Almost Transparent Blue by Ryu Murakami

WHY IS THIS ESSAY SO LONG?

Initially I wanted to write a ~700-word “piece” that mostly paraphrased the funnier or more notable scenes in the book, with some commentary. As I studied the book I became obsessed, to some degree, because it seemed both autobiographical and structured in a manner that made me want to reread it repeatedly. I decided to “exploit” my natural interest and write the “end-all” English essay of it. Also, at some point, I read a review that called it “incoherent,” which made me feel bad and more motivated, I think, to write a comprehensive essay.

WHAT DO I THINK ABOUT THIS ESSAY?

It seemed “excruciating” to write and edit. At most times, thinking about the book’s tone or themes or effect on me, I felt able to type almost anything and feel that it seemed accurate, due to the book’s non-rhetorical nature, which made it difficult to type things.

I frequently thought “I don’t know what I’m talking about, I honestly don’t know what I’m talking about,” often after forming entire paragraphs, within which each sentence was designed to elaborate on the previous, in a manner that would “lead somewhere,” but upon rereading would seem to be the same sentence repeated four times. I felt, throughout, that I could write much more, like ten times as much, about whatever I was writing about and still feel like I was misrepresenting, simplifying, or blocking out certain aspects of the book.

I seemed to often become fixated on editing single paragraphs, but only the sentence structure and punctuation, not the content, and would feel “desperate” after an amount of time, as I moved commas to different places and replaced parenthesis with em-dashes—and other things like that—in a neurotic, unsatisfying manner.

Sometimes I felt encouraged to continue by a feeling that I now felt more excited to write fiction, and that if I read an essay like this by someone else, on the internet, I might also feel more excited to write fiction. Sometimes was encouraged to continue by thinking that I would feel excited to read an essay like this about one of my books.

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