Friday, October 30, 2015

Life just isn't fair, so deal with it.

Life just isn't fair, is how it used to strike me. Some people can work their butts off and never get what they're aiming for, while others get it without any effort at all. [...] I think this viewpoint applies as well to the job of the novelist. Writers who are blessed with inborn talent can freely write novels no matter what they do--or don't do. Like water from a natural spring, the sentences just well up, and with little or no effort these writers can complete a work. Occasionally you'll find someone like that, but, unfortunately, that category wouldn't include me. I haven't spotted any springs nearby. I have to pound the rock with a chisel and dig a deep hole before I can locate the source of creativity. [...] But as I've sustained this kind of life over many years, I've become quite efficient, both technically and physically, at opening up a new hole in the rock and locating a new water vein. As soon as I notice one water source drying up, I can move on right away to another. If people who rely on a natural spring of talent suddenly find they've exhausted their only source, they're in trouble.

In other words, let's face it: Life is basically unfair. But even in the situation that's unfair, I think it's possible to seek out a kind of fairness. Of course, that might take time and effort. And maybe it won't seem to be worth all that. It's up to each individual to decide whether or not it is.

-- pp. 41-43, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running 「走ることについて語る時に僕の語ること」 (Murakami, H.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What I daydreamed about in poetics class.

A freshly procured book - complete with that new-book smell - is like an open puzzle, eagerly awaiting its reader to take it apart and recreate something entirely different. Would you deny it its aching aspiration?

Because, honestly, what proves your existence more than a book with traces of you in it? At that precise moment, when you write even a single letter on its pages, you are the only one in the entire world who owns a book like that. That book is yours to claim as one of a kind because you wrote in it.

So make that book yours - your own personal means of understanding the world and the people in it. Scribble in it. Write notes in its margins. Underline words that resonate. Don't fear defacing your precious literature. In the end, what is an empty canvas worth? A lived-in book serves more purpose than a brand new one that appears as though it has never been touched. 

And after all that, you'll find yourself feeling impossible to read that book the same way again, what more part with it, because it has become an integrated part of you. No more reading that particular book for kicks, because it'll be like meeting an old friend again.

This is, I'm sure, is what it means to read as a writer who reads.