Friday, June 27, 2008

Running And Writing

One of my favorite writers, Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) talks about parallels between running the marathon and writing - specially writing a novel.

Most of what I know about writing I've learned through running every day. How much can I push myself? How much rest is appropriate - and how much is too much? How far can I take something and still keep it decent and consistent? When does it become narrow-minded and inflexible? How much should I be aware of the world outside, and how much should I focus on my inner world? To what extent should I be confident in my abilities, and when should I start doubting myself? I know that if I hadn't become a long-distance runner when I became a novelist, my work would have been vastly different.

In his interview with Salon on The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, he talks about how the story germinated :

When I started to write, the idea was very small, just an image, not an idea actually. A man who is 30, cooking spaghetti in the kitchen, and the telephone rings -- that's it. It's so simple, but I had the feeling that something was happening there.

It is how he concludes his essay on running and writing :

I didn't start running because somebody asked me to become a runner. Just like I didn't become a novelist because someone asked me to. One day, out of the blue, I wanted to write a novel. And one day, out of the blue, I started to run. Simply because I wanted to.

One day, the image of a 30 year old man cooking spaghetti in the kitchen when the phone rings would turn into an iconic work of literature in the hands of this fantastic writer. "Out of the blue" as he puts it.

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