There’s a novelist whose invention and soul and style I am so in love with: Haruki Murakami. His is the kind of writing that I’d like to think I would do if I were a novelist. I rarely fall head-over-heels in love with an artist’s work. I SO love when it happens!
Sometimes my love of an artist’s work includes awe, in that I can never imagine myself doing what that person is able to do: examples in that category include Ken Kesey, Aaron Copland, Tom Waits. Other times, it is more a feeling of a kindred spirit; that that person is doing exactly what I want to do, and I can even envision myself achieving the same kind of thing: examples include Thelonious Monk, Rufus Wainwright, Haruki Murakami. Not to sound big-headed, it’s just that I understand their mode of creativity at a ‘friendly’ level. I feel comfortable in the presence of their work. And somehow, what they’re doing feels like the same kind of thing I’m doing (or imagine myself doing).
So, it was fascinating to read Haruki’s recent piece in the New Yorker, in which he spoke some about his life. (“The Running Novelist,” The New Yorker, June 9, 2008, p. 72)
He writes of how the idea of becoming a writer came to him in a precise flash. He was at a baseball game, taking in the clouds, the game, just chilling and enjoying, when he suddenly knew that he was going to write. I get a chill from that, because it’s a feeling that has happened to me so many times: There’s a flash inside my brain, and suddenly I know the next thing I’ve GOT to do, and I know it deep in my belly. Most people never speak of this, so, uh, I keep it to myself. But Haruki knows the feeling. It’s comforting to know there’s someone else out there who gets these strange flashes. And it’s so cool that it’s someone whose work I feel such a deep connection to.
Want to read some Murakami? Start with “Kafka on the Shore“. Bloody brilliant.