Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Writing and running

My friend Inga just forwarded me this link to a very interesting interview with Japanese author Haruki Murakami (Wind-up Bird Chronicles, Kafka on the Shore) in the online, English version of Der Spiegel.

He has a book, coming out in German translation next week about the importance of running for his work as a writer. Needless to say, I want to read it! How about that English translation?

Here's a thought-provoking excerpt from the interview:

SPIEGEL: Are you a better writer because you run?

Murakami: Definitely. The stronger my muscles got, the clearer my mind became. I am convinced that artists who lead an unhealthy life burn out more quickly. Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin were the heroes of my youth -- all of them died young, even though they didn't deserve to. Only geniuses like Mozart or Pushkin deserve an early death. Jimi Hendrix was good, but not so smart because he took drugs. Working artistically is unhealthy; an artist should lead a healthy life to make up for it. Finding a story is a dangerous thing for an author; running helps me to avert that danger.

SPIEGEL: Could you explain that?

Murakami: When a writer develops a story, he is confronted with a poison that is inside him. If you don't have that poison, your story will be boring and uninspired. It's like fugu: The flesh of the pufferfish is extremely tasty, but the roe, the liver, the heart can be lethally toxic. My stories are located in a dark, dangerous part of my consciousness, I feel the poison in my mind, but I can fend off a high dose of it because I have a strong body. When you are young, you are strong; so you can usually conquer the poison even without being in training. But beyond the age of 40 your strength wanes, you can no longer cope with the poison if you lead an unhealthy life.

Read the entire interview here

1 comment:

caraf said...

Wow, that's really powerful. Thanks for posting it!