How to be a person/novelist
Murakami on how being obsessed with music helped him be a novelist (emphasis mine):
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.
These are just as important a set of guidelines for music and writing as they are for how to be a person.
- Have predictability or rhythm
- Find a melody or a narrative
- Create harmony to support the narrative
- Make it public/ship it
Finally reached the last stretch of 1Q84, so here’s more Murakami. I’ve never known a writer (or wannabe writer, as the case may be) who wasn’t some kind of music obsessive.