When I picked up Haruki Murakami's most recent book, I was giddy for a continuation of some post-modern experience--elephants vanishing and all that. The English title seemed promising in this regard, "What I Talk About When I Talk about Running." The cognitive compounding of thoughts and actions appeared to point to a comically twisted, self-reflexive tale of one sort or another.
Before cracking the volume in front of our crackling fire, I admit that I had already known a little bit of Murakami's life and habits. Last semester I was given the task of teaching a course on the Introduction to Asian Literalture and in my haste to suture my own syllabus out of a pile of colleagues' old ones, it just so happened that some of Murakami's 's short stories found their way into my curricural Frankenstein. Of course, before I taught the class (more precisely, a week before I lectured on him) I hadn't the faintest idea what kind of writer or person he was. Some days before I had to tell my students something significant about him, I started flipping through his short story collections and surfing the web. Wikipeida is always a great place to start. I finally came to find out that he lived a very interesting and enviable life. At least, that is how I feel about it.
His dual-life as an athelete and artist stirred something in me that I had burried long ago and that graduate school was at present stamping further into my depths: the prospect of a creative and physically engaging existence, one balanced by the body and the mind. The two things I absolutely loved to do throughout childhood and adolescence was to write, paint and play soccer and ski. Strictly speaking, this doesn't make me compatable to Murakami, not by any stretch of the imagination. For one, he writes well and continues to race in marathons. I, on the other hand, as any of my advisors can tell you, am no paragon of the pen--seriously lacking in substance where I attempt to be most influential and earnest. Not to mention, I've practically given up on soccer and skiing (permanent injuries, money issues, blahblah). These are the shortcomings that prevent any sort of direct correlation between me and the famed author I'm referring to (and secretly envying). However, the dual-desire to exercise the mind and body is certainly kindred, and Murakami's life and writing inspires me to dust off my tired and buffeted dreams to live healthily and creatively. He was thirty-three, a ripe old Dantean age, when he launched his habits as novelist and runner. Having just turned thirty-one, I aspire to make similar adjustments for my own good. Maybe it won't be a novel and a marathon...At the very least, it has to be an engaging dissertation and the occasional lap around the tredmill.
5 years ago