I started writing this post on the first day of the new year and the new decade. Sitting in a quiet and empty house after two weeks of family festivities, I found myself with the desire to set up resolutions as well as a reluctance. Visits to other blogs and casual conversations showed me that I was not alone. The aversion to making resolutions is due in large part to how often they cannot be kept. Yet something about a passing of a time pauses us, causing us to reflect, and urges us to do something about what the introspection reveals.
So I thought, and wrote, and deleted, and wondered, and thought more, then read some blogs, and wondered more.
Now here I am, toward the end of January, and still have not corralled my thoughts into a meaningful whole. What is a writer to do?
Read, of course.
My brother-in-law loaned me a book by novelist Haruki Murakami: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running when he visited over the holidays. (Here's an interesting interview at The Salon.) Murakami, an avid runner who runs at least a marathon a year, recorded his thoughts on running in this book. Being a novelist as well, he's included his experiences on writing as well.
Having been as far away from a runner as a person with healthy legs can be, I would not have picked up this book. Yet it is here that I found a passage that helped me deal with my dilemma.
Here he is, talking about how he started with this book:
It's been some ten years since I first had the idea of a book about running, but the years went by with me trying out one approach after another, never actually settling down to write it. Running is sort of a vague theme to begin with, and I found it hard to figure out exactly what I should say about it.
At a certain point, though, I decided that I should just write honestly about what I think and feel about running and stick to my own style.
One thing I noticed was that writing honestly about running and writing honestly about myself are nearly the same thing.
No need to strive for pithy sayings that capture universal truths; no need to shed light on Life; no need to encompass everything I feel. Just write honestly.
Over the next few weeks, i will be posting thoughts about my 2009 and hopes about 2010, maybe throw in a few more Murakami quotes and see where I end up. I hope you'll chime in and let me know how your year is going.