Month: September 2011

Setting men apart.

Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning towards dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes like air, and every deep drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in your brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all his life in the gray, and the land and the trees of him dark and somber. The events, even important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then-the glory-so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and the number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates to us in the world. It is the mother of all creativness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.

– From East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Advertisements

Murakami on Writing

So what do you do when you have a sudden urge to read Murakami, knowing pretty well that the urge is because of the date, of his latest magnum opus 1Q84‘s english release coming closer?

Well, if you are one of a character from his world, ironing clothes will be a good idea. Or may be cooking spaghetti will do the trick. Or may one should consider listening to some Beatles tune or some Mozart’s piece. Or just check the road outside for some cat to follow. Or may be do nothing and just wait for the phone to ring, hoping for some strange women to call.

Anyhow, I decided to read his interviews. There were many out there and he’s quite candid about his ways and reasons of writing. Below are few excerpts from his interviews.

I write weird stories. I don’t know why I like weirdness so much. Myself, I’m a very realistic person. I don’t trust anything New Age — or reincarnation, dreams, Tarot, horoscopes. I don’t trust anything like that at all. I wake up at 6 in the morning and go to bed at 10, jogging every day and swimming, eating healthy food. I’m very realistic. But when I write, I write weird. That’s very strange. When I’m getting more and more serious, I’m getting more and more weird. When I want to write about the reality of society and the world, it gets weird. Many people ask me why, and I can’t answer that. But I recognized when I was interviewing those 63 ordinary people — they were very straightforward, very simple, very ordinary, but their stories were sometimes very weird. That was interesting.

[..]

..subconscious is very important to me as a writer. I don’t read much Jung, but what he writes has some similarity with my writing. To me the subconscious is terra incognita. I don’t want to analyze it, but Jung and those people, psychiatrists, are always analyzing dreams and the significance of everything. I don’t want to do that. I just take it as a whole. Maybe that’s kind of weird, but I’m feeling like I can do the right thing with that weirdness. Sometimes it’s very dangerous to handle that. You remember that scene in the mysterious hotel? I like the story of Orpheus, his descending, and this is based on that. The world of death and you enter there at your own risk. I think that I am a writer, and I can do that. I am taking my own risk. I have confidence that I can do it.

But it takes time. When I started to write this book and I was writing and writing every day, then when that darkness came, I was ready to enter it. It took time before that, to reach that stage. You can’t do that by starting to write today and then tomorrow entering that kind of world. You have to endure and labor every day. You have to have the ability to concentrate. I think that’s the most important ingredient to the writer. For that I was training every day. Physical power is essential. Many authors don’t respect that. [Laughs] They drink too much and smoke too much. I don’t criticize them, but to me, strength is critical. People don’t believe that I’m a writer because I’m jogging and swimming every day. They say, “He’s not a writer.”

– From The Salon, a 1997 interview titled The Outsider.

When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long—six months to a year—requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.

[..]

When I make up the characters in my books, I like to observe the real people in my life. I don’t like to talk much; I like to listen to other people’s stories. I don’t decide what kind of people they are; I just try to think about what they feel, where they are going. I gather some factors from him, some factors from her. I don’t know if this is “realistic” or “unrealistic,” but for me, my characters are more real than real people. In those six or seven months that I’m writing, those people are inside me. It’s a kind of cosmos.

[..]

Please think about it this way: I have a twin brother. And when I was two years old, one of us—the other one—was kidnapped. He was brought to a faraway place and we haven’t seen each other since. I think my protagonist is him. A part of myself, but not me, and we haven’t seen each other for a long time. It’s a kind of alternative form of myself. In terms of DNA, we are the same, but our environment has been different. So our way of thinking would be different. Every time I write a book I put my feet in different shoes. Because sometimes I am tired of being myself. This way I can escape. It’s a fantasy. If you can’t have a fantasy, what’s the point of writing a book?

– From The Paris Review, from a 2004 interview.

Few other intervews – When I Run I Am in a Peaceful Place, Roll Over Basho: Who Japan Is Reading, and Why & this page has a collection of other articles and interviews on Murakami.

And yeah, I forgot to mention, that urge that I talked about in the begining, was fueled further after reading his new short story The Town of Cats in The New Yorker, which apparently is a part of 1Q84.