What I Talk about When I Talk about Running: A Memoir

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By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, this memoir is both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes that finds similar satisfaction in distance running.

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BrianJones.com

Mar 15, 2014

Food For The Creative Professionals Soul!

I have this theory that goes like this: sometimes we find books, and sometimes books find us.

Oftentimes I'll pick up a book, read a few lines, and quickly close the covers. I'll instinctively know that no matter how much I want to read it that that book's message was meant for a later time. And sure enough, years later, I'll spot the book on the corner of my shelf and be moved to pick it up, only to find exactly what I needed to hear. It's funny how life, and reading, works that way.

Other times I'll find a book in the most random way - through a footnote or a random citation in an obscure periodical, for instance - and that book's message will be exactly what I needed to hear at that moment in my life. That was certainly the case with Japanese novelist Karuki Murakami's wonderful little book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

While training for the New York City Marathon Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami decided to write about it as well. What materialized was a unique memoir that discusses his twin passions of writing and running, and the interesting way they nurture and inform each other.

I've been struggling as of late staying focused on the hard work of writing, so when I opened the book and read the following lines I knew that a message that I needed to hear had found me:

"One runner told of a mantra his older brother, also a runner, had taught him which he's pondered ever since he began running. Here it is: Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you're running and you start to think, Man this hurts, I can't take it anymore. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand any more is up to the runner himself. This pretty much sums up the most important aspect of marathon running."

If you feel called to creative work, and are struggling with finding the discipline necessary to create a body of work, you'll find this playful, oftentimes philosophical memoir food for your soul.

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