Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Filler

I guess it's my job to do Friday Filler since Scott managed to do a Thursday Filler post yesterday. Nice job, Scott. Are you signing up for a Twitter account yet?

Happy Friday, everyone!

I'm still in my Haruki Murakami phase and am rereading a short book by him called After Dark, which is really fantastic. I remember really liking it the first time I read it a couple of years ago, and this time around I realize how much of it I forgot. It's about this girl who is asleep while someone watches her, and it's about the girl's sister who is walking around the city in the middle of the night. Good stuff. I recently read The Scarlet Letter, and I think I wanted to go back to After Dark again to get back to something quirky.

As for my writing, I've been slowly, slowly, slogging through the final scenes of Cyberlama, which is really only making progress because Mr. Bailey keeps asking me about it. Thanks, Mr. Bailey! I'm reaching the end of my first draft and don't quite know how to end it. I almost think how I end it doesn't matter because it's likely to be headed in the wrong direction anyway. The best use of my time would be to read through the whole book and reorient myself, but I haven't been in the mood to do that yet. I've also been wanting to write more short stories. I've got two ideas for stories that I'm very interested in, and both have to do with mental illness. (I've been reading up on mental illness for my day job.) I think both stories have the potential to be substantial and deep, so really I want to write them.

What are you reading and writing? What are you filling your Friday with? I had the most delicious cream puff from Beard Papa yesterday. And I finally found a good grocery store nearby my new place. The picture is the view from the roof of my building, by the way.


  1. I'm reading Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I'm a little over 100 pages in and I can't say it's enchanting me. I like the surreal elements and the general level of weirdness, but I'm not enjoying the actual writing much. It's repetitive. But I like the matter of factness of the narrator.

    I'm also reading Lydia Davis' collected stories, and a bunch of nonfiction research material about the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Keep going on Cyberlama! On September 1st I will set aside the new novel-in-progress and start to revise the philosophical detective story!

    In 16 minutes I have a meeting and then after than I have reports to look over and then lunch! Yay, lunch! During lunch I will write about rural farms, hospitals, UN troops and nuns!

    What are we looking at in the view from your building?

  2. Scott, the prose in Murakami's work seems sort of plain to me, and I never know if it's him or the translation. Wind-Up Bird is a weird book and it's long. I'll be curious to see if you make it through and whether or not you like it.

    The view in the photo is looking out a bush, a truck parking lot, and then downtown LA. If the camera panned a little to the right you'd see Dodger stadium and on Friday night home games there are fireworks, which can be fun.

  3. I just finished Goon Squad--thumbs up--and started on Rules of Civility. Thought the preface read a bit pretentious but the body itself is fine.

    Today is going to be full day. Critique group chat, daughter's show at the end of her musical theater camp (she's found her community), back-to- school thing to meet the teachers and drop off supplies, then 4 back-to-back TKD class, the last one being the adult sparring class that always kicks my butt. Then dinner. Don't know what yet. Cream puffs from papa beard sounds good.

  4. Yat-Yee, no making a complete meal out of cream puffs, okay? It's good to know that you liked Goon Squad. I've been curious about it, but haven't made time to read it yet.

    Is your critique group chat online? I have my writer's group meeting Sunday.

  5. It's a good thing we don't get good cream puffs here or I'm in trouble. I have such a weakness for pastry. I think I'll make a pot of beans and ham hock. That way it can stew while we're in class.

    Yes, my critique chat is online. I used to have a local group but over the years it morphed into something quite different. This online group is a great fit for me. Love my group.

    I am trying to form some thoughts about Goon Squad and will maybe post a review at some point. can't pinpoint what I feel right now, except that I recommend it. Do let me know if you decide to read it. I know Scott mentioned that he wants to read it too.

  6. I've been in a Haruki Murakami phase too - must be something in the air. I just finished Kafka On The Shore - loved it! (Short review here).

    The prose in that novel - compared with what the commenters above are saying about Wind-Up Bird - seemed really smooth and fluid to me. That does make me wonder about the role of the translator in Murakami's work. And how it'll be when his magnum opus is released this fall.

  7. I'm reading Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone, which I find fascinating and beautiful and breathtaking, and more than a little gross in parts, medical procedure depiction-wise.

    Your view is very cool, Davin. Good Friday Filler stuff.

    Have a great weekend!

  8. Greg, I'll go check out your link. Thanks! Yeah, I recently read his memoir, and the prose their felt smother too. It was very conversational. I just learned about his opus last week, and I'm excited to read it.

  9. j a zobair, you have a great weekend too! I'll try to check out Cutting for Stone. I think I will read Mudbound first, though. You seemed really passionate about that.

  10. Here's an interesting and brief comment from Murakami's website about translating his books:

  11. Hmmm...those two translations are very different. I like the first one more myself, but I have no idea which one is closer to the real thing. The second passage gives me a completely different feel for the narrator I had already created in my mind.

  12. I've been thinking a lot about short stories these days and have started writing one about an incident that happened on vacation. Of course it has to do with love, but my creativity has taken a dark turn and I think the love will be lost in this one. Time to stretch my wings.

    Love the view, and fireworks are always fun if you're very far away from them.

    Please don't mention cream puffs. They are a weakness of mine.

  13. I just finished What I Talk About When I Talk About Running this week, thank you for the suggestion. As a runner, a writer, and a reader I enjoyed it on every level, and I'm eager to read one of his novels.

    This book is one I likely would not have found were it not for The Lab. Makes me glad I'm a follower of this blog!

  14. Anne, that's really cool for me that you are working on more short stories and experimenting with different endings! I think stretching our wings is a good thing, even if I can't explain why logically. :P

    Rick, thanks a lot for letting me know. I'm really glad a book recommendation works. That so rarely happens!


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