Tuesday, January 5, 2010

thought of the day - murakami on writing

Haruki Murakami in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running:
As I suspect is true of many who write for a living, as I write I think about all sorts of things. I don't necessarily write down what I'm thinking; it's just that as I write I think about things. As I write, I arrange my thoughts. And rewriting and revising takes my thinking down even deeper paths. No matter how much I write, though, I never reach a conclusion. And no matter how much I rewrite, I never reach the destination. Even after decades of writing, the same still holds true. All I do is present a few hypotheses or paraphrase the issue. Or find an analogy between the structure of the problem and something else. (120)
Overall, I didn't find this memoir to be very interesting, but it has its good parts and is a well-articulated statement of Murakami's philosophy on life, told through the perspective of his favorite hobby. I choose this paragraph to share as "thought of the day" because it is the best statement of his writing style; it is also a point which is brought up by his critics: the incompleteness which is glaring in his longer novels but is also present in his shorter ones. I mean "incompleteness" in a very specific sense. Murakami likes to introduce metaphysical ideas and themes into his novels, and these are rarely explained fully, or drawn out completely (in the case of themes). This leaves the reader frustrated at times since there is a lack of closure to some subplots or characters.

In addition, I believe in Kafka on the Shore he has a passage where he talks about the beauty of this incompleteness; if I can find that passage I will definitely post that here too. But I still would say this is the best summary of this central aspect of his writing style.

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