Since very recent I realized that I’m distinguishing my blog posts as short races and long races, like in athletics. Personally, I’m not a runner… but kind of impressed with the kinetics and the way our body lives its own life, very often behaving slightly different then we had planned in our head.
So, when I heard last year that Haruki Murakami, writer and runner, has published a book entitled ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running‘, I knew that I really had to grab this book. I’m indescribable Murakami admirer (yeah, I admire too, the other Murakami… Takashi Murakami. Who can possibly resist their art?!)
‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running‘ is a collection of nine short novels, written in a form of personal diary on the reasons why he actually started with running and writing.
It’s a sort of memoirs on his working habits, experiences with physical pain, deconstruction of the body, and at the same time he’s comparing the processes of training with the processes of writing and translating (he’s also acclaimed translator in Japan).
All novels are written fluidly and in a close to reader approach, as he’s trying to demystify his work and achievements. Let me clarify this sentence, Murakami describes some of his 27 marathons he had run before switching to triathlon. And we talk here about New York Marathon, Boston Marathon, or his first race from Athens to Marathon in Greece…
Photo taken from exorcising-ghosts
Although, the author modestly says that he doesn’t consider them as novels, the starting point was borrowed title from Raymond Carver’s short story collection ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’.
Murakami doesn’t mystify the process of writing in comparison with marathons, but covers pretty fair both paths as a necessary formula. The culture of trained body and the culture of ‘mental hygiene’ for writers have to get along.
Photo taken from Forget Life. Just Run.
Obviously, if your body is not in a good shape, you can’t possibly expect good results in the creative field. I would warmly recommend this book to writers, athletes, dancers, translators, joggers and bloggers. It’s a literary How-to-Hack-The-System; and the system isn’t here out of you, but inside you.
I found profounding the novel where he talks about toxins in our body, as a results of non-synchronicity between the body and mind, as a result of sitting or not exercising. Seemingly, those toxins influence also our capabilities of thinking and expressing ourselves in a way we would love to.
Photo taken from 8tokyo.com
The other moment was his story with Mizuno sneakers. I guess every person have similar moments when you rely on a particular subject to help you to achieve something or to get you in the comfort zone. Mizuno sneakers and MD playlists are Haruki Murakami’s comfort zones.
This book is about how to bring to sanity lungs and muscles to keep up with the owner several miles before the finishing line, regardless of the situation… talking about physical activities or mental work.
‘Suffering is optional’, says Haruki Murakami.