An often told anecdote relating to the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami concerns his extraordinary conversion to the business of writing. He was, as he tells it, sitting in the crowd at a baseball game, when he was suddenly inspired to write a novel (find a version of the story here, if you haven’t already heard it).
So far as I am aware this amazing tale has not been collected, with countless others, in a neatly packaged book entitled How I Became a Writer: Strange Stories from the Margins (or The Road to Belles-Lettres: Famous Literary Conversions). Were it only so. I hold few doubts (and if you are holding any I suggest you drop them at once) that such a tome would ‘rock’ the literary charts this coming festive season. Other anecdotes would of course include Pyetr Turgidovsky’s account of how his love for literature emerged during his uncle’s funeral, or the story of Ik Nunn, who wrote the sentence of his very first short story in the lavatory whilst taking a break from a particularly bad date.
Personally, of course, I’m disinclined to lend credence to the notion of absolute turning points. The desire to throw words down onto paper approached me, I would say, in the form of an ‘akerue moment’. Suffice it to say, it was like being slowly suffocated by a large but silent blanket.