Music into Writing
July 10, 2007
Haruki Murakami is a novelist with a series of well-written imaginative and surreal books including two favorites of mine, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel and Kafka on the Shore. His newest book is After Dark.
In an essay published in the New York Times Book Review on July 8, 2007, Murakami describes the role that music played- and plays- in his writing. From the essay:
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.
This short (half page) essay is worth reading and so are his books. What do you think?