Tag Archives: Fort Benning

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?

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