Instructions

lie down on your belly in the grass

let it be uncomfortable, wish for what you wish

that grass isn’t going away until you rot it with your corpse, so–

breathe

deeper

deeper, come on, like you mean it

mash the grass

with love, with breath, with love

 

 

Karl Ove Knausgaard

wrote, “Writing is drawing the essence of what we know out of the shadows”.  The way this walks the line between mystery and clarity resonates with me.  While I like his work a lot, I have not read the book this quote is taken from; I found it in an essay by Rachel Cusk.  The timing was fun in that I’d just read his article about Anselm Kiefer and was excited to track down a copy of his book Summer, which includes watercolors by Kiefer.  Many years ago I watched a documentary about Kiefer– I was a little surprised the film had not been mentioned in the article– and reading the article made me want to rewatch the film.

a501bf1a0cf6e5143f386ee19317c314.jpgA similar situation arose a few days ago.  En route to/from Ikea, I listened to a New Yorker fiction podcast episode in which a novelist named Andrea Lee, whose work I don’t know, read aloud a Murakami short story from a 1992 issue of the magazine.  I chose that episode because I like Murakami.  I had recently read a new story by him in the magazine, and last year I’d seen the film Burning, which was based on Barn Burning, the story being read.   Listening to the story read aloud made me want to rewatch that film.  I hadn’t realized he stole the title, Barn Burning, from a Faulkner story; I am ignorant of Faulkner.  My little exposure to his work was eons ago and I didn’t care for it.  I have never been enamored by Southern literature, which is obviously all about my personal biases rather than a qualitative assessment of the genre.

In addition to wanting to rewatch the film, I felt drawn to check out what Murakami I have on my bookshelf, maybe revisit some of that.  I found The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, which I’d always meant to read but never have.  It’s not my book, it belongs to Chris, and when I showed him that I was reading it he said how much he’d enjoyed it and mentioned he’d gotten it in California when we were on a trip there together.  When we travel, we always seek out local bookstores.  I’ve always loved having books on my shelf that remind me of the place they were purchased.