Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rabbit At Peace

John Updike, the erudite novelist and poet who garnered admirations and envy among his peers and pleasure from his multitudes of adoring fans, passed away yesterday. He was, to be sure, a writer among writers and his most well-known novels ("Rabbit Is Rich" and "Rabbit At Rest" won Pulitzer Prizes 30 years apart from the other) guaranteed his star to be firmly placed in the firmament of literary giants. A tireless author, Updike churned out at least one successful novel year after year. He did so with so little apparent effort that he created enmity among his equals. But don't blame Updike. He clearly couldn't help himself. A chronicler of American adultery, Updike once admitted that if he hadn't exhausted the topic, "it clearly has exhausted me." Many of you will recall his "Witches of Eastwick" was converted into a successful movie, although the follow-up "Widows of Eastwick" didn't capture lightning in a bottle again. I was amazed at the length and breadth of Updike's prolific output. He was an inveterate reviewer of other authors and the arts and on several occasions released volumes of short stories in addition to his lesser known poetry. Unfortunately, all of my Updike collection (like nearly all of my library) was lost during the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina. Yet, I still remember them and Updike's highly stylized writing. I will treasure their memory as well as the writer responsible for them. Updike, a victim of lung cancer, was 76.
Thank you, Congress. Talk about taking the wind out of my sails. After alerting everyone about the impending changeover to all digital broadcasting the other day, the wise men and women of Congress decided to push back the switch until the summer, making my scribblings seem somewhat unnecessary. While our rabbit ears are safe for now, I wouldn't get too complacent. Time marches on and digital will be here soon enough.
And now a personal word to my mother, Annette, who today celebrates her 77th birthday. Have a happy birthday. I know that if her birthday is here, Mardi Gras can't be very far off. Indeed, it is less than a month away and the Carnival ball season is into full swing this weekend.

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