First of all, the other night I listened to Eats, Shoots and Leaves on tape as I was falling asleep (someone had it lying around the house), a super witty book about the power of punctuation that made me ashamed to have ever spliced a comma. Now, for some reason, when I read my own writing to myself, my voice sounds like Lynne Truss, making life just a little bit funnier. I’m sure it will wear off soon.
Shobha and I just signed up for the gym; we’ll see how long that lasts. I had to actually pay for it, so it better. Things taken for granted while at WVU: free amazing rec center, free busses and PRT (when it worked), the glorious downtown library, computers that worked and a campus that stayed open past 5pm. Not that I want to go to the Brookes library from midnight-2am, but I’d like to have the option thanks. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love it here and all, but they make you pay for it (pay an arm and a leg at that). So yes, this gym membership will be used. We went for the first time tonight. Exact same equipment as at WVU, minus an Olympic sized swimming pool. I guess you can’t have everything.
This is the first year (I think) since making New Year’s resolutions that I have not made one about either getting in shape or taking better care of myself, that kind of thing. This is because, if I’m being honest (which I am), those resolutions are usually the first to go out the window every year. It’s not that I take awful care of myself or anything. I’m…you know, whatever. Average. But when you come to the realization that your parents are definitely in better shape than you are, it’s time to get off the couch. Metaphorically speaking (I’m sitting on my bed).
I read a book last semester that I did not like very much called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami about his life as a writer and a runner. First of all, I didn’t like it because he ripped the title from Raymond Carver’s short story, What I Talk About When I Talk About Love, which I adore, but I later found out that he got permission from Carver’s widow. So I guess that’s ok. But still, I did not really like the book, one reason being that he said that being a writer is unhealthy. Here is exactly what he says:
“When we set off to write a novel, when we use writing to create a story, like it or not a kind of toxin that lies deep down in all humanity rises to the surface. All writers have come face-to-face with this toxin and, aware of the dangers involved, discover a way to deal with it, because otherwise no creative activity in the real sense can take place . . . No matter how much you spin it, this isn’t a healthy activity.”
Come on man, I don’t even know what you’re talking about. If you think writing, or creating a story, is a toxic experience, go away and don’t do it. I have heard from some reputable sources that his fiction books are actually really good, so I’ll try to save my ultimate judgment till I read some. But really dude, not helping your case. I am not diggin’ Murakami the person.
I just finished another book yesterday for my course called This Is Not About Me by Janice Galloway. First of all, yes it is. It’s a memoir. Secondly, I was not a huge fan of the book over all, but look what she had to say about reading (this is turning into the blogging equivalent of a clip show):
“Books were anti-social, my mother said and I knew what she meant. To read them properly, you had to ignore other people. Books made you unselfconscious—it was their chief delight. In bed at night, open to talking trees and never-ending ice-creams and all sorts of daft tosh, you could believe what you liked. The words had shape and order and did not change their tune according to the weather. Books made solitude into intimate company and they did it best in private. I’d no more have read in the living room than bent over and touched my toes naked.”
This, I actually do like, because it’s so true. I especially like the bit, “Books made you unselfconscious—it was their chief delight.” First, I like the idea that books find delight in being read. I mean, of course they do right? Why wouldn’t they? And the unselfconscious part of that too. Nothing can touch you when you’re reading a good book. Not people or weather or bad feelings or low self-esteem or anything. When you read a good book you are in it, nowhere else, living it and the book loves it, and I love that.
So, the two most important things a writer can do, says everyone, is to read a lot and write a lot. Both every single day. So, if I were to listen to Murakami, and kept Galloway at heart, here is what my future is looking like. I’m going to be an anti-social, sickly hermit who lives all alone in the woods, lost in daydream worlds created by books, whose body is rotting away due to the toxic activity of writing. Sounds lovely right? I just threw in that part about living in the woods for kicks. Where else would a poorly recluse go to shut out the world and make ‘art?’
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I need to go to the gym. And I am, with Shobha, as much as I can because I bought the membership.
MAJOR PS. Go see Inception if you haven’t already. AND then buy the soundtrack. Old Hans has done it again, it’s fantastic. Just saying. Do it.