Pages

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Hooray for Haruki Murakami

Because I love reading Haruki Murakami so much, I decided to give him a page here on my blog :D Whoo! So, why do I love thee? The first book I’ve read from him is Kafka On The Shore. I was intrigued by his wild imagination, and from that moment until now, he had a grip on me. I think he’s a real genius and he’s one of my favourite authors. I put down excerpts of some of his books here. Just because I love rereading them. And hell, they’re all from Haruki Murakami!

AFTER DARK

I think memory is the most important asset of human beings. It’s a kind of fuel; it burns and it warms you.

****

It’s not as if our lives are divided simply into light and dark. There’s a shadowy middle ground. Recognizing and understanding the shadows is what a healthy intelligence does.

****

In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It’s important to combine the two in just the right amount.

****

Someday you’ll find the right person, Mari, and you’ll learn to have a lot more confidence in yourself. That’s what I think. So don’t settle for anything less. In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It’s important to combine the two in just the right amount.

BLIND WILLOW, SLEEPING WOMAN

I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while.

****

He was silent for thirty seconds, maybe a minute. I uncrossed my legs under the table and wondered if this was the right moment to leave. It was as if my whole life revolved around trying to judge the right point in a conversation to say goodbye.

DANCE, DANCE, DANCE

I doubt that this makes sense to most people. But I think I’m right. People die all the time. Life is a lot more fragile than we think. So you should treat others in a way that leaves no regrets. Fairly, and if possible, sincerely. It’s too easy not to make the effort, then weep and wring your hands after the person dies. Personally, I don’t buy it.

****

I knew what was eating her. We got along well, but what she was after, the image in her mind, was somewhere else, not where I was. She wanted a kind of autonomy of communication. A scene where the hero — whose name was “Communication” — led the masses to a bright, bloodless revolution, spotless white flags waving. So that perfection would swallow imperfection and make it whole. To me, love is a pure idea forged in flesh, awkwardly maybe, but it had to connect somewhere, despite twists and turns of underground cable. An all-too-imperfect thing. Sometimes the lines get crossed. Or you get a wrong number. But that’s nobody’s fault. It’ll always be like that, so long as we exist in this physical form. As a matter of principle.

KAFKA ON THE SHORE

Anyone who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves. So anyone who’s in love gets sad when they think of their lover. It’s like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven’t seen in a long time. It’s only a natural feeling.

****

Everyone of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That’s part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads—at least that’s where I imagine it—there’s a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in a while, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you’ll live forever in your own little private library.

****

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.

****

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others. And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.

****

Every single day, each time I see her face, see her, it’s utterly precious.

****

Symbolism and meaning are two separate things. I think she found the right words by bypassing procedures like meaning and logic. She captured words in a dream, like delicately catching hold of a butterfly’s wings as it flutters around. Artists are those who can evade the verbose.

****

Closing your eyes isn’t going to change anything. Nothing’s going to disappear just because you can’t see what’s going on. In fact, things will be even worse the next time you open your eyes. Only a coward closes his eyes. Closing your eyes and plugging up your ears won’t make time stand still

****

Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

An you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.

****

I guess lazy’s my middle name, and when things get sticky I tend to head for the door. Not to brag or anything, but I’m pretty quick on my feet. I’ve never followed anything to the bitter end. Which is sort of a problem, I suppose.

****

Narrow minds devoid of imagination. Intolerance, theories cut off from reality, empty terminology, usurped ideals, inflexible systems. Those are things that really frighten me. What I absolutely fear and loathe. Of course it’s important to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Individual errors in judgement can usually be corrected . As long as you have the courage to admit mistakes, things can be turned around. But intolerant, narrow minds with no imagination are like parasites that transform the host, change form and continue to thrive.

****

Things outside you are projections of what’s inside you, and what’s inside you is a projection of what’s outside. So when you step into the labyrinth outside you, at the same time you’re stepping into the labyrinth inside.

****

There are a lot of things that aren’t your fault. Or mine, either. Not the fault of prophecies, or curses, or DNA, or absurdity. Not the fault of Structuralism or the Third Industrial Revolution. We all die and disappear, but that’s because the mechanism of the world itself is built on destruction and loss. Our lives are just shadows of that guiding principle. Say the wind blows. It can be a strong, violent wind or a gentle breeze. But eventually every kind of wind dies out and disappears. Wind doesn’t have form. It’s just a movement of air. You should listen carefully, and then you’ll understand the metaphor.

****

Perhaps most people in the world aren’t trying to be free, Kafka. They just think they are. It’s all an illusion. If they really were set free, most people would be in a real bind. You’d better remember that. People actually prefer not being free.

****

I’m not beyond good and evil, exactly— they just don’t matter to me. I have no idea what’s good or what’s evil. I’m a very pragmatic being. A neutral object, as it were, and all I care about is consummating the function I’ve been given to perform.

****

The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory.

****

Silence, I discover, is something you can actually hear.

****

A certain type of perfection can only be realized through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect

NORWEGIAN WOOD

So please try not to hate me. I am a flawed human being - a far more flawed human being than you realize. Which is precisely why I do not want you to hate me. Because if you were to do that, I would really go to pieces. I can’t do what you do: I can’t slip inside my shell and wait for things to pass.

****

But who can say what’s best? That’s why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get no more than two or three such chances in a life time, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives.

****

I didn’t have much to say to anybody but kept to myself and my books. With my eyes closed, I would touch a familiar book and draw its fragrance deep inside me. This was enough to make me happy.

SOUTH OF THE BORDER, WEST OF THE SUN

I think you still love me, but we can’t escape the fact that I’m not enough for you. I knew this was going to happen. So I’m not blaming you for falling in love with another woman. I’m not angry, either. I should be, but I’m not. I just feel pain. A lot of pain. I thought I could imagine how much this would hurt, but I was wrong.

****

But I didn’t understand then. That I could hurt somebody so badly she would never recover. That a person can, just by living, damage another human being beyond repair.

****

I started to go to the library, devouring every book I could lay my hands on. Once I began one, I couldn’t put it down. Reading was an addiction, I read while I ate, on the train, in bed till late at night, in school, where I’d keep the book hidden so I could read during class.

SPUTNIK SWEETHEART

Why do people have to be this lonely? What’s the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?

****

That we were wonderful travelling companions but in the end no more than lonely lumps of metal in their own separate orbits. From far off they look like beautiful shooting stars, but in reality they’re nothing more than prisons, where each of us is locked up alone, going nowhere. When the orbits of these two satellites of ours happened to cross paths, we could be together. Maybe even open our hearts to each other. But that was only for the briefest moment. In the next instant, we’d be in absolute solitude. Until we burned up and became nothing.

****

A deep silence ensued. Her mind was as clear as the winter night sky, the Big Dipper and North Star in place, twinkling brightly. She had so many things she has to write, so many stories to tell. If she could only find the right outlet, heated thoughts and ideas would gush out like lava, congealing into a steady stream of inventive works, the likes of which the world had never seen. People’s eyes would pop wide open at the sudden debut of this Promising Young Writer with a Rare Talent. A photo of her, smiling cooly, would appear in the arts section of the newspaper, and editors would beat a path to her door.

****

Don’t pointless things have a place, too, in this far-from-perfect world?

****

Given the chance, people are surprisingly frank when they talk about themselves. “I’m honest and open to a ridiculous degree,” they’ll say, or “I’m thin-skinned and not the type who gets along easily in the world.” Or “I am very good at sensing others’ true feelings.” But any number of times I’ve seen people who say they’re easily hurt hurt other people for no apparent reason. Self-styled honest and open people, without realizing what they’re doing, blithely use some self-serving excuse to get what they want. And those “good at sensing others’ true feelings” are duped by the most transparent flattery. It’s enough to make me ask the question: How well do we really know ourselves?

****

So that’s how we live our lives. No matter how deep and fatal the loss, no matter how important the thing that’s stolen from us—that’s snatched right out of our hands—even if we are left completely changed, with only the outer layer of skin from before, we continue to play out our lives this way, in silence. We draw ever nearer to the end of our allotted span of time, bidding it farewell as it trails off behind. Repeating, often adroitly, the endless deeds of the everyday. Leaving behind a feeling of immeasurable emptiness.

THE WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLE

Certain kinds of information are like smoke: they work their way into people’s eyes and minds whether sought out or not, and with no regard to personal preference.

****

It’s like when you put instant rice pudding mix in a bowl in the microwave and push the button, and you take the cover off when it rings, and there you’ve got rice pudding. I mean, what happens in between the time when you push the switch and when the microwave rings? You can’t tell what’s going on under the cover. Maybe the instant rice pudding first turns into macaroni gratin in the darkness when nobody’s looking and only then turns back into rice pudding. We think it’s only natural to get rice pudding after we put rice pudding mix in the microwave and the bell rings, but to me, that is just a presumption. I would be kind of relieved if, every once in a while, after you put rice pudding mix in the microwave and it rang and you opened the top, you got macaroni gratin. I suppose I’d be shocked, of course, but I don’t know, I think I’d be kind of relieved too. Or at least I think I wouldn’t be so upset, because that would feel, in some ways, a whole lot more real.

****

Every now and then I would feel a violent stab of loneliness. The very water I drink, the very air I breathe, would feel like long, sharp needles. The pages of a book in my hands would take on the threatening metallic gleam of razor blades. I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o’clock in the morning.

****

It was not one of those strong, impulsive feelings that can hit two people like an electric shock when they first meet, but something quieter and gentler, like two tiny lights travelling in tandem through a vast darkness and drawing imperceptibly closer to each other as they go.

****

Here’s what I think, Mr. Wind-Up Bird,” said May Kasahara. “Everybody’s born with some different thing at the core of their existence. And that thing, whatever it is, becomes like a heat source that runs each person from the inside. I have one too, of course. Like everybody else. But sometimes it gets out of hand. It swells or shrinks inside me, and it shakes me up. What I’d really like to do is find a way to communicate that feeling to another person. But I can’t seem to do it. They just don’t get it. Of course, the problem could be that I’m not explaining it very well, but I think it’s because they’re not listening very well. They pretend to be listening, but they’re not, really. So I get worked up sometimes, and I do some crazy things.

****

Kumiko and I felt something for each other from the beginning. It was not one of those strong, impulsive feelings that can hit two people like an electric shock when they first meet, but something quieter and gentler, like two tiny lights travelling in tandem through a vast darkness and drawing imperceptibly closer to each other as they go. As our meetings grew more frequent, I felt not so much that I had met someone new as that I had chanced upon a dear old friend.

****

It was a small hand, neither hot nor cold. It had neither the intimate touch of a lover’s hand nor the functional touch of a doctor’s. It had the same effect on me as her eyes had, turning me into a vacant house.

WHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you start to think, I can’t take it anymore. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand any more is up to the runner himself.


(This is not all. If I could just put his whole books here, I would. I would never get over the genius that is Haruki Murakami.)

No comments: