everything I know about writing, I learned from music

This is a great essay in the New York Times by celebrated Japanese author Haruki Murakami on his own journey to becoming a writer, by way of music: Jazz Messenger. At age 15, he saw Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers perform in Kobe, and he became a lifelong jazz fan. At age 29, he suddenly decided that wanted to write a novel. The natural connection was music:
Whether in music or in fiction, the most basic thing is rhythm. Your style needs to have good, natural, steady rhythm, or people won't keep reading your work. I learned the importance of rhythm from music — and mainly from jazz. Next comes melody - which, in literature, means the appropriate arrangement of the words to match the rhythm. If the way the words fit the rhythm is smooth and beautiful, you can’t ask for anything more. Next is harmony - the internal mental sounds that support the words. Then comes the part I like best: free improvisation. Through some special channel, the story comes welling out freely from inside. All I have to do is get into the flow. Finally comes what may be the most important thing: that high you experience upon completing a work — upon ending your “performance” and feeling you have succeeded in reaching a place that is new and meaningful. And if all goes well, you get to share that sense of elevation with your readers (your audience). That is a marvelous culmination that can be achieved in no other way.
Whether you're a fan of his writing, or perhaps a jazz fan, it's a good read. If you're not familiar with Murakami's work, I really suggest seeking out his stuff. His latest novel, published in May, is After Dark.

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