How do writing & reading compare to running ?
The easy link is through perseverance and endurance. Reading and even moreso writing require a relentless commitment. Of course when we flip the pages of a book, we continue because we are taken on a trip, an adventure, or simply put, a story.
Haruki Murakami is a writer who tells fascinating, fantastic and surrealist stories. And I love his books. But one of his books is of a different kind: “What I talk about when I talk about running“. Murakami picked up running in his early writing years, realizing that sitting long hours would not be very good for his health, and that trying to find the right inspiration might require something else in order to find the right balance. Not only did he stop smoking (rather unusual for a writer), but he would develop a long lasting routine of running almost everyday of the week and participate in numerous marathons, even triathlons. He describes it often as a place where his mind can be free, not clouded by literary thoughts and writing ideas. He would however feel the power of this moment upon returning to his desk, with a new flow of ideas, a new clarity that would help him write freely. Just through this little wandering of the brain, which we can probably all relate to, anytime we lace our shoes up and head out the door for this strange repetitve activity. I can’t write a novel, and Murakami is a master at it, but when he writes about running, it almost seems trivial, too simple to come from a literary genius.
That is what running is: so simple, yet so rich, that for the time you and I do it, we can all be Haruki Murakami…