20.9.08

what we talk about when we talk about running



the original running man

On our island, running has become the latest fad. This year alone, there has or will be the Nike "Human Race", the Great Eastern Women's race, Adidas' sundown marathon, the super crazy "double marathon", some new balance thing, the annual standard chartered run...and too many for a non-participant to name. It's a little bit more crazy than when yoga and roller blading were the rage, perhaps because running is something you can do alone and is basically a outcome/goal-driven activity, quantifiably by time, speed and distance.

Maybe this is why this book flew completely off the shelves, but Kinokuniya has re-stocked it again.

Now that I got my copy of Murakami's latest "memoir" comprising reflections on running, I wished I had just borrowed a copy from the library. The prose is thin and loose. The premise is indulgent. Or rather, the premise is indulgent because the prose is thin and loose. And perhaps owing to the conversational tone (after all, the title does declare that its talking), Murakami's attempts to link running to writing are not so much contrived as they are pedestrian. And for an activity - running -that requires much discipline, Murakami did not appear to show any in the writing. This is a book that ought to be just a 800 word essay.

If you are a Murakami-fan and finding it hard to believe that he can write something pedestrian? Well, it could be because of the subject matter. To demonstrate, us amps attempted a version of "talking about running", since J is also the running type:

Y: J, you are a runner. You have been running voluntarily since you were young. You enjoy running. You feel ill if you don't run for some time. Tell me, what do you think about when you think about running?
J: Well, mostly, when I run, I think about...
Y: No, not when you are running. What do you think about when you think about running?
J: Erm, slimming down.
Y: So superficial!
J: Well, if you want a more PC term, try "keeping fit".
Y:Keeping fit is too utilitarian. What else do you think about when you run?
J: OK, when I run, sometimes I also think about and get new ideas.
Y [*yawn*] It's late. I think I am going to bed.

2 comments:

T__T said...

this... just inspired me to write about what I think when I run.

anyway thanks for warning people not to buy the book. :D

ampulets said...

well, you may like it enough to buy it. I've met folks who really liked the book :>

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