ALL THINGS LITERARY. ALL THINGS NATURAL.

A blog for those who desire a more creative relationship with the natural world.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Keeping Your World Safe within the Pages of a Book: Learning from Kazuo Ishiguro

I recently attended a very public evening, and less public morning, with renowned British author Kazuo Ishiguro.  He read from and discussed his new novel The Buried Giant, his fourth since writing Remains of the Day (awarded the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989).

Here was my chance to sit at the foot of a master storyteller, to learn about his creative process, and about the emotional impulses and insecurities that haunt even one of the world’s most prominent writers.  Thank you, Lighthouse Writers, for organizing this event. 

Ishiguro was born in Japan, but moved with his parents to Great Britain when he was only five.  He talked a great deal about memory, and how it defines individuals and cultures.

“I became an adult with the memory of a very precious place, Japan, in my mind—a Japan that didn’t really exist.  I wanted to preserve this remembered place and I thought:  If I write a novel, I can recreate this world, and then this world will be safe within the pages of that novel."

In listening to him, I realized that my own desire to keep the memories of my beloved Wyoming ranchland safe within the pages of a book was the deeply rooted yearning that urged me forward during the entire writing of my memoir In Search of Kinship.

I had never before articulated this desire in quite that way, yet it was into that well of desire that I dipped my emotional bucket each and every time I sat down to write.  And now, with the Wyoming Highway Department's plans to reroute a major highway through this land, the memories contained within the pages of In Search of Kinship are all the more poignant.

Three of Ishiguro’s books now inhabit my writing office: The Remains of the Day, The Buried Giant, and Conversations with Kazuo Ishiguro.  Anytime I wish to once again sit at his feet as a disciple, all I need to do is reach out a hand and the maestro is there, extending his art and his passion, inviting me into his world.

Note: Watch video of full book scene from The Remains of the Day.