Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"What's nurtured slowly grows well."

The novels - or fragments of novels really- Sumire wrote weren't as terrible as she thought. True, at times her style resembled a patchwork quilt sewn by a group of stubborn old ladies, each with her own tastes and complaints, working in grim silence. Add to this her somewhat manic-depressive personality, and things got occasionally out of control. As if this weren't enough, Sumire was dead-set on creating a  massive nineteenth-century-style Total Novel, a kind of portmanteau packed with every possible phenomenon in order to capture the soul and human destiny.

Having said that, Sumire's writing had a remarkable freshness about it, her attempt to honestly portray what was important to her. On the plus side she didn't try to imitate anyone else's style, and she didn't attempt to  distil everything into some precious, clever little pieces. That's what I most liked about her writing. I wouldn't have been right to pare down the direct power in her writing just so it could take on some pleasant, cosy form. There was no need to rush things. She still had plenty of time for detours. As the saying goes, "What's nurtured slowly grows well."

Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart (1999)

(I knew I'd sneak a man into the attic one day, when this was meant to be a women's writing space ...oh well, I make the rules, I break em. Just as long as he's out by 10 pm.)

I recently read this book for the second time. The narrator, K, is in love with Sumire, an unkempt aspiring writer who gets around in an old coat and boots, who isn't interested in love at all until she meets Miu, a glamorous woman 17 years her senior ... the book, being Murakami is full of domestic detail, philosophy, metaphysics and strange happenings.

I liked this quotation as it says so much about writing. And who would know if not Murakami?

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