"Whether in music or in fiction, the most basic thing is rhythm. Your style needs to have good, natural, steady rhythm, or people won’t keep reading your work. I learned the importance of rhythm from music — and mainly from jazz. Next comes melody — which, in literature, means the appropriate arrangement of the words to match the rhythm. If the way the words fit the rhythm is smooth and beautiful, you can’t ask for anything more. Next is harmony — the internal mental sounds that support the words. Then comes the part I like best: free improvisation. Through some special channel, the story comes welling out freely from inside. All I have to do is get into the flow. Finally comes what may be the most important thing: that high you experience upon completing a work — upon ending your ‘performance’ and feeling you have succeeded in reaching a place that is new and meaningful. And if all goes well, you get to share that sense of elevation with your readers (your audience). That is a marvelous culmination that can be achieved in no other way."
Also: check out this excerpt from Murakami’s new novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, coming out—barring any storms of fish, worm-triggered earthquakes, or our collective tumble into an alternate world almost-but-not-quite-like our own—any minute now (August 12, to be exact).
Life goes on, but individual poems
stop. The most you can hope for is the line
that doesn’t end with a period. You
are suspended in the middle of a
sentence, possibly look up, then resume
reading as if the music never stopped,
as if everyone didn’t have to dive
for the chairs, of which there were always one
too few. This was before birthdays returned
with such increasing rapidity that
you lost count, the world hurtling around the
small yellow star, the entire universe
flashing past your bewildered eyes until,
like a premeditated sonnet, all is still.
Some of the books that I consider my favorite are ones that rock me to my core, that leave me feeling like someone squeezed my heart really tightly for those 300 to 400 pages. But the idea of going through that experience for a second time? No, thank you.
Not only do I not want to experience that kind of emotional roller coaster for a second time (let’s ignore the fact that I continue to go through it, just with different books), but what if it is worse a second time around? Now that I know what is coming, will the ride only be worse because I am just waiting for events to occur? Will I even have the strength to continue through the book a second time around? Part of me thinks it is like knowing that an oven is hot and choosing to touch it anyway.”
Praise for a Color
Yellow infers from itself papayas and their pulp,
At noon: bees, sweet stinger and honey.
Whole eggs and their nucleus, the ovum.
This interior thing, miniscule.
From the blackness of the blind viscera,
hot and yellow, the miniscule speck,
the luminous grain.
Yellow spreads and smooths, a downpour
of the pure light of its name,
Yellow turns on, turns up the heat,
a charmed flute,
an oboe in Bach.