It’s no secret that I find “Wind Up Bird Chronicle” by Haruki Murakami to be one of the best books ever written. Not only does instill a sense of longing and distance from the world in ways no other author has managed, it takes you on a journey from reality into a gradual descent into madness and fantasy, blurring the lines the entire way.
What truly stands out to me with this book is what happens when I read it, or when I work on my novel that is loosely based on Wind Up Bird.
In the novel, the main protagonist is in knee-deep in a marriage this is slowly falling apart. To seek out answers, he plops his butt at the bottom of a dry well and asks the neighbor girl to close the lid and come back for him later. I know this sounds weird, but I promise, if you read the book, he does it for legitimate reasons.
But when I read it, weird things start to happen. Take today for instance. I’m rereading Wind Up Bird AND revisiting my loosely based manuscript and I get an email from a friend with a link to a blog page. Someone had taken a picture of me at a poetry slam, used it as the main image, and titled his piece: Digging in the Well!
This is just one incident you say?
Well, while writing my manuscript, there’s a character with a mental disability who goes by John Birmingham. The main character, Kidd, finds out that Birmingham is not his real name and the rest of the book is spent trying to find Birmingham’s real identity. While writing that scene where Kidd finds out that Birmingham isn’t really Birmingham’s name, I find out that the man who Birmingham is based on also has been going by the wrong name the entire time he’s been in supportive services!
There are dozens of other coincidences. And, being a Vonnegut admirer, I know that these are just that, coincidences. But I can’t help but think each of these are signs to a specific end. And, in the end, does it really matter if the signs are real or not? What matters is that these signs are real to me and that they are driving me forward in my writing career.