From the beginning it was clear that two principal elements informed Murakami’s fiction: a focus on some internal being or consciousness that worked with the conscious self, sometimes in concert, other times antagonistically, and the nearly constant presence of a magical ‘other world’ in which this internal being operated.
-Matthew Carl Stretcher
This may sound a little odd but on occasion I go out with no definite goal in mind. I’m not shopping or looking to buy anything, not meeting anyone, not attending a talk or class or workshop. I just feel the need to go out and see what happens. In most instances this would be a nature walk with my camera but since it was too cold out today, I didn’t envision myself strolling through Central Park. I just wanted to get out and I had no idea really where I wanted to go. I just knew the sun, which seems to have taken a break for a few weeks was out. And I needed to get out while I could still see the color of the sky.
I decided to go loiter at a Barnes & Nobles on the upper West side. I just wanted to walk and get some fresh air so the destination wasn’t really important but I did need one. I picked out two magazines from “Women’s Interest” (air quotes to infinity,) Vogue and In-Style because Viola Davis is on the cover and then bought my signature soy chai latte and a bag of sweet potato chips before heading to a window seat on the second floor.
Despite my quasi-serendipitous effort, I was totally underwhelmed by both magazines. The worst feeling is that feeling of no feeling at all, just wanting to be engaged by something and feeling nothing. Not annoyance, irritation or hate, just dull disappointment. I was feeling kind of silly when I remembered that this was a non-expectation based journey. My husband texted me asking about the weather as I walked through isles with plans of going to Sephora next to paint my nails. If I couldn’t find satisfaction at B&N it was my next favorite place in the city to get a random boredom fix.
I was walking slowly, reluctant to leave, but not finding anything to absorb or enlighten me, when I saw books by Haruki Murakami, one of my top favorite writers, lined up on a shelf in the fiction section. Vintage Press has apparently released new covers for some of his most popular titles. I pulled out two titles I’ve read more than once just to check them out. I wasn’t crazy about them.
Just as I was about to move off, I saw one title I had never read. It appeared to be the latest critique of his body of work. I checked the pub date inside to be sure. I opened it, started reading and walked back to my window seat where I felt myself, silently submerge in a well written intro to the critique of a writer I have been strangely fascinated (even for me) by for many years.
You know how I love having my mind flipped by the unordinary, unexpected and evasive. The only thing I love more is people who write penetrative and revealing observations about that particular phenomena when expressed by some of the worlds most courageous dreamers.
A few pages in I decided to check Murakami’s zodiac sign because I felt certain I remembered that he was a Leo and was shocked by it because his work and the personality of a Leo as I’ve experienced it don’t seem related at all. But he’s a Capricorn.
I happen to know that I have something important to learn from Capricorn energy in 2016 and I have been undisputedly amazed by Murakami’s fiction writing for ages now. Murakami’s work, as Stretcher says, resists any category though it bares the shadowy markings of those he has been inspired by. His non-categorical writing style is one I can’t imagine could actually be achieved on purpose. Yet purposefully or not, Murakami writes consistently with unapologetic and fearless imagination. And though his voice is uniquely incomparable, it is also hard to describe.
Okay. LOL!! Sorry.
Hey, look, like I said, Capricorn energy is supposed to have a significant influence in my life this year. I think it has something to do with digging below the surface level of things instead of meandering around the surface like I usually do, maybe even beyond the surface level of my own self or who I think I am. This is basically what characters in Murakami books usually end up doing.
No matter what they find there, they keep digging. Discovering how to fearlessly use my own voice would be worth the risk.