Monday, October 25, 2004


Washington Post's Bookworld reviewed the new Updike yesterday. I took a class on him in undergrad, and our teacher told us the following story about him.

Updike was working on his first novel, The Centaur. He got up in the morning, ate some breakfast with his wife, and locked himself in his office for several hours to work. Eventually, his wife knocked on the door, telling him lunch was ready.

Updike comes to the kitchen and quietly eats, his head still obviously focused on his work more than anything else.

"Well," his wife said, "You've been working all morning. How's the book coming?"

"Pretty good," Updike said. "I took out a comma."

After lunch Updike went back to his office, locked the door and got back to work. A few more hours later his wife knocked on the door again, this time telling him dinner was ready.

"Well," his wife said, "How's the book coming?"

"Pretty good," Updike said. "I put the comma back in."

I've never seen the story anywhere else, so I take no responsibility for its validity. Still a fun writerly kind of story, especially with Novel Writing Month coming. Watch those commas!


1 comment:

LadyLitBlitzin said...

Oh my God, that's a great anecdote. That's pretty much the way I feel about those two I was trying to bust out over the weekend... I'm pretty sure that's all I accomplished, maybe taking a comma out and putting it back in. :)