Suspend Your Disbelief

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"That adrenaline rush, like an injection to the heart"

A Brand New Day

Here’s a great essay by Joyce Carol Oates on the connections between writing and running. Here’s a taster:

Living for a sabbatical year with my husband, an English professor, in a corner of Mayfair overlooking Speakers’ Corner, I was so afflicted with homesickness for America, and for Detroit, I ran compulsively; not as a respite for the intensity of writing but as a function of writing.

As I ran, I was running in Detroit, envisioning the city’s parks and streets, avenues and expressways, with such eidetic clarity I had only to transcribe them when I returned to our flat, recreating Detroit in my novel “Do With Me What You Will” as faithfully as I’d recreated Detroit in “Them” when I was living there.

What a curious experience! Without the bouts of running, I don’t believe I could have written the novel; yet how perverse, one thinks, to be living in one of the world’s most beautiful cities, London, and to be dreaming of one of the world’s most problematic cities, Detroit. But of course, as no one has yet remarked in this diverse and idiosyncratic series, Writers on Writing, writers are crazy.

Much, much more in the full piece, which is definitely worth a read. (And I can’t help wondering: is this why Oates is so amazingly skinny?!)

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