Monday, February 23, 2009

Writers block and Murakami

There are days when I feel like writing but do not know what to write. At such times I remember Haruki Murakami’s ‘What I talk about when I talk about Running’. He has been an inspiration for my writing, specially helping me during those famous “Writers’ blocks”. Whenever I feel that may be I am not ‘gifted’, his voice fills me up, “the problem with talent is that in most cases the person involved cannot control its amount or quality. You might find that the amount isn’t enough and you want to increase it, or you might try to be frugal to make it last longer, but in neither case do things work out that easily. Talent has a mind of its own and wells up when it wants to, and once it dries up, that’s it”. Coming from a master, this is quite a solace! He quotes the great mystery writer Raymond Chandler who once confessed that “even if he did not write anything, he made sure he sat down at his desk every single day and concentrated… this is the way Chandler gave himself the physical stamina a professional writer needs, quietly strengthening his will power” . This always propels me to go ahead when I feel I can’t. While considering his careers as a marathon runner and a novelist, he has given a very interesting and technical comparison, “For me, writing a novel is like climbing a steep mountain, struggling up the face of the cliff, reaching the summit after a long and arduous ordeal. You overcome your limitations, or you don’t, one or the other. I always keep that inner image with me as I write”. And further… “I shorten the amount of time I run, the point being to let the exhilaration I feel at the end of each run carry over to the next day…When writing, I stop every day right at the point where I feel I can write more. Do that and the next day’s work goes surprisingly smoothly”. Addressing the monotony that sets in after writing a few pages, he has quoted Somerset Maugham, “In every shave lies a philosophy…No matter how mundane some actions might appear, keep at it long enough and it becomes contemplative, even meditative act”. And finally the words of encouragement, “there are people in the world (Only a handful, for sure) blessed with enormous talent that from beginning to end, doesn’t fade… But the giants are, in the end, giants-exceptional legendry figures. The remaining majority of writers, who cannot reach such heights, have to supplement what’s missing from their store of talent through whatever means they can-Focus and Endurance”…. Murakami puts himself in the second category!! Cheer up friends, we have chances!!

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