Effects of Natsuo Kirino’s Goddess Chronicle

How do you go about your day after you write a story such as The Goddess Chronicle? What did Natsuo Kirino do after she wrote the last full stop of the novel? How do you go about your life while you are working on such a literary gem? What thoughts lull a writer to sleep the whole while of rethinking mythological beginnings?

How do you go about your day when you finish reading such a story? I for one made myself a strong cup of coffee and mixed it with a large quantity of chocolate syrup. I suppose I simply needed a shot of sweetness after the non-comforting meditation on human destinies. Did Natsuo Kirino also have to vacuum clean the house after her manuscript was over, just like I did today after the book reading was done? What kind of dwelling did she use while searching for the right words to describe the islands, the gods, the intensity of despair, the depth of the darkness? What dreams did she dream the whole time she was creating the spinning yin-yang life cycle of the characters in the book?

Did she loom about the sea, the coral, the shores, among the crouching sunburnt women gathering weeds and snakes while shaping her stories? Did the stories form in her mind like small, individual tornadoes, joining one after the other as in a ravaging-tempest-film?

How do I go about choosing the next book to read after just finishing such a strongly lingering one? Do I wait for an omen? Do I chant a prayer? Do I write a Thank-you note to the author for delivering such a wonderful narrative? Do I wait 29 days before doing anything else?

NK GCh

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To wonder..

You can divorce a husband or a wife. Can you divorce a sister or a brother? Can you erase them from your /present/ history?

“I have a sister I haven’t spoken to in almost 10 years.” I hear this and I tilt my head in amazement. The sister is hanging by the invisible blood thread, as a post scriptum to a story that developed on its own. It is forever there, the relative, the connection, the impossibility to deny an existence. A former partner, though, can easily be left among unknown shadows, shaking memories of long-ago.. What do we do with the family relations that we want to cut loose? We don’t mention them, but that doesn’t mean they simply go away, dissolve into non-words .. How do we elude genealogy?!

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To see and to be seen

Out of my solitude came my social disposition.

Out of my darkness arose the laughter of the others.

Out of my despair were beautiful poems formed.

Out of my story they picked the details to make a picture.

The picture followed me like an undesired shadow.

The farther I pushed it back, the more rigid it became.

I made so much light around me that no shadows could be shaped.

I now live inside a sun, black and hollow in its core.

Just the average bear..

People don’t like to read about the average. Because readers usually have average lives themselves. So when they do read, they need spectacular and uncommon, to escape their own mid-level living. That is why there are billions of blogs and yet so few that are famous, constantly sought and read through. Nobody likes reading about the next-door guy or lady, simply because it is too close to their own reality.

We relate to the stories and articles that talk about the familiar, the usual, the general problems or the daily adventures of the modern life. But we like, love and dream about the stories that have nothing in common with our own personal (hi)story. I believe that is why, when asked, a blogger (the average blogger) shall say that they mainly write for themselves (as a means of…. ~ the explanation continues with a couple of arguments and details), not for an audience. They are too lazy to scribble in a paper-back diary, so they use the all-encompassing Internet archives and resources. Or something like that.

I shall be frank and confess: I manage this page because I occasionally feel that among the gravel of the human hourglass I come across small diamonds, emeralds and sunshine chips that I need to talk about so that others may hear of the miracles that taking each day as it comes entails.

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Stop and check

I consider myself a good listener. I believe that people can find it easy to talk to me and that I have the patience to listen to their troubles, stories or life experiences. It is not only my family members and friends who have shared secrets and personal history with me. There have been cashiers in train stations and ticket clerks, people I’ve met on trips or sat next to at wedding tables and they all managed to squeeze in some details about their life and spirit that made me feel as if I was allowed to hear the whispers one dares tell only the wind gods. I have also felt responsible for always giving a reply according to the story received. People usually need to be comforted or approved or simply held by the hand when they sob over their own past. However, I have always felt compelled to say somethig in return. I always found myself proposing solutions, advising or making a comment made to soothe. I wrote letters in answer to complaints or experiences heard over the phone. I said congratulations when I believed that is what people deserved and I joined them in cursing and swearing when that was required to release tension and clear the air.

I have always felt proud that people showed confidence in me, that I was trusted with dark, dangerous, silly or sad secrets. i felt as if I was an angel-chosen guardian of secret lives.

Until today I thought this was part of an unmentionable selfishness that allowed me to feel important and special. I thought I was doing myself a fevour by accepting and encouraging people to keep telling their stories. I was afraid that sometimes I was just absorbing perspectives and potential personas. I had begun to feel hammered down by beliefs that I was adding alternate lives to my own, trying to enrich the one-life option given by divinity.

Today, however, I sensed that it is all due to a pleasure of feeling useful, necessary, of enjoying a special status. I realised that seeing a smile after a sad story is what makes my day. I simply like helping others, I only like the fact that by offering time from my own life I can improve and brighten the life of another. It’s wonderful satisfaction the one I find when I am thanked and told that I matter.

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Book tips (1)

I finished reading a book today, a novel written by a contemporary Japanese writer, Hiromi Kawakami. She has recently joined the list of my favourite writers and she managed this performance after my reading only one of her printed works, Manazuru.

The one that has kept me up last night, all emotional, hopeful and connected to the spirit of the story is entitled Strange Weather in Tokyo. I became interested in the story after the very couple of pages and the manner of her writing is just as lovely, captivating and lyrical as ever. H. Kawakami manages to bring together the features and style of an era which seems to have become extinct but which captivates us all and the modern world, with its noisy, lonely beings. 

The main character, Tsukiko, is precisely what could be any one of us – a girl who is actually not properly integrated in the society where she moves around, she is hardly a lady, lacking etiquette femininity, but being as girly as humanly possible deep down. She seems to me the epitome of the women who now have careers, run about to make ends meet, but actually feel relaxed in sneakers and fancy not the extravagant, flashy guys that cross their paths, but the more calm, well-mannered and reserved ones. She has no trouble accepting her own limits and she is frank about herself. She is the average woman in her thirties, not married and failing to behave as expected when outside of her comfort area.

The story is partly intriguing, as certain questions shall remain unanswered, but it is sweet in essence and … who can dislike a well-written love story?!

The fact that I appreciate most about the novel is the fact that there are no useless details. Whatever is irrelevant to the story and characters themselves is simply not included. No years mentioned, no political regime, no street names.. It is easy to follow for people who are not familiar with the Japanese customs and peculiarities and it does not profess lectures on life, although it often holds a meditative, sentimental tone. It is perfect in every way and.. I recommend it to everyone who wants to place remarkable distance between themselves and Hollywood / European scenarios. 

Here are a few quotes that I cannot refrain from sharing with my readers:

…time had been evenly distributed for Kojime, and both his body and mind had developed proportionately.

I, on the other hand, still might not be considered a proper adult. I had been very grown-up when I was in primary school. But as I continued through secondary school, I in fact became less grown-up. And then as the years passed, I turned into quite a childlike person. I suppose I just wasn’t able to ally myself with time.

*

…on the phone, silence yawned like a void.

*

As if there were an invisible wall between us. It might seem flexible and blurred, but when compressed it could withstand anything, nothing could get through. A wall made of air.

*

That was quite a discovery for me, the fact that arbitrary kindness makes me uncomfortable, but that being treated fairly feels good.

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Those nights, I open Sensei’s briefcase and peer inside. The blank empty space unfolds, containing nothing. It holds nothing more than an expanse of desolate absence.

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