sputnik sweetheart – haruki murakami

“Being alone is like the feeling you get when you stand at the mouth of a large river on a rainy evening and watch the water flow into the sea. Have you ever done that? Stand at the mouth of a large river and watch the water flow into the sea?”

sputnik

loneliness and the perpetual search for the unity of one’s self. that’s what this book has made me chew on. all throughout its captivating, yet undeniably simple plot, a certain thirst for the harmony of the various bits of one’s self plays like soft background music. sputnik sweetheart has given me so much to think about in terms of the very multiply split personality i know i possess. the very multiply split personality i know we all possess. like sumire, the novel’s protagonist, i sometimes let my unrestrained writing get the best of me. i enjoy dreaming more than i can express; for behind my shut eyelids is a world of my creation. and in it i am not necessarily the person i wish to be, but rather all the people i wish to be. my imagination is forever running alongside free stallions in a great pasture that stretches for miles and miles on end, on a warm spring afternoon. i have come to realize that we all have fragments of ourselves clutching onto nearly faded memories. it’s only natural. resisting the mind’s desire to linger in such boxes of memory and sweet nostalgia is emotionally unhealthy, and can indeed lead to severe instability. for if we choose to cut off any and all contact to the compelling dream we call our (sometimes made-up) past, where does bliss fall in? where does warmth and belonging fall in? i learned in my IB psychology class that cognitive schemas can only function by depending on the individual’s association of emotion with memory. it’s how we develop and progress as beings that think and feel.

i write this brief book review as i sit on my dark, wooden desk. the gentle march breeze sends the shadows of the great tree that sits outside my bedroom window dancing all over the floor. leaves, sky, floor, shadow, bark. i see no distinction between any of these matters. and perhaps that’s what sputnik sweetheart has given me above all. the wisdom and emotional maturity to let things flow in the natural way which they appear. at eighteen, i am positive life will take on more forms to help convey this vital message to me. i’m not an inflexible person by nature, but there’s undoubtedly quite some time before i can find it in myself to “bathe in pallid moonlight” and not tell the difference between myself and my reflection. i suppose the reason we have skin is to try and compose ourselves to the outside world. what this skin holds together, in one solid piece, is the many sides of us that buzz about in our interior and take shifts occupying our mind. sometimes i want to climb the tree outside my window to the very tippy top in nothing but fuzzy socks, and upon reaching the top, split two figs with an owl i meet and menstruate on the tree’s bark. other times, i want to sink in the pacific ocean and find undiscovered fish, discuss politics with some of them, then make love to a sting ray in a cool cave. strange? without a doubt. but one would never believe such thoughts are racing through my mind as i sip my tea and study economics in the corner of that little café. my skin gives the illusion that, in the words of the great erich maria remarque, all’s quiet on the western front. and that’s why i find blood so fascinating. it’s a motif we all carry in the narrative of our lives. blood is proof that so much more is going on, internally, than we may exhibit. the human being is a work of sheer art. and in an effort to unveil more secrets about this wonderful art, one must commit to the exploration of his or her own self. never stop. keep questioning. keep talking. keep writing. expression is the most pure and valuable manifestation of internal curiosity.

“So what should we do to avoid a collision? Logically, it’s easy. The answer is dreams. Dreaming on and on. Entering the world of dreams, and never coming out. Living there for the rest of time.”

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