Wednesday, February 10, 2010

You Might be a writer if...pain is inevitable

It's been a while since I've gotten to reflect on the ins and outs of writerdom, mostly because I've been hanging on by the skin of my teeth in my MFA program. There are just not enough hours in the day.

A few emails ago, however, one of my advisors put me onto a short tome written by a fellow traveler in the writing lane,  Haruki Murakami's  What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

I am a dedicated runner, which this advisor knows as we've crossed paths in the wee hours of the morn running during residencies. Although the reading tower is approaching critical heights in my office, I got the book (downloaded it to my Kindle, actually, thus not adding to the teetering tower).

Murakami hooked me right away with these words--"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."

It is?

It is.

In this life, if you live it even a little, pain is inevitable. Doesn't matter if you're running, swimming, have kids, are married, or, god forbid, decide to try art for a living. Pain is inevitable.

That's a liberating thought. I'm not alone. Everybody suffers! Don't get me wrong, I'm so not taking joy in somebody else's pain. Far from it. I'm just relieved that, well, the pain thing, it's...dare I say it, normal.

Yippee! I'm normal! (Have I been waiting an eternity to say that).

Suffering however...

Well, I can either fall into it, or accept the pain and move through it.

Which gets back to the running thing. In running, at least, the longer I work through the pain, the greater the reward when I finish. All I need to do is juxtapose my running attitude to my writing. There will be pain. There is pain. What I do with it, that's the true test.


Pen Pen said...

I'm gonna print out a little of this post! I had a math teacher in high school who had motivational quotes everywhere in his room. At the time, I thought he was a little crazy...or a bad decorator, but now I long to read them. They REALLY DID push me to finish-to do my best. I'm very motivated by words of wisdom. :)
I need motivational quotes written all over my walls!
Ya know-I saw on Cribs once this room in a house that was covered in chalkboards, and it was an "inspiration/brain storming" room. I think there's power in reading things like this each day-it gets you in fight mode. :)

And- That art major thing was freakin hilarious!! :)

Stacy Nyikos said...

You know, my math teacher in high school did the same thing. Must be a math teacher thing!