October 7, 2014
I’m nervous. I have read that the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced on Thursday October 9 at 1PM (CET). I feel my whole life has reached this point, and either I win the prize or I don’t. “If I die, I die.” The moment is almost here, and I have so many thoughts in my head. For one, some writers just write for themselves. Others, if they’re lucky get paid for the words that appear on a page, but for me, the only reason I do write is the thought of getting the Nobel Prize.
My entire life has been one type of failure after another. It’s too sad to list them all here, but I feel that the world doesn’t give a damn about me. I noticed my friends on Facebook have been dwelling in lower numbers, like they’re tired of me. Also my blog has been getting less attention as well. It is a slow death of sorts, where even when I’m in exile in Tokyo, I find myself only looking at my reflection in numerous store windows. I tend to have my meals in fast food restaurants near train stations - for instance I’m quite fond of eating places around Meguro Station. My lack of Japanese is perfectly suitable that I can just point in the menu and nod my head. Restaurants that have fully illustrated menus tend to be a tad cheaper than the ones who don’t have pictures on their menus. So being idiotic and kind of stupid regarding my lack of language skills is actually financially helpful here. Nevertheless I spent a great deal of time reading about the gossip and rumors that are surrounding this year’s Nobel Prize for literature.
Haruki Murakami has been pointed out again and again that he is likely to be the winner this year. If this happens, I don’t know what I will do. It is like I spent my entire life, 60 years, working towards a goal, and then having that snatched away by a second-rate writer… well, it’s unthinkable.
Some years ago, when I was in my room working on my life-long memoir “My Struggle” (which title has been stolen by a Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgård, and is now an international bestseller) I had nothing but dreams of excepting the Nobel. In fact, every year for the past 35 years, I have written an acceptance speech. I have fifteen notebooks, all written by hand, the acceptance speech that may not actually happen. I was just so depressed during this time, that I actually suffered from nervous disorders of all sorts. The worst thing that happened to me was that I went to a showing of “Taxi Driver” and refused to leave the theater till they show it again. That day I sat through four showings. Finally the police came and they physically removed me from the theater. It was at that time, I realized that I needed some professional help.
Through connections within my family, I imagined to have a meeting with the famous psychiatrist R. D. Laing. He examined me throughly and asked numerous questions. He made a peculiar statement to me: “Life is a sexually transmitted disease and the mortality rate is one hundred percent.” I didn’t know how to respond to that comment, so I told him what was illing me. I told him that I write, and I only write, so I can win the Nobel Prize. Without that prize, I’m nothing. A waste of space in an overcrowded world. But, and it’s a big BUT - if I can somehow win this prize, then my life will have meaning - not only to me, but to others who know my name. As I talked, he wrote in a notebook. After I finished my rant, he got up from his chair, to look out the window. He then picked up his telephone and asked if I was hungry, I said no. He then asked whether it was OK for him to order some food. I said “sure.” I overheard him ordering a Scotch pie, which is usually a small double-crust meat pie filled with minced meat. It seems as though you can hold the pie with your hands while eating and therefore popular with people who work behind a desk.
He approached me and sat right on the left side of me. He spoke very quietly and told me that “insanity - a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.” Which of course means to me the chance that I won’t get the award. “There is a great deal of pain in life and perhaps the only pain that can be avoided is the pain that comes from trying to avoid pain.” All of a sudden there was a knock on the door, and it was one of his assistants, who delivered the Scotch pie. He thanks the assistant and came back and told me, while munching on his pie that “in a world full of danger, to be potentially seeable object is to be consistently exposed to danger. Self-consciousness, then, may be the applehensive awareness of oneself as potentially exposed to danger by the simple fact of being visible to others.” He took another bite and then went on. “The obvious defense against such a danger is to make oneself invisible in one way or another.” We both sat in silence and the only noise in the room was him eating the pie.
“You see Tosh, we are effectively destroying ourselves by violence masquerading as love.” Again, more silence, and then I asked him: “What do you think are the odds in me getting the Nobel Prize?” He then put his hand on my shoulder, and gently shook his head. “Time will tell Tosh.” I left his office with the feeling of depression as a winter coat over my shoulder. We all now wait for the conclusion that will be my sad, yet pathetic life.