And just as we settle into our solitude, another comes along and whispers “hi”…

This week’s blog is in honor of the 68th birthday of Laureate-in-waiting Haruki Murakami. That said, in true Haruki fashion, it might be about a whole lot else as well.

You see, since I first discovered Haruki… Well, let’s let another author say this next part:

I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.

― Orhan Pamuk, The New Life

Reading Haruki, though I knew it not at the time, changed everything for me.

His words and descriptions either awakened something within me or became the very metronome for every story I was still to tell.

His words brought me to Japan, which itself became a story I simply had to write.

That story, Enso, featuring a character (Maruko) whose very name is a tribute to Haruki’s family name, will get its day in a series of posts next week.

That’s for the better, for giving me my first novel is actually not close to Haruki’s greatest gift to me.

But falling in love is always a pretty crazy thing. It might appear out of the blue and just grab you. Who knows — maybe even tomorrow.

― Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

A storyteller of great depth, Haruki’s prose was also to be my cupid.

It was by way of the novel which was quoted above that I met a woman who would three years later become my wife.

“Haruki introduced me to my wife,” is how I tell it. And though I’ve never met the man, that story suits me just fine.

But it wasn’t just an opening line which Haruki gave me (though I’m grateful for that opening all the same). He gave me a way to evaluate my partner-to-be.

‘Haruki introduced me to my wife’ in part because anyone who loved his work in a way that I was yet to even grasp just had to be inquisitive, just had to know the power of wonder, just had to know that sadness was a spice – not just a warning of expiration.

It seems I placed a lot upon my wife with this set of expectations, but then that’s what a first impression is.

That she cleared each hurdle… That’s why I took the knee and cashed in whichever favors the heavens owed me just hoping that she’d say yes.

So, thank you Haruki. Thank you for Maruko, thank you for your honesty and thank you for your prose. Thank you especially for my Sputnik.

Happy Birthday old soul, now it’s back to protesting the idiotic Nobel committee.