Or when I think about exercise in general with some thoughts on my writing process thrown in.
I’m not sure who told me about Haruki Murakami, but I’m glad they did. I first read his novel “Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World” which was a great read. I have had his other books on my list, but finally decided to read his memoir “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” next instead of his fiction (although I have one of his novels waiting on my to read shelf).
“Running” is a memoir about running, but moreso about how it fits into his overall life which – of course – includes his life as a writer. Almost two years ago I posted a sort of an essay on the blog about my inability to “run.” But, even before picking up this book I had been toying with the idea of trying to start running again. Running, for me, is like the epitome of fitness and I’ve never been (even when thinner) particularly “fit.”
In this memoir, Murakami basically says one day he decided to start writing novels, and one day he decided to start running. What does that say about himself as a writer and athelete versus what I think of myself as a writer and never-been-an-athelete self? What does how we take care of our physical say about our ability to also be artists?
These are some of the questions I found swimming (working in a change from the writing metaphor) in my head as I read Murakami’s book. Coincidentally, I reached this book in my pile a few days after I decided to try the Couch to 5k app. I liked it. I was sort of jogging with walking thrown in as the app said, but I wanted to hurry the process along. Everything I read says to take a rest day in between a day of jogging, but as an avid walker I don’t like to do that. I feel antsy when I take days off (although I pretty much always take Sunday off from everything). The things I do well on seem to go that route. When I decided to start writing again I just started and worked out the kinks as I went along. Working with the app has made the process of running boring for me, especially since I am overweight and slow. What if I just went back to my old mode of operation and simply ran until I was tired and then revised that process the better I became?
This morning I got up, tired, after an hour walk yesterday but not a good eating day. I had a decent breakfast and I’m working away in my office. I have meetings to attend today so I’ll have little time for exercise and certainly not to change out to run because I’d also need to find a place to shower. Instead, I’ve scheduled in an hour to walk. I don’t think it will proclude me from finding time to jog/walk again, but like my writing I don’t want to force someone else’s schedule on myself. I have to find my own path.
Remembering to chart your own way is perhaps the best thing I took away from Murakami’s book. There are no life changing quotes I can pull, but just know I’d highly recommend the book to anyone if – for nothing else – to peek into someone’s elses relfective process. Isn’t that at the heart of our endeavors? The chance to do something and then to look back with the power of recall . . .