In which Haruki Murakami describes my (almost) perfect day

It seems improbable that a total stranger can capture your perfect day*, but here it is. In The Creative Brain on Exercise, an excerpt from Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running does just that.

When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4:00 a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit, and listen to some music. I go to bed at 9:00 p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long–six months to a year–requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.

I was struck dumb for a few moments after reading that. How on earth could a stranger describe my perfect day? Exercise? Writing? Reading? A little music? All wrapped up in early to bed and early to rise?

Almost perfect.

I say almost perfect, because I would love an extra hour of sleep. Back in the day, when I was in the Army (and specifically, Airborne School) I swore that if I didn’t have to, I’d never get up at four in the morning.

I remember standing there, in formation, bleary-eyed, already sweating, since this was Fort Benning, Georgia in July. The black hats would walk up and down the chalks, deeming us unworthy. I remember thinking: when the halcyon days of civilian-hood finally arrive, I am NOT waking up at four freaking a.m.

Guess what I do now? Yes, I wake up at four in the morning. At least on week days.  I would love to wake up at five. Five would be awesome.

And I’d have to move the exercise part around. I’m a morning workout kind of person (see above re: the Army). I might even be radical and split the day–some cardio and weights in the morning and karate in the evening with the kids.

Yeah, I know. Radical. Then I might go home and drink some green tea, because I’m crazy like that.

I do suggest that if you create (and who doesn’t) that you check out the article. Barring illness (and a time I was really sick in 2009), I exercise every day. It’s as important to my writing as my actual writing time is.

* No, really, this is my dream day. Does anyone have a duller life than I do?


Filed under Musings, Writing

2 responses to “In which Haruki Murakami describes my (almost) perfect day

  1. anno

    I remember reading once that Georgia O’Keefe attributed her incredible productivity to routines she claimed were so boring no one else could stand to live that way. Any parallels here? Probably just coincidence…

  2. I’m convinced of the connection between exercise and involved cognitive activities such as writing. Wanting to write better forms a significant part of my motivation to focus on my fitness.

    Here’s a good article on the subject:

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