Finally! Something new about Haruki Murakami I can feast my brains on!
He was in Berkley to receive the inaugural Berkley Japan Prize (wtf? I have a feeling they created this one specially for him...) and was kind enough to have a reading and a conversation with the many fans who attended. (The session sold out fast.)
Ben Dooley of The Millions was there and reported back a lot of interesting stuff I still didn't know about the writer, such as Murakami's likening of writing to playing video games: "Writing a story for me is just like playing a video game. I start with a word or idea, then I stick out my hand to catch what's coming next. I'm a player, and at the same time, I'm a programmer. It's kind of like playing chess by yourself. When you're the white player, you don't think about the black player. It's possible, but it's hard. It's kind of schizophrenic."
He also says he doesn't dream the conventional way: "I don't dream. I use my dreams when I write. I dream when I'm awake. That's the job of a novelist. You can dream a dream intentionally. When you're sleeping and you have a nice dream, you're eating or with a woman, you might wake up at the best part. I get to keep dreaming. It's great."
He also drops a small hint of his next novel which might take a long while to reach English readers due to its overwhelming size: "I hope you're not a commuter... The new novel is in the third person, from beginning to end. I need that room, because the story is getting more complicated. I need many perspectives."
Lots more good Murakami trivia when you click the link, like finding out that South of the Border, West of the Sun was born out of a rejected part of the Wind-up Bird Chronicles. Neat.