Thursday, April 20, 2006


Walking out of the apartment and seeing the apple trees blossoming with hundreds and thousands of white, 5-petal flowers, I thought - this might be my last spring in Cambridge.

Not that I ever have any dying passion for marathon, but knowing that it too may be my first and last chance to witness this renowned event in the country, I hopped on the bus and joined the crowd cheering for those who participated in the Boston marathon yesterday. Asian, black, white, Hispanic; young and old, male and female, foreign visitors, overseas travelers, temporary residents, Boston locals. A true mixture of participants, but all with one and only one goal in mind - till the finish line.

If the finish line is something physically visible, would that make it easier for the participants to keep running, knowing that the race is at least a certain number of distance and WILL end somehow, sometime, as long as the feet keep running? What if one neither can see nor knows where the finish line is? How is one supposed to pace oneself, to have a slow start, an steady run in the middle, or a strong and explosive dash at the end?

"If they can do it too ... if that 80-year-old lao3 gong1 gong1 can do it, I can do it too!", my friend J utters, with a beaming smile.

有信心真好。可是,somehow 看到那位努力跑步的老先生,我覺得我當下的心境比他還老。

Murakami Haruki is known for a long-term marathon runner. I of course didn't have the honor to see him dashing through the finish line, but I know for sure that he ran yesterday, as he's run for all the years in the past. Flipping through the notes that I took during his public lecture sometime in last fall, words/phrases as follows grabbed my attention:

"A novelist is someone who dreams while wide awake, someone who determines to dream, to put his dreams together and package them into words."

"The value of fiction lies in the its ability to warm the hearts and minds of people, all over the world. The deep and enduring is the power of narratives. And the sharing of such a feeling is what may help or comfort us in the future ... Not an instant solution, but ... believing in the enduring fictionality."

In the same lecture he too talked about how marathon has helped him develop stronger self-will and persistence for his writing career. He describes ideas like flashlights, showing up at the most random hours, the most random moments. If you don't capture them at the moment, they are gone, forever. They too are like a cluster of wild beasts, and a writer is like the trainer of such beasts. Once the ideas start running, they take on their own life form, and the writer has no choice but to keep writing, jumping on the roller coaster along with these beast-like ideas, following them until they at last surrender under his pen. It's a roller coaster ride that entails no definite duration nor end. But those who stick to the end get to see the dawn of a beautiful piece of narrative coming to life.

Same principle - till the very end.

Even if it's the very last time.

梅ちゃん at 12:45:00 AM



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