Murakami on writing novels

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"…in China today there are lots of wonderful gates still standing. Do you know how the Chinese built these gates? People would take carts out to old battlefields and gather the bleached bones that were buried there or lay scattered about. China’s a pretty ancient country– lots of old battlegrounds– so they never had to search far. At the entrance to the city they’d construct a huge gate and seal the bones up inside. They hoped that by commemorating the dead soldiers in this way they would continue to guard their town. There’s more. When the gate was finished they’d bring several dogs over to it, slit their throats, and sprinkle their blood on the gate. Only by mixing fresh blood with the dried-out bones would the ancient souls of the dead magically revive. At least that was the idea.

    "Writing novels is much the same. You gather up bones and make your gate, but no matter how wonderful the gate might be, that alone doesn’t make it a living, breathing novel. A story is not something of this world. A real story requires a kind of magical baptism to link the world on this side with the world on the *other* side."

Haruki Murakami, from SPUTNIK SWEETHEART

[Thanks to JC in Vienna]

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