For the last few months, internationally celebrated writer Haruki Murakami has been fielding questions about, well, just about anything on his personal website. A lot of the inquiries sent his way are, predictably, about the creative writing process, but Murakami has also shown an amicable willingness to chat about such myriad subjects as romance, cats, baseball, and donuts.
From the beginning, though, Murakami said he’d only be keeping the question and answer portion of the site running until the end of March. With the project winding down, one fan decided to write in with a fittingly comprehensive query: What’s the meaning of life?
While Murakami has been extremely generous with his time in communicating with his admirers, he’s also been a bit capricious in how earnest his responses are. When asked a question, the author seems to decide on a whim between replying with something deep and thought-provoking or a cursory acknowledgment of the topic before segueing into what might be an oblique reference to his romantic talents.
Rolling the dice, one 26-year-old man who recently sent the following question to the Murakami-san no Tokoro website:
“Mr. Murakami, how would you respond if someone were to ask you, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ I would say, ‘There is no meaning to anyone’s life. It’s enough to be free,’ but I wonder if this shows a lack of responsibility or human emotion.”
The civil servant who sent in the question was in luck, as Murakami decided to treat this question, and thus his reply, seriously, writing back:
“My answer would be ‘That’s something to think about after you die.’ While we’re still in the middle of being alive, it’s hard to really see the meaning behind it. We’re all busy, and we get caught up in all sorts of situations. So let’s think it over at our leisure after we pass away. I don’t think it’s too late to come to a conclusion after that.”
Eloquent, succinct, and unexpected. Hmm…you know, this Murakami guy just might have a gift for prose.