The following was inspired by a radio interview about John Updike by one of his biographers and a first time caller fan.

His biographers admit their idol was a selfish brute and a whore. He betrayed his wives and ignored his children. But his biographers forgave his faults because he was a great writer. He baited and tortured those close to him for the words and details that filled each page.

Today, during the radio interview, a fan called to thank the writer for saving his life…. The fan explained that many years ago, he planned to kill himself. But he became so mesmerized by the words that filled each page, he abandoned his plan.

The writer smiled, and scribbled some notes on a napkin which would later become a character in some story. The fan smiled, and scribbled some notes on the back of envelope which would later become another paperless chapter in his life. They were made for each other: writer and fan.


Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers… a lot. Her column appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.