Last week I finally got around to reading an interview by Sam Anderson of Haruki Murakami from The New York Times Magazine that I've been carrying around in my backpack for what must be months. You should be able to access it here if you like. It's very well-researched and well-written if you're interested in Murakami. I found a lot of it interesting, if not a bit redundant after my reading of Murakami's memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. The article discusses his time owning a jazz club, his huge album collection, his writing, and his running. For me, the article served as an important reminder that writing that is reflective of one's personal life will likely be very unique and strange, and that's okay. Anderson discusses how Murakami's childhood and background probably influenced his strange storylines.
I needed this at the moment because I keep thinking about my recently finished novel and how odd of a book it is. On one hand, I think the oddity comes from my own limitations. I don't think this is a perfect book. It's the best book I could write at the time, but it has some weaknesses I wish weren't there. I think it's my best work based only on the simple fact that it's probably the most coherent work of long fiction that I've managed to write. Which is just to say that there's a logical story there. But that's not saying much. I'm not sure if it's at all engaging or emotional.
On the other hand, though, however, and possibly, I do think I managed to create some things that were highly successful...as long as the mark of success is my own aesthetic preferences. There's a scene with a deck of cards in it that I love. I like the balance of science and life that I struck. I like that the Dalai Lama is in it and that the first scene with him in it involves him just sitting there. I like that it deals with some darker subjects and crimes that I am always fascinated by.
But the wrestlers are in my head. One of them is the muscular and sweaty guy telling me that I should just write what I personally want. Sometimes he even goes so far as to tell me that I couldn't write anything else anyway (before spitting in my face). The other guy, unfortunately, is equally muscular and equally sweaty, and he's telling me that there's really no point in writing a book that no one else will connect with. He calls me a wimp for not considering the rest of the world. He tells me it's like inviting people over for dinner and forcing them to eat food that they hate just because I think it's good. The outcome of this wrestling match is (1) it's making me think harder about what my next novel should be, which I think is a good thing, (2) it's making me explore things like writing essays, which I think is a good thing, and (3) it's making me doubt myself and try to come up with adventures that really aren't reflective of me, which is a stressful thing.
What's Peanut eating? He's not. He's turning his nose up to the food I'm giving him because it isn't supplemented with chicken. I'm currently trying to train him to close the cupboards, which has involved a lot of sitting and staring at one another as we try to understand why the other is being so stubborn.