It’s the same time, either way.

” At any rate, of all the baseball stadiums in the world, I like being in Jingu Stadium the best of all. In an infield seat behind first base, or in the right-field bleachers. I love all the sounds, the smells, the way I can sit there, just gazing up at the sky. I love the breeze caressing my skin, I love sipping an ice-cold beer, observing the people around me. Whether the team wins or loses, I love the time spent there most of all.

Of course, winning is much better than losing. No argument there. But winning or losing doesn’t affect the weight and value of the time. It’s the same time, either way. A minute is a minute, an hour is an hour. We need to cherish it. We need to deftly reconcile ourselves with time, and leave behind as many precious memories as we can – that’s what’s the most valuable.”

– The Yakult Swallows Poetry Collection


“Your brain is made to think about difficult things. To help you get to a point where you understand something that you didn’t understand at first. And that becomes the cream of your life. The rest is boring and worthless.
That was what the grey-haired old man told me.
On a cloudy Sunday afternoon in late autumn, on top of a mountain in Kobe, as I clutched a small bouquet of red flowers.
And even now, whenever something disturbing happens to me, I ponder again that special circle, and the boring and the worthless.
And the unique cream that must be there, deep inside me.”

– Cream by Haruki Murakami

The Notebook: Issue 14

Swimming Pool Movie - Ludivine Sagnier
Swimming Pool Movie – Ludivine Sagnier (Image used without permission)

Hi there,
Welcome to the December issue of ‘The Notebook’.
This is a list of books, movies, blog posts,
interviews, video clips and other stuff
I found interesting and feel worth sharing.
I hope you’ll like some of the stuff I am sharing.
If you have any feedback, please drop me a line…
Here it goes…
A Book Worth Sharing:
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” by Haruki Murakami
If I have to choose one Haruki Murakami fiction, I’ll choose this one…
“Wind-Up Bird” is part detective story, part Bildungsroman (a novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education), part fairy tale, part science-fiction-meets-Lewis Carroll. Like “A Wild Sheep Chase” and “Dance Dance Dance,” it features a very ordinary man as its hero – a passive, affectless sort of guy with a lowly job and even lower expectations. Like those earlier novels, it sends its hero off on a long, strange wild goose chase that turns into a sort of Kafkaesque nightmare.”
– Michiko Kakutani
Read the complete review here
A Movie Worth Sharing:

Swimming Pool” by Francois Ozon

One of my favourite Francois Ozon films…
“You’ll have to take your eyes off teen temptress Ludivine Sagnier to navigate the psychological twists in Francois Ozon’s thriller. It’s almost worth it. The French director is a major tease, as proved by the way he blended song, dance and homicide in last year’s 8 Women.”
An Idea Worth Sharing:
“The first time I heard a mathematician use the phrase, I was sure he’d misspoken. We were on the phone, talking about the search for shapes with certain properties, and he said, “It’s like looking for hay in a haystack.”
“Don’t you mean a needle?” I almost interjected. Then he said it again.
In mathematics, it turns out, conventional modes of thought sometimes get turned on their head. The mathematician I was speaking with, Dave Jensen of the University of Kentucky, really did mean “hay in a haystack.” By it, he was expressing a strange fact about mathematical research: Sometimes the most common things are the hardest to find.”
Read the complete article here
A Quote Worth Sharing:
“The real problem with humanity is the following: We have paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and god-like technology. And it is terrifically dangerous.”
— E. O. Wilson ( Via David Perell )
Random Stuff:
“Seth Godin recently noted the following on his always insightful blog:
“The Mona Lisa has a huge social media presence. Her picture is everywhere. But she doesn’t tweet. She’s big on social media because she’s an icon, but she’s not an icon because she’s big on social media.”
This perfectly sums up a point I often find myself trying to make when arguing that people don’t need to engage social media to advance their career.”
Read Cal Newport’s complete blog post here
Thanks for reading.
Take care and have a nice month…

Haruki Murakami On Writing

One of my favourite books is “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running“.
I have read most of Haruki Murakami‘s books.
I especially enjoyed “Norwegian Wood“, “The  Bird Chronicle“, “Kafka On The Shore” and “1Q84“.
But this autobiographical non-fiction book is my special favourite.
I have read it maybe 4 -5 times.
Here he chronicles his journey as a marathon runner.
It’s a training log and memoir.
And he also talks about his writing process.
I am always interested in knowing the rituals, habits and practice of creative professionals.
And we get a glimpse of precisely that in this book.
He talks about two critical ingredients necessary for creating memorable works.
Here, in his own words…
“Focus: The ability to concentrate all your limited talents on whatever critical at the moment.
Without that you can’t accomplish anything of value, while if you can focus effectively, you’ll be able to compensate for an erratic talent or even a shortage of it.
I generally concentrate on work for three or four hours every morning.
I sit on my desk and focus totally on what I am writing.
I don’t see anything else!
Endurance: If you concentrate on writing three or four hours a day and feel tired after a week of this, you’re not going to be to write a long work.
What needed for a writer of fiction – at least one who hopes to write a novel – is the energy to focus everyday for half a year, or a year or two years.
Fortunately these two disciplines – focus and endurance are different from talent, since they can be acquired and sharpened through training.
You’ll naturally learn concentration and endurance when you sit down at your desk and train yourself to focus on one point.
You have to continually transmit the object of your focus to your entire body, and make sure it thoroughly assimilates the information necessary for you to write every single day and concentrate on work on hand.
And generally you’ll expand the limits of what you are able to do.
Almost imperceptibly you’ll make the bar rise.
Add a stimulus and keep it up.
And repeat.
Patience is a must in this process, but I guarantee the result will come.
Writers who aren’t blessed with much talent – those who barely make the grade – need to build up their strength at their own expense.
They have to train themselves to improve their focus, to increase their endurance.
To certain extent they are forced to make these qualities stand in for talent.
And while they are getting by on these, they may actually discover real, hidden talent within them.
They are sweating, digging out a hole at their feet with a shovel, when they run across a deep secret water vain.
It’s lucky thing, but what made this good fortune possible was all the training they did that give them strength to keep on digging.
I imagine the late blooming writers have all gone through a similar process.”