I've been on a Murakami kick as of late. After finishing Kafka on the Shore I'm now plowing through Norwegian Wood. Since I'm training for my first marathon, Murakami's book about running seemed an obvious choice.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running has easily slid into my top ten. I've already read it twice, each time feeling compelled to highlight, underline, and dog-ear every other page. At its surface the book is about running and writing, but deeper still it's about the intersection of physical and mental endurance.
As I read, I was struck by a few parallels between Murakami and my own experience as an artist and runner. Like Murakami, I began to seriously run at the same point that I quit my job to pursue art. He closed the bar he operated in Tokyo, I had just left my job as bartender at a neighborhood bar. When I started running I was about the same age Murakami was when he began.
So far this year I've run almost 250 miles, nearly 50 of those miles in March alone. Although Murakami has dozens of marathons, triathlons, and an ultramarathon under his belt while I have yet to run my first marathon, when he writes, "I know that if I hadn't become a long-distance runner when I became a novelist, my work would been vastly different", I can't help but wonder to what effect all this running has had, and will have, on my own work.