There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.— Kazuo Ishiguro
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I'm interested in memory because it's a filter through which we see our lives, and because it's foggy and obscure, the opportunities for self-deception are there. In the end, as a writer, I'm more interested in what people tell themselves happened rather than what actually happened.
Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly.
But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.
You have to accept that sometimes that's how things happen in this world.
People's opinions, their feelings, they go one way, then the other. It just so happens you grew up at a certain point in this process.
She always wanted to believe in things.
Memory, I realize, can be an unreliable thing;
often it is heavily coloured by the circumstances in which one remembers.
As a writer, I'm more interested in what people tell themselves happened rather than what actually happened.
The evening's the best part of the day.
You've done your day's work. Now you can put your feet up and enjoy it.
It was like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you've made, and there's this panic because you don't know yet the scale of disaster you've left yourself open to.
What is pertinent is the calmness of beauty, its sense of restraint.
It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, its own greatness, and feels no need to shout it.
If you go to Tokyo, I think it becomes very obvious that there's this almost seamless mixture of popular culture and Japanese traditional culture.
You're always in a rush, or else you're too exhausted to have a proper conversation. Soon enough, the long hours, the traveling, the broken sleep have all crept into your being and become part of you, so everyone can see it, in your posture, your gaze, the way you move and talk.
I have the feeling of this completely alternative person I should have become.
There was another life that I might have had, but I’m having this one.
But then, I suppose, when with the benefit of hindsight one begins to search one's past for such 'turning points', one is apt to start seeing them everywhere.
I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel, world. And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go.
Everything might scatter. You might be right. I suppose it's something we can't easily get away from. People need to feel they belong. To a nation, to a race. Otherwise, who knows what might happen? This civilisation of ours, perhaps it'll just collapse. And everything scatter, as you put it.
Even the solitude, I've actually grown to quite like.
.. I do like the feeling of getting into my little car, knowing for the next couple of hours I'll have only the roads, the big gray sky and my daydreams for company.
What is pertinent is the calmness of that beauty, its sense of restraint.
Because maybe, in a way, we didn't leave it behind nearly as much as we might once have thought. Because somewhere underneath, a part of us stayed like that: fearful of the world around us, and no matter how much we despised ourselves for it--unable quite to let each other go.
It didn't hurt, did it? When I hit you?" "Sure.
Fractured skull. Concussion, the lot..." "But seriously, Kath. No hard feelings, right? I'm awfully sorry. I honestly am.
Now naturally, like many of us, I have a reluctance to change too much of the old ways.
Sometimes I get so immersed in my own company, if I unexpectedly run into someone I know, it's a bit of a shock and takes me a while to adjust.
Memory is quite central for me. Part of it is that I like the actual texture of writing through memory.
There's still a part of me that thinks I have to write a really good novel.
I'm not trying to say I'm not happy with the novels I've written in the past. But it always feels to me like there's another one that I have to write that will really say what I want to say, and really paint this world that I can see hazily in my head.
Typically in my novels the narrator tells a story by remembering, and the memories are colored by this and colored by that. So the whole universe of the novel tends to be framed by the narrator's memories and thoughts.
As I say, I have never in all these years thought of the matter in quite this way; but then it is perhaps in the nature of coming away on a trip such as this that one is prompted towards such surprising new perspectives on topics one imagined one had long ago thought throughly.
I think there is a huge difference between writers who have very big sales, and writers who have small sales. Even writers with very high reputations, even Nobel prize winners, often sell in very low figures.
What I'm not sure about, is if our lives have been so different from the lives of the people we save. We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we've lived through, or feel we've had enough time.
There was a time you saw me once, one afternoon, in the dormitories.
There was no one else around, and I was playing this tape, this music. I was sort of dancing with my eyes closed and you saw me.' '...yes, I remember that occasion. I still think about it from time to time.' 'That's funny, so do I.
You need to remember that. If you’re to have decent lives, you have to know who you are and what lies ahead of you, every one of you.
Perhaps one day, all these conflicts will end, and it won't be because of great statesmen or churches or organisations like this one. It'll be because people have changed. They'll be like you, Puffin. More a mixture. So why not become a mongrel? It's healthy.
Your life must now run the course that's been set for it.
Indeed — why should I not admit it? — in that moment, my heart was breaking.
It had never occurred to me that our lives, which had been so closely interwoven, could unravel with such speed.
I had been plunged into a different world.
I found myself spending half my time answering weird questions on book tours in the Midwest. People would stand up and explain to me the situation in their office and ask me whether they should resign or not.
Now when I look back to the Guildford of that time, it seems far more exotic to me than Nagasaki.
It is one of the enjoyments of retirement that you are able to drift through the day at your own pace, easy in the knowledge that you have put hard work and achievement behind you.
I don't really like to work with literary allusions very much.
I never want to be in a position where I'm saying, "You've got to read a lot of other stuff" or "You've got to have had a good education in literature to fully appreciate what I'm doing."
If you look at my last songs and first short stories, there is a real connection between them.
My friends and I took songwriting very, very seriously.
My hero was and still is Bob Dylan, but also people like Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell and that whole generation.
All children have to be deceived if they are to grow up without trauma.
I was a little concerned that a lot of people thought I wrote Merchant Ivory movies. I also thought if I was ever going to write something strange and difficult, that was the time.
I think I had actually served my apprenticeship as a writer of fiction by writing all those songs. I had already been through phases of autobiographical or experimental stuff.
What is difficult is the promotion, balancing the public side of a writer's life with the writing. I think that's something a lot of writers are having to face. Writers have become much more public now.
When a man induces his wife to turn suspicious thoughts against her own father, then that is surely cause enough for resentment.
I do not think I responded immediately, for it took me a moment or two to fully digest these words of Miss Kenton. Moreover, as you might appreciate, their implications were such as to provoke a certain degree of sorrow within me. Indeed- why should I not admit it? - at that moment, my heart was breaking.
Screenplays I didn't really care about, journalism, travel books, getting my writer friends to write about their dreams or something. I just determined to write the books I had to write.
We took away your art because we thought it would reveal your souls.
Or to put it more finely, we did it to prove you had souls at all.
What is the point of worrying oneself too much about what one could or could not have done to control the course one's life took? Surely it is enough that the likes of you and I at least try to make our small contribution count for something true and worthy. And if some of us are prepared to sacrifice much in life in order to pursue such aspirations, surely that in itself, whatever the outcome, cause for pride and contentment.
To see the best before I have properly begun would be somewhat premature.