The magnet that is Murakami

Friday i went to the stunning Cape Town central library for a literary program sponsored by the US State Department. It was held in what they call the Heart of the Library. They used to hold these events in a backroom, but somehow the staff convinced the powers-that-be to hold these type of events, taking place in the middle of the day, in the open space that is usually, like any library, a quiet zone. They told me they first did it last month for a jazz music event. (Music is always a good "ice breaker.")

This time they featured, what was billed as a poet, Dr. (of Public Health) Brenda Flanagan. She is not actually a poet...more a storyteller. She was alright, but i couldn't help but wondering just who they book for these events. I mean, would a Sonia Sanchez or Eugene B. Redmond be booked? (I guess she or he could, and maybe they have...)
It seems Dr. Flanagan is what they term a "guest of opportunity" or some such term. It means a talent tells the State Department they are going to travel to whatever country; and the State Department books them for schools, library's and all...
Anyway, she was your typical good 65 year old middle of the road, non-controversial talent. Delivering a good, audience engaging hour-plus talk with reading(s). Of course, she was whisked off right after, as she had do be on the quasi state radio station for South Africa - SAFM; and was running behind time. (CPT doesn't work for radio.)

This was the second Black woman author i heard in a week as the previous week i attend a book signing for And Then Life Happens, the new memoir by Alma Obama, sister to President Barack Obama. Now this is a truly thoughtful and thought provoking woman. Very, very dynamic. She said something at the space in the 6 Spin Street Restaurant i certainly know to be all so true. When an audience member referenced "Township" youth, Sister Obama pointed out that all youth have growing issues. She said (essentially) privilege means little as youth issues are youth issues world-wide.

Unfortunately, i probably will not read either of these Sister's works as i have too many other literary interests at this time.

In fact, i have a huge reading problem right now as i have never been able to write and read at the same time. That is to say if i am writing as deeply, as intensely, as i am right now...it is difficult for me to read substantive works at the same time. Reading for me has to do with journeying and escape...but must of all, it has to do with comprehensive understanding(s). When i latch on to a work (usually fiction) i look past the delivery system for the story and find the philosophies and psychologies of the underlying text.
I actually live in the story from different aspects...different points of entree....


My reverence for the printed word on page after page is so great i can not physically fold a page or "dog ear" a page or underline the text. In recent years i have coaxed myself to pencil mark a line in margins to indicate there is something in the adjacent text important to my thinking or understand. I use mostly bookmarks and sometimes memory of page numbers to mark my previous stopping points, as i do a lot of my reading while in transports of all sorts. With this i am very lucky as i know many folks who can not read while in trains, buses, or cars that are in motion. My current favorite type of bookmark is the Mag-Mark, which features two magnets on folded sturdy paper that straddle the pages of any book one is reading.

More importantly, when i come upon a work i really like, and find myself reading it too fast; i slow down the reading to savor the experience(s) offered; the literary acumen of the author.
Currently, i am reading a second book i've picked up by the extraordinary Japanese author, Haruki Murakami. I found his book Kafka By The Shore and was bowled over. I took my time reading the work, and eagerly found an earlier work of his called The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. Never have i been this extreme in my reading pleasure(s). I have actually stopped reading the book on page 443 of the Vintage U.K. paperback edition of the tome. I simple refuse to leave that world...that Well, Toru Okada inhabits. On many levels the book is a pre-working of the Kafka title...Similar to what the great African American author Richard Wright's Native Son is to his The Outsider.

Then when i started this intense blogging/writing, i figured i needed something to pull me back to reality; so i have been trying a lighter read. I picked up an early work from an old stand-by of mine, Jeffery Deaver.
Well trying to read the reworked 2002 edition of his
Mistress of Justice is not helping any.

What to do? What to do?
Since for the next few days, the Cape Town weather is forecast to be rainy and cold, i figure i will hold up in my Cape Flats abode and try to purge a lot of writing from my system -- race through Deaver and go back to Murakami; finishing him by my life-day: Tuesday next.

It's a Plan

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