Big Story, Little Pieces

It’s as if the world has to stop until I get this done. Months, and maybe years have passed with that noise in the background, just like a mouse scratching away at some woodwork trying to make an inroad to a new home. Consistent and incessant. I hear that noise every minute that I allow myself to let go of a device shooting darts of useless information. There is a story. I don’t know half of it. But the people who do, don’t have much time. They are old. Time is running out. Talk to them, get the stories out, and put it all together! But I don’t know where to start or how. I am not a writer and I have bitter memories of forced essay writing in school. Oh..what to do..what to do. No, it will not do to sound like the white rabbit (always late) in Wonderland.

I am taking some advice. As I look around for good books to read before I start writing, I come across  José Saramago’s The Notebook. Oh God, in it he records the last year of his life. I don’t want this to be my last year. I have a great many plans to live another 40 years at least! But reading The Notebook is transformative. It takes real-life stories in bite-sized pieces and weaves them into a picnic basket of memories at the end. Thoroughly epicurean in tasteful variety. Am I already setting myself up for failure?

But Haruki Murakami’s book gives me hope. It tells me that not-so-smart people can learn to write. Not just write, but make it palatable. I don’t mean to say that Murakami is not so smart, but he explains that people like me can also write. Novelist as a Vocation is a collection of essays that merges career advice and autobiography. Hmm..I can do that. David S. Wills for the Quillete writes of Murakami,

“…we know that Murakami finds writing therapeutic—a means of dealing with psychological, societal, and intergenerational trauma. To begin with, he wrote to heal himself, and later he wrote to heal others, particularly his fellow Japanese…”


Yes, I can do that.

And with that, I think I can safely inaugurate my Big Story in Little Pieces.

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