Monday, August 24, 2009

I've been inspired. And, as they say, blogging is 90% inspiration, 5% perspiration, 3.8% regurgitation, and the remaining percentage is comprised of potato leek soup and tap dance lessons.

Warning: These figures may be off by as much as 89%

Author Haruki Murakami's novel What I Talk About When I talk About Running has been in my hot little hands as of late, and - while I find it somewhat disjointed at times - it's put a whisper of a thought in my head about writing about distance running. So here I go: My plan is to write an entry/day leading up to Hundred in the Hood on September 26th; nearly one month to the day of the race.

I've noticed a shockingly obvious parallel in my life. As a writer, I've pumped out a few handfuls of short stories, some tragically lame poetry, and have about 4 unfinished screenplays forever living on my hard drive. But writing a novel? Sure, why not? It's only the most painfully long process you can put yourself through as a writer. I mean, why sketch a simple 12" x 12" portrait when you could paint a mural on the side of the Sears Tower?

I completed the first draft of my first novel and am currently rewriting my second draft. This is a little bit like beating yourself over the head with a Louisville Slugger, allowing the wounds to heal, and then beating yourself over the head with a hammer; slightly less painful, but it still leaves you groaning.

So I've tackled/am tackling writing a novel. And running? Why, I could try to train for my fastest road marathon/10k/5k/trip down the block, couldn't I? Instead, I choose to undergo training that can only be described as the most physically and psychologically transforming experience of a lifetime. Again: Why bust out a sub-20 minute 5k when you can drag your sad, sorry ass across mountain terrain for 25-30 hours?

I suppose I enjoy the "process" of both undertakings. The actual 100 mile race, the physical novel? Most excellent to experience, touch, sniff (okay, maybe just the novel). Absolutely. But how I get there is as of much, if not more, importance to me. How could I hand off a book to friends, loved ones, and complete strangers without first getting the idea, and then growing it into an outline, then writing the prose? And how in the HELL could I run 100 miles in a single day without planning, obsessing, recording, um, well, RUNNING all the way to the starting line?

Now, where did I put that hammer...


Gretchen said...

Hmm, I'm beginning to think you and I are extraordinarily alike. Possibly frightening. Definitely cool.
You're going to write an entry a day for the next month? Sweet! I'll be here.

mariko said...

It's all about the journey, grasshopper.

Calamity Theatre said...

Cory Doctorow wrote a cool essay on the building blocks to doing something creative. Not that different from your training schedule. I really dig it.


fatozzig said...

An entry a day? I've been waiting for this. Just don't forget the "final chapter," where you tell us how you kicked serious butt out there at The Hood.

Stephanie said...

I am going to get that book immediately for my book at beach weekend.

I am already hooked, Russ. Please continue after the 100.