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John Updike

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction

John Updike: That semester I think I placed four or five more stories with them, as well as quite a number of light verse poems. Light verse was in its twilight, but I didn't know that so I kept scribbling the stuff and they kept running it for a while. So, I was kind of establishing myself as a dependable contributor and they were a paternalistic organization that tried to gather unto itself talented -- whatever -- writers. And it was funny to want to do that, because really about the only slot they had to offer was to write for "Talk of the Town," the front section. We moved in, a little family of three into Riverside Drive, and I began to write these stories, and discovered I could do it, and had kind of a good time doing it. You went around in New York and interviewed people who attended Coliseum shows -- kitchen appliances or whatever -- and I was very good at making something out of almost nothing. But, I thought after two years that maybe I had gone as far as I could with "The Talk of the Town" as an art form and I felt New York was a kind of unnatural place to live. I had two children at this point, and my wife didn't have too many friends and wasn't, I didn't think, very happy. Well in the '50s one didn't think too hard about whether or not your wife was happy, sad to say, but even I could see that, so I said, "Why don't we quit the job for a while." I thought they'd take me back if it didn't work out, and I'll try to freelance up in New England, so there is where we went. We moved to a small town in New England and I never had to go back because I was able to support myself.
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Gore Vidal

National Book Award

Gore Vidal: It was a book about the absolute normality of "same-sexuality," as it was sometimes called. Remember, I spent all my life not only in boys' schools, but here I am stuck in three years of the Army. I knew exactly what went on in the real world. It was Walt Whitman who said, "No one will ever know what goes on in armies." Everybody thought it was the bloodshed and so on. Whitman was after different game. I knew what went on in the real world, and I thought, well, nobody would write about it.
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Antonio Villaraigosa

Former Mayor of Los Angeles

Antonio Villaraigosa: I've met many people who have grown up in alcoholic homes -- or abusive homes of some sort, whether physical or psychological -- and I say to people, "You gotta take responsibility," and "You gotta stop the cycle." You've got to just say, "It stops here." And that is not always easy, because you don't necessarily have the role model for it. But you've got to stop the violence. I do a lot of work around domestic violence. I feel very strongly about it. I always tell people, "You gotta break the cycle." You've got to just say, "I gotta take responsibility." And I think that's what I finally did, probably later in life than some. Probably late teens, early 20s, in college, when I started realizing you can't feel sorry for yourself. You've just got to move ahead. I think those years when I was kind of getting in trouble and getting kicked out and dropping out and fighting all the time, I think it was a lot of anger, and it was my way of coping. And then over time -- and I think it was in college -- where I just said, "You know, you gotta let it go. You gotta move forward. You gotta take responsibility for your life." So I think that is how you break the cycle. And you talk about it, you can't be afraid to talk about it. My dad has never really lived with us since we were five. He gets very upset that I talk about it. But my mother said to us, "The way out, the way to break the cycle, is to lay it out, just to say what happened, say it was wrong, and to move on." And so I do and I have.
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