I am starting to read What I talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Marakumi. I put down Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott after getting into the specifics of character and plot. I’m not much for advice about what makes good writing. Maybe I should heed some advice. Both books are about writing: why they write. What they think about writing. How they approach writing. Or maybe they’re about discipline and continuity. I can go back and forth: is this about writing as metaphor for living, or running as metaphor for writing, or running as metaphor…you get the idea. Or maybe each activity informs another and writing about writing is just writing about writing and writing about running is just writing about running.
So writing as a discipline is just a discipline and after there is something to show for the time and energy spent: something bad or something good or neither. I read Marakumi talk about finishing a run or completing his day’s writing. He describes ending his run at a point of “exhilaration” that can “carry over” to the following day’s run. He see’s writing this way.
He makes it sound so easy. Myself, I am running just to keep it going so that it doesn’t get harder for when I can feel the love again. Right now, I feel tired and a little groggy and slow.
So to write about continuity or write about running and continuity poses a tricky problem today when I’m feeling neither energy nor focus. So I need to read Murakami to the end to see if he has those days when he doesn’t feel the endorphin rush. Maybe he doesn’t. Maybe there is something in his training as a Japanese man that give shim consistency, like a violin that never goes out of tune.
Today I’m just creaky and whiney. I’s not so much one foot in front of the other today as it one leg dragging the other.
Last night we had two of Henry’s closest friends over for a sleepover. It was one long party and it just may have been too much of a party and I’m a little hung over. We took all the boys to a Richmond Kicker’s—the local pro soccer team—game. They were treated to pizza and hotdogs and every boy got a white Kicker’s t-shirt which the players signed following their rout of the Antigua Barracuda. After the game the boys ran onto the field to join a crowd of kids and parents and a few players with their families. The boys, I just learned, were competing for who could get the most signatures. I just wanted them to have a good time. One boy didn’t like the deserts we brought so I took him up to the concession and bought him m+m’s. Probably a big choice.
The pool we belong to was open until 10 pm to celebrate the start of summer vacation from school. The boys had 20 minutes to play before the lifeguards blew the whistle for adult lap swimming. Both moms’ texted me to ask if their’ boys were holding out okay. I didn’t se any sign of fatigue and relented when they begged for Nutty Buddies to finish off the night. I was regretting that at 2 am when Henry came in and woke me up to say his friend wouldn’t go to sleep. They were talking about watching a movie on the iPad and making shadow puppets with the flashlight one boy brought as insurance in case he was afraid to go to sleep in the dark.
Murakami writes about accomplishing what you set out to do as a runner, how the goals are internally driven. He claims to be competitive, but not so much against other runners. At first I thought, “well lucky him”. But then I had to see some truth in this. Right now, I just want to run to maintain discipline with the hope that it can become something good some day. A new race to train for. A more balanced mental state. Aside from me: a more responsible child in Henry. ANd why do I write? Just as a promise to myself and because it may be one of the few things I do that I don’t judge (constantly). Maybe I can teach myself to run this way.
I’m going to make the mulberry pie I promised Don and Henry, with the mulberries they collected yesterday. Then I’m going to go for a jog.