Did you know that Haruki Murakami has his own web site? Well -- let me qualify -- I doubt very much the man has anything to do with this site. It's a Random House production intended to attract interest in Murakami's books. But if you're a fan, it's fun to wander around in the site's arty fixtures. And best of all is the site's eerie, minimalist soundtrack. It subtly shifts hues and tones, from tinkly to moody to quietly insouciant, and seems to morph endlessly....it makes a great wallpaper while you're paying your bills. Or mulling over what you should have said to your boss. Or musing over Jason Grote's impenetrable calm.
Speaking of minimalism, if you've never read Murakami's writing, do yourself a favor and get ahold of some of it. The short story collection of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is great for when attention deficit strikes, but it's the longer piece -- Kafka on the Shore, or Hard-Boiled Wonderland, where HM really shines. Haven't read the latest opus yet, After Dark, but from the way reviewers have described it, it may feel the way his site's music sounds.
These days I'm admiring of several prose writers that I'd call minimalist: Amy Hempel, Tom Spanbauer,
Chuck Palahniuk. (Check out CP's entertaining advice about writing at the above link.) Their work has taught me to excise all but the essential in my own writing. (Oh NO, another lit manager who secretly scribbles in his office at night -- it's true, I confess it.) The dashing but fell Palahniuk has a terrifc article about this in his collections of essays, Stranger than Fiction. The photo below is Tom, not Chuck, by the way....