The day Haruki Murakami realized he could write a novel was April 1, 1978. He was at the season opener of Yakult Swallows baseball team, and after an American player made a double, Murakami thought, “You know what? I could try writing a novel.” I can remember the day I decided to write a book too. It was November 3, 2007. I went to the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey with some friends for an afternoon of goofiness and fun with static electricity.
About two months before, I had switched jobs from a reporter at a trade magazine to a blogger at a mid-level website. I was still excited about the transition, but I was working ten hours a day to make hyperlinks. And a month before, my mother sent me a postcard with the Pablo Picasso quote, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” I had been pretend interested in writing a book all my life, but I never really did anything about it.
During a 3-D movie about sun spots at the Liberty Science Center, I realized I didn’t have any real ambition for blogging. What I really wanted to do was write, and it wasn’t going to happen until I started working. In that way, it became my 2008 New Year’s resolution to write a book.
I started working on it on weekends, and in April, 2008, I ended up losing my blogging job. But this was a stroke of luck because it meant I could work on the book full-time.
More than two years later, I wonder why I hadn’t started smaller, like with short stories or serious essays on Murakami’s use of cats. But I set out to write a book, and now I mostly have a book. The whole thing is written, but it needs to be rewritten with a more defined narrative voice.
But I’m not going to work on that for the next few weeks. For the next few weeks, inspiration will find me at Target, where I’ll be doing errands and taking a break.