I look around for something to write about. Nothing has happened today. I have shaved, had breakfast, and read. On my desk there are things, general things. The walls are white with a few pictures. All the stuff around me I have chosen to keep around me, but right now none of it inspires a few words. The kettle has boiled. The book I am reading is calling me back.
The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. It is astounding. Every single event that happens is an impenetrable mystery, one after the other compounding and piling, surreal occurrences disrupting a mundane Tokyo suburban life, oddball characters with intricate stories helping and hindering the slow reveal of what is actually happening. It is awe-inspiring.
As the characters in the book feel strange inexplicable pulls - to wells, to infidelity, to aimless wandering, to unexpected violence - I feel an almost tangible pull back to the next room, where the book waits for me on the sofa. Water is round in a round receptacle and square in a square one, but water itself has no shape. People, apparently, often forget this fact.
The more I read the clearer it becomes to me that I am still an extremely poor writer. Thankfully I have chosen, or being given, writing as a passion. Had I wanted to be an athlete or a dancer or a model, or whatever, I would already have long missed my chance, my only chance. Writers become writers when they become writers and not before. The only deadline is death. In most cases ... Stieg Larsson's was a journalist before his death, and the world's best selling novelist after. John Kennedy Toole committed suicide after being unable to get published, 11 years after his death he was first published, A Confederacy of Dunces, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize.
In Wind Up Bird Chronicle the main character is drawn to a well after an elderly ex-army man tells him about his near death experience in a dry Mongolian desert well. Both characters experience a taste of something holy, magical, transient in their respective wells. Both characters lives are aimless and drifting and empty afterwards. The main character has a chance to re-enter his well and attempt to reconnect with whatever it is that is happening down there. Where is my well?
I don't even want a well. Who, but a character in a magical realist story, would want to starve themselves in a well like a subterranean pre-enlightenment Siddhartha Gautama? I have no answer. To anything. What would it be like to live as a particle of dust? Again. No answer. It's almost as though it's not a real question.