I am enjoying Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami, loaned to me by Jerry Pope. It is a strange and interesting read. On the surface it is about a young man whose wife surprises him with a divorce. He is an artist who has felt confined by his work, painting ordinary portraits, and who sets out on a journey to figure out what art he is lead to create. He settles into a house formerly occupied by a famous artist and discovers a painting by that artist covered in brown paper. The painting shows a character killing an important figure with a long sword. When he uncovers the image, strange things begin to happen.

Photograph by Mike Kessler

First, he and an odd neighbor who befriends him are fascinated by a covered well with a nearby shrine on the property. They are drawn to the well by the sound of a bell that is rung every night in the wee hours, emanating from the well. They agree to remove the cover of the well that is heaped with heavy stones. What if someone is trapped down there? When they uncover the well, they find it is empty.

After they open the well, though, a two-foot tall man dressed like the figure in the painting, starts appearing only to the main character. The figure, whom he calls Commendatore, explains that he is “an Idea”. He says that Ideas exist only in relation to other people. He also calls into question the nature of reality. Both of these ideas are at the center of the novel.

What is real and what is imaginary? One example that comes to mind is Tarot. To read Tarot, a person selects a number of cards and a reader lays them out in a particular arrangement. From this display the reader can tell you about your life past, present and future. A lot of people debunk Tarot, but I have been surprised by what I have experienced. 

When I taught in Charlotte I was asked every year to read Tarot at the Senior Prom. I learned what I could about the meaning of each card in the deck and set up a gypsy tent in the gym where the prom was held. Kids would line up to have their one card (all I could manage) read. I would shuffle the deck and almost every time the same card was selected at random: The Death Card. Naturally seeing this card would freak out each Senior who drew it, and I had to explain over the noise of the loud band that that card meant the end of one stage of life and the start of a new one.

Advent calendars and other recycled paper from England


It fascinated me that of all the cards in the deck, graduating seniors frequently pulled that one. Was it just chance, or was there something surreal happening? Since then I have placed more confidence in Tarot. 

I have invited Emma from Blue Intuition to come to Chifferobe on the evening of October 28 from 5-7 PM. She is an experienced reader and will do free readings for you at a party to celebrate Tarot, Halloween, and all things supernatural. It’s that time of year! Time to come and experience Tarot or just enjoy the wine!

Gently used cashmere sweaters at bargain prices