‘Tell me Mr. Miyake, when you see the shapes that a bonfire makes, do you ever feel kind of strange?’

‘How so?’

‘I don’t know, it is like all of a sudden you get very clear about something we don’t notice in our lives everyday. I don’t know how to put it, I am not smart enough. But watching the fire now, I get a deep, quiet kind of feeling.”

Miyake thought about it a while. ‘You know, Jun,’ he said, ‘a fire can be any shape it wants to be. It is free. So it can look like anything at all depending on what is inside the person looking at it. If you get this deep, quiet kind of feeling when you look at a fire, that is because it is showing deep quiet kind of feeling you have inside yourself. You know what I mean?’


‘But it doesn’t happen with just any fire. For something like this to happen, the fire itself has to be free. It won’t happen with a gas stove or a cigarrette lighter. It won’t even happen with an ordinary bonfire. For the fire to be free, you have got to make it in the right kind of place. Which isn’t easy. Not just anybody can do it.’

— Haruki Murakami (Landscape with Flatiron, 2000)


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