Hope you’re all gearing up for a great weekend. I thought I’d check-in and let you know what I’ve been enjoying this week and perhaps you, too, will want to check out some of the things I love.
Books I’m Reading …
I’ve been working my way through all of Haruki Murakami’s short stories and I have to say he might just be my favourite short story writer. This week I’m reading his third short story collection, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, originally published in Japanese in 2006 as めくらやなぎと眠る女, and published in English in 2009. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is Murakami’s longest short story collection with twenty-four stories and also covers a greater span of time than any other Murakami collection (from 1980–2005). Though for those unfamiliar with Murakami’s short stories I would recommend The Elephant Vanishes as a great starting point, it opens with ‘The Wind-up Bird and Tuesday’s Women’, which would later become—after some changes were made—the opening chapter of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I love how Murakami can take the seemingly trivial and transform the stakes so that they seem as important as life and death. I love how Murakami can flip a story and the lens through which it is viewed in a single line (sometimes less). I love his attention-to-detail, his dialogue, the way he can depict so much in so few words. Often I’ll finish a Murakami story and feel exhausted having been through such a vast series of emotions in such a short period of time. If you haven’t read any Murakami you need to address this urgently.
MUSIC I’M LISTENING TO …
If you like old school death metal you need to check out Obituary’s self-titled tenth studio album released last week (17 March 2017). Intense, pummelling, old school death metal just the way it should be.
But death metal isn’t for everyone (much to my chagrin) so here’s another recommendation, Hiromi. Hiromi is a pianist and composer unlike any other. There are elements of prog, jazz, and classical to name just a few genres in which Hiromi transcends. You can’t go wrong with any of Hiromi’s albums but if I had to choose one I’d recommend Spark as part of The Trio Project with Anthony Jackson and Simon Philipps. Hiromi’s music is beautiful—it’s haunting, it’s energetic, and it’s uniquely Hiromi.
(And yes I just went from Obituary to Hiromi whilst writing this—how’s that for eclectic, neighbours?)
PODCASTS I’M LISTENING TO …
I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts featuring author of The Paleo Solution Robb Wolf as he talks about hs brand new book Wired To Eat (released 21 March 2017). The paleo lifestyle (I refuse to call it a diet) has done so much for me but Robb’s new book, Wired To Eat, is something of a Paleo 2.0 examining how you can use the paleo template and then modify it for your own unique circumstances. Whether you’re looking to transform your health because of an autoimmune disease, to enhance your performance in the gym or a sport, or to lose weight this book has something for you (I’m reading it right now, check out my Instagram for proof …). It’s both a great book for those already following a Paleo lifestyle and those unacquainted with paleo.
Here are some of Robb’s podcast appearances this week that I’ve particularly enjoyed:
Max Booth III and Lori Michelle recently started up Castle Rock Radio, a Stephen King podcast where the two Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing head honchos discuss a Stephen King story each episode. If you’ve listened to any of Max Booth’s interviews before then you’ll know the guy is laugh-out-loud hilarious. This show is as funny as it is informative (hell, maybe it’s funnier than it is informative—that’s an endorsement, Max, don’t hurt me). I’ve also listened to the second episode where my partner-in-crime (well, partner-in-the-This-Is-Horror-Podcast) joins them to discuss ‘Survivor Type’. Episode two is on Patreon right now and will be released for general consumption Monday.
APPS I’M LOVING …
My relationship with meditation is more on-and-off than Ross and Rachel’s in Friends (just seriously dated myself with that reference—get with the programme, MDW, this ain’t the 90s). That said right now it is ON and my go-to meditation app is Calm. It’s minimalist, easy-to-use, and has a range of both guided and unguided meditations.
I’m currently using Google Calendar to organise my workday. Calendars are much more effective than to-do lists (in my experience) and also ensure you manage your day and time so that others don’t jump in and manage it for you. If we’re to be productive and efficient we need to be in control of our own time and to say ‘no’ more. A calendar will help you with that (well not the saying no part, you have to physically say ‘no’ but perhaps Siri can say it for you … let’s see what happens … From Siri him/her/itself: “That may be beyond my abilities at the moment.” Ah well, it was worth a shot). But back to calendars, there are a number of options available but Google Calendar is a great—and free—starting point.
QUOTE TO PONDER …
So stay young, my friends, and don’t stop dreaming .
I hope this has been entertaining and useful for you. Please hit me up in the comments or on twitter @wilsonthewriter and keep the positivity and conversation going, let me know what you’ve been enjoying this week.
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Have an amazing weekend, keep writing, keep reading, but beyond everything else: smile more, love more, and be kind to each other.
Catch you all soon.
Michael David Wilson