Absolute Turning Points

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.


2 thoughts on “Absolute Turning Points

  1. Few believe me but I was actually sat next to Murakami during that very baseball game. Suddenly he turned to me, and said, “Do you know, I think I’ll become a writer.” I was taken aback by his remark, but when I had calmed down I told him to “go for it”, which he subsequently did.
    You couldn’t make it up.

  2. That is strange indeed. I know a young writer who met said Murakami at a literary event once and, upon managing to get the apparent recluse to sign his book, babbled something almost incoherent about wanting to be a writer himself. Any sensible novelist would have noted the competition and told him to ‘sit astride his bicycle and pedal forthwith’. Murakami, however, said ‘go for it’: clearly passing on the wisdom presented to him by none other than yourself.
    I shall inform this young man to do his bit in the ‘go for it’ relay, and pass the baton on to some other inspiring mind (or maybe I will sit on the information, seeing as I have no real idea where that young scoundrel is these days)

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