere and then returning home, wondering why the hell you went.” – John Updike

40. “The fiction writer is the ombudsman who argues our humble, dubious case in the halls of eternal record.” – John Updike

41. “Fraud makes the world go round.” – John Updike

42. “It’s not up to us what we learn, but merely whether we learn through joy or through pain.” – John Updike

43. “In all the green world nothing feels as good as a woman’s good nature.” – John Updike

44. “It’s a man’s world, they say; but in its daily textures it is a world created by and for women.” – John Updike

45. “Try to develop actual work habits, and even though you have a busy life, try to reserve an hour, say – or more – a day to write. Some very good things have been written on an hour a day.” – John Updike

46. “School is where you go between when your parents can’t take you and industry can’t take you.” – John Updike

47. “Fiction is nothing less than the subtlest instrument for self-examination and self-display that Mankind has invented yet.” – John Updike

48. “I would rather be seated between any two women than any two men at a dinner party.” – John Updike

49. “Appealingness is inversely proportional to attainability.” – John Updike

50. “All blessings are mixed blessings.” – John Updike

51. “Writing and rewriting are a constant search for what it is one is saying.” – John Updike

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