Today at work I was writing a submission which I’d been avoiding doing for a couple of weeks. The subject matter is reasonably dry – the remaking of a Heritage Regulation, because the previous one is about to expire.
Before I picked up my bag of washing from the laundromat this afternoon I went into Gleebooks to pick out a present for the 30th birthday party I’m now going to tonight. Four steps in the door I saw a hardback of Haruki Murakami’s new work, 1Q84. Murakami’s one of my favourite authors (eternal thanks to my sister for introducing me to his books) and he writes beautiful passages, like the following from Dance, Dance, Dance:
At times like this, the telephone becomes a timebomb. No one knows when it’s going to go off. But it’s ticking away with possibility.
I read an interview with Murakami a couple of weeks ago and had filed IQ84 on my list of books to buy.
I don’t actually know if the birthday girl –Lauren – likes reading or not, but I bought the book anyway, walking wide-eyed into that chestnut of buying someone a present that I actually wanted myself.
I also bought something for myself, a copy of The Great Gatsby, another book which had also gone on my list recently.
Another session at the Sydney Writers’ Festival that I really got a lot out of was called The Message. The brief was ‘Is it possible that wars can be fought, even won, via non-violent mediums like film and blogs?’ and the three panelists were all fascinating.
I’ve been out at the Sydney Writers’ Festival for the past couple of days. Among the long queues, the various shades of black, and the obligatory person in each session who ‘asks a question’ by making a long personal statement, I’ve been to some very interesting and inspiring sessions. One of the best so far was called The Brain that Changes Itself: Judge For Yourself, where an American research psychoanalyst named Norman Doidge talked about a book that he’s written about neuroplasticity. What an awesome word. Say it five times fast.