Earlier, I rummaged through my books, because I’m looking for something specific. I am looking for Kafka on the Shore. You have to understand that for readers, we have important relationships with our books, relationships that evolve and change as time goes by and we either re-read and build nuance, or we allow our memories to sweeten, yet dilute with distance. Every reader has a few seminal books that anchor them. These are the words that have formed who we are and who we’ve committed to never being. We need these books to inform us and teach us the lessons we knew when we were young, lessons we vowed to live out as we got older. I wish I were not in such need of a reminder today, but I find myself straying from those truths that I once saw so clearly. I don’t mean doctrines, I mean those blurry truths that we hold loosely in our hands like sand or ocean foam.
In the past week, I’ve delighted in the work of my hands. I’ve demolished, built, and rebuilt various items with these hands and the physical work in conjunction with tangible results are a welcome break from a job where I can nary see the fruit of my labor on this side of heaven. I’ve worked on the framework of the home that will surround and raise my coming child, and I’ve found great satisfaction in one of the few ways I can prepare for fatherhood while my wife contributes more to the baby in her nap than I could in all my waking hours. Yet, I’m back at my desk and reminded of the responsibility to leave behind a legacy of words and beautiful ideas; the very things that shaped me more than the walls of my small bedroom in Flushing ever could.
So, I’m diving back into Murakami’s world of falling fish and heavy stones. Maybe I will find something there that reminds me of who I’m supposed to be. Maybe I will find something there worth bringing back home.