Haruki Murakami is a best-selling Japanese writer known for his novels: Norwegian Wood, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, and Kafka on the Shore. Murakami’s stories are described as dream-like fantasies, where ordinary people face extraordinary scenarios, where magic and nostalgia blur the lines of reality.
In times of turmoil and political chaos, when confusion clouds our judgements, books that delve in surrealism offer peculiar comfort. For writers creating works during these strange times — uncertain how to make sense of the world around us — we can turn to Murakami for a bit of guidance.
Here are the top 10 quotes on writing from the author who shows us that enchantments are hiding in the everyday shadows.
1) It’s a dark, cool, quiet place. A basement in your soul. And that place can sometimes be dangerous to the human mind. I can open the door and enter that darkness, but I have to be very careful. I can find my story there. Then I bring that thing to the surface, into the real world.
2) There’s no such thing as perfect writing, just like there’s no such thing as perfect despair.
3) I often recall these words when I am writing, and I think to myself, ‘It’s true. There aren’t any new words. Our job is to give new meanings and special overtones to absolutely ordinary words.’ I find the thought reassuring. It means that vast, unknown stretches still lie before us, fertile territories just waiting for us to cultivate them.
4) When I start to write, I don’t have any plan at all. I just wait for the story to come. I don’t choose what kind of story it is or what’s going to happen.
5) Dreaming is the day job of novelists, but sharing our dreams is a still more important task for us. We cannot be novelists without this sense of sharing something.
6) Good style happens in one of two ways: the writer either has an inborn talent or is willing to work herself to death to get it.
7) I think memory is the most important asset of human beings. It’s a kind of fuel; it burns and it warms you. My memory is like a chest: There are so many drawers in that chest, and when I want to be a fifteen-year-old boy, I open up a certain drawer and I find the scenery I saw when I was a boy in Kobe. I can smell the air, and I can touch the ground, and I can see the green of the trees. That’s why I want to write a book.
8) The good thing about writing books is that you can dream while you are awake. If it’s a real dream, you cannot control it. When writing the book, you are awake; you can choose the time, the length, everything. I write for four or five hours in the morning and when the time comes, I stop. I can continue the next day. If it’s a real dream, you can’t do that.
9) Which is why I am writing this book. To think. To understand. It just happens to be the way I’m made. I have to write things down to feel I fully comprehend them.
10) I know how fiction matters to me, because if I want to express myself, I have to make up a story. Some people call it imagination. To me, it’s not imagination. It’s just a way of watching.
Do you like reading fantasy? Check out my review of 10 books from 10 different fantasy sub-genres.
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