When people think about getting good deals by, say, thrifting, they might think of killer deals on resellable items, or prized mementos, but as I work toward downsizing many areas in my life to focus on my main hobbies – writing, reading, and exploring life – I’d rather have the sort of thrifting experiences I had with What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. …Running was an exciting thrifting discovery because I finished reading it…
That might seem trivial, but, only recently have I started to seriously read.
Throughout this book, Murakami writes about his thought processes for writing and running in surprisingly simple terms. It’s surprising because I find many writers, perhaps even myself, get cluttered in writing complex thoughts through complex metaphors, analogies, and otherwise vaguely implying their points. Murakami cuts right through that and has been a bit of a writing inspiration for me for years now.
This is where I tend to deviate from non-biased reviews into my own life.
I can relate to the book because I have a singular drive in writing. Learning about how other writers, especially professionals, write is interesting because I can see specific perspectives that can help me improve my own writing. Videogame hobbyists might, for example, watch others play videogames to learn strategies to overcome certain obstacles. Training videos are popular for this reason, but, how can one learn to write? I think it’s not through reading, exactly, but through the writing process itself.
Murakami shows how he trains for marathons and it feels like writing training.
There are elements in my own life where I’ve realized that there are times for academics and times for application, and I think the balance of the two help us toward our goal. One writing foot should be our academic study from reading everything – good and bad material, “classic” and modern material – to understand how words fit together or even to see disparate words mashed together in interesting ways. The other writing foot should be in our practical application in the form of writing – write about anything, often, and do so for wide and specific audiences.
…Running provides many points to ponder at length about life.
Murakami does not shy away from revealing that he is not a particularly special individual, which, I think we need to see more of from others especially as reality effectively equalizes. Since everyone has access to the most common aspects of common knowledge in most disciplines, or, it’s easy to learn almost anything outside of specifically esoteric or legally-protected material, thanks to the Internet, we can now learn to be a writer and a marathon runner through novels like this.
The thing is, …Running isn’t strictly about running or writing.
It’s more about seeing life from a specific perspective: someone that is completely driven by singular passions in life. In an age where it is impossible to ask people to spend more than 1 minute watching a video, thanks to YouTube Shorts, TikTok, or whatever, asking people to read books like this seems like a nearly impossible task, and yet, people still write books. People still have dreams and ambitions of going long-distance marathoning through specific skills, whether running, writing, or any hobby, and the beauty of …Running is that through subtle showing and telling, we can understand exactly how Murakami runs and writes.
…Running is effectively a guide to marathon working.
In whatever avocation or vocation you choose, there are extensive materials available to you, if you choose to ditch the distractions and focus on that path. I like to think of hardware stores in this regard. There are general hardware chain stores in many high-population areas that might stock a wide variety of items, but, what happens when you have a weird issue? I once had a toilet issue that I recorded and brought to a local, specialty hardware store. In a 1-minute video, the employee knew what kind of toilet I had, and was able to guide me along to many specific answers to my general questions.
Not everyone needs a specialty hardware store, or, general hardware chain store.
So it’s important to look around into various communities and thoughts before figuring out what specifically is the most pleasurable. Through my reading journey, I’d been reading books that have resonated with me and others that haven’t – for me, it’s more important to run past the ones that don’t give me value than to slow down and try to soak them in more. Sometimes, it takes a lifetime to figure out what sinks in, other times it’s forced by way of needing a good-paying job to sustain a good lifestyle, and others still might be through learning that everything else feels wrong.
When the shoes fit, everything else works.
I haven’t worn these running shoes in over a year now. I used to wear them when I would go on extended walks, usually around the city, but now they’ve sat waiting for the day I’ll use them again. That day could be sooner now, thanks to chiropractic work repairing the inflammation in my spine, but when I do use them again, it won’t be with the same running intention. I might wear them more when I intend to do long-distance work. I don’t like wearing shoes while writing, for example, but maybe when I go out for drives to places where the “work” might be something like a weekend errand somewhere, or, exploring a new part of reality.
The anecdotes I remember the most are the subtle observations of reality.
There are times where running is pleasurable for him, other times unpleasurable, but it seems like the times he enjoys the most are the encounters he has with other runners. It’s the same for me, when I encounter others that enjoy the reading and writing process, it’s like I’ve finally found people in that same sort of likemindedness that Murakami talks about when he talks about runners.
It’s crazy highly-specializing, but it’s a fantastic feeling.
|Sources: My interpretation of the book.|
|Inspirations: Jammin on my thoughts of the book. I finished it a while ago so my thoughts are a bit distant.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Photo: My book with my running shoes, yoga mat, and rowing machine.|
|Written On: 2021 May 12 [11:18pm to 11:50pm]|
|Last Edited: 2021 May 12 First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|