Saturday, 3 August 2013

Running and writing

A few years ago Haruki Murakami, published ‘What I talk about when I talk about running’. This was an insane treat for me, my favourite author writing about my two favourite hobbies – running and writing. It’s as if Half Man Half Biscuit had written an album about drinking real ale at an Essex cricket match.

There does seem to be some inexplicable overlap between running and writing. There is something of the same mentality required, the need to shut off the rest of the world and focus on putting one foot in front of the other, or one word in front of the other, both processes repeated over and over.

Both are hard work posing as ‘a fun hobby’. Both take a certain type of bloody-minded commitment, especially when the winter minimums of 6k and a story a week are replaced by the serious stuff – 10 mile runs and the next bloody novel.

And, for the amateur runner/writer, there’s no medal waiting at the finish line, the critics don’t lob Booker prizes at me every time I finish a novel, the only reward is the satisfaction of completing the run/finishing the story.

Both are essential parts of soul-nurturing. Life without running and writing would simply be odd, incomplete, not life as I know it.

Mrs Oblong often quotes Tony Wilson’s comment that ‘In doing it you find out why you do it’. Well I’ve been running and writing for over twenty years now, and I couldn’t explain why I do either, other than to say it’s just what I do.

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