Alone With Murukami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

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Silence, I discover, is something you can actually hear. Haruki Murakami

I am spending one day away from my children. First day ever. Sitting here in bed at Portland’s Ace Hotel, I am enjoying the spare furnishings. There is just enough of everything but not too much of anything. It’s great for focusing and clearing one’s mind.

Being alone has always been a necessity for me. Without it, I am snappish and exhausted and reactive. Everything is always on the surface and poking through from underneath.

I am relieved to find out that I am not the only one like this. In What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, author Haruki Murakami speaks of preferring solitude to any company at all stages of his life.

Writing while alone helps me sort things out, or channel the vortex, the whipping words that swirl throughout my body. It purges me of my extremes and allows me to calm and thicken my now cooled skin. Physical movement also works. Mr. Murakami says, for him, running allows him to attain the void.


Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow–as if I had given vent to the stream at the lower end and consequently new fountains flowed into it at the upper.
Henry David Thoreau

In my 20’s, my daily morning stroll would take me through rows of walnut trees and orderly fields overlooking wildness and a winding creek below. A mile in, after struggling to let my thoughts roll over me instead of in me, I would be warmed up and able to walk in the void. Calmed. Refreshed. Invigorated.

Now, walks are more about training the wee ones how to stay on the sidewalk and so forth. Pointing out nature, all that. Pleasant. Still, these days it’s all external busyness and thoughts of to-do lists.

Controlled moving may be my refuge in this season of life. Gymnastics, barre movements, something that reconnects my body and mind. I tend to live in my head, my soul likes to float in my skull, whirring happily/crazily along, but focused movement provides the bridge I need to be in my body completely and for a time to be present. What better way to reconnect mind and body and prepare to write once again?


Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?
Friedrich Nietzsche