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Category Archives: Readings

Haruki Murakami: What I talk about when I talk about running

Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running was a meditative and light memoir at times resembling a collection of David Sedaris’ short autobiographical insights from When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Murakami compiles together runner’s logs he’s kept of his marathon running and training experiences over his past two and a half decades as a writer. Stories include his decision to quit his Jazz bar to become a full-time writer, and consequently a runner, his daily runs along the Charleston River in Cambridge, ultramarathon in Hokkaido, and triathalon in Honolulu. His short book (only 180 pages) is both simple hearted and philosophical.

In on particularly fitting quote, Haruki writes of his experience running his 62 mile ultramarathon at Lake Saroma, Hokkaido. Towards the middle of the run, muscles aching and barely working from exhaustion, Murakami muses: “The sky and wind, the grass, thre reality, the past, memory – these mean nothing to me. Just getting me past the next three yards – that was my tiny reason for living as a human.” This is one of those short novels I’d pick up again on an airplane or a summer day by the beach, to recollect an optimistic vision of daily life written through the consistent act of running.


Disillusioned by the Actual

In the beginning of M. John Harrison’s 2004 scifi novel Light, Michael Kearney is a 1999 scientist on the verge of learning the “truth,” the nonexistence human of time/space. the novel asks, what is reality for the human when you take away the physics? What happens when anything can exist and reality is a simulation? an excerpt reads:

“Towards the end of things, someone asked Michael Kearney, ‘How do you see yourself spending the first minute of the new millennium ‘ This was their idea of an after-dinner game up in some bleak Midlands town where he had gone to give a talk. Wintry rain dashed at the windows of the private dining room and ran down them in the orange streetlight. Answers followed one another round the table with a luminous predictability, some sly, some decent, all optimistic. They would drink until they fell down, have sex, watch fireworks or the endless sunrise from a moving jet.”

Kearney’s answer: “Driving someone else’s car between two cities I don’t know.”

Perhaps this is the direction postmodern people are moving in today. Technology and discovery is continually challenging us to redefine was aspects of human feeling can continue to exist, grow, and remain “human.” This is a question I’d like to explore through small increments of writing, quotes, art and news through my blog.