Murakami

The interplay between mood and tone is what always brings me back to Haruki Murakami. I can see how some might complain that it makes his books too similar. But I don’t see a whole lot of people complaining about his writing.

I admire the fact that the work carries a similar attitude throughout his extensive bibliography. I have to imagine that a body of work that shows consistency and growth would be an author’s dream.

I came to Murakami like most—through Norwegian Wood. Since then, I’ve read just about everything else. I think A Wild Sheep Chase is my second favorite work he’s produced. (That may be, in part, because of what I know about how it was written.)

My favorite book by Haruki Murakami is What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I’ve actually only listened to it on audiobook, but I’ve probably heard to it a dozen times because, for a time, I played it repeatedly while jogging.

The book details Murakami’s journey as a marathon runner. But it includes some reflections on his early days as the owner of a jazz bar and an emerging novelist.

Murakami’s first works were pitched as novels, but they were novellas. A Wild Sheep Chase, on the other hand, is novel-length and demonstrates a move in a more mature and developed direction. According to his autobiographical book on running, that novel involved both risk and uncertainty. And, for god’s sake, it gave us the sheep man.

One last thing, if you’re wondering why there’s an image of a cat at the top of this essay, you should read Kafka on the Shore.

photo: Marko Blažević

Full-time

I can vividly recall the moment I decided I wanted to become a writer. I was sitting in a tan corduroy chair inside a cramped college dorm room. I was rereading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It was at that moment that I realized I saw the world just as Huxley did. And I thought this might mean I should write novels, too.

Of course, at the time, I was also very interested in photography and film and understanding that a degree in Creative Writing might not pay any bills, I ultimately decided to study Mass Communications.

It took me some time to come back around to writing books, but ever since then, I’ve wanted to write full time. Even then, I understood writing novels would most likely mean writing other things in support of that endeavor. But the reality is I’m not entirely sure I want to write articles for a magazine like Cat Fancy just to say that I’m a full-time writer. (I’m allergic to cats.)

At times, I fear this means that my dream of becoming a full-time writer is unrealistic. It’s hard enough as it is, but once you start putting stipulations on what you will and will not do (like writing about cats), it becomes that much harder. People who do become full-time writers may be willing to write anything. But I’ll only do that up to a point (e.g., I ghostwrote this sci-fi novel).

These days I’m starting to see that time is limited. In other words, I’m only going to get to write so many more books. And I’m just not sure I want to spend all day writing articles on the best kitty litter only to find out I haven’t got any words left for my work later that night. In other words, if I can’t write full time, I might just write for me.

photo: Mikhail Vasilyev