Since I had just read Haruki Murakami's voluminous 1Q84 (2011) last year I was unexpectedly delighted when a quote from the book showed up on the big screen in the Oscar-nominated film The Big Short.*
Everyone, deep in their hearts, is waiting for the end of the world to come.
I was shushed by my fellow moviegoers before I could tell them that I had just finished reading another Murakami book as well. Even though What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir (2008) is correctly billed as a book about running (with a fair dose of pain porn) there are passages about his approach to writing. For example, in this excerpt, Murakami decides to become a writer, but it wasn't while he was running:
I can pinpoint the exact moment when I first thought I could write a novel. It was around one thirty in the afternoon of April 1, 1978. I was at Jingu Stadium that day, alone in the outfield drinking beer and watching the game. Jingu Stadium was within walking distance of my apartment at the time, and I was fairly big Yakult Swallows fan. It was a beautiful spring day, not a cloud in the sky, with a warm breeze blowing. There weren't any benches in the outfield seating back then, just a grassy slope. I was lying on the grass, sipping cold beer, gazing up at the sky, and leisurely enjoying the game...In the bottom of the first inning the leadoff batter for the Swallows was Dave Hilton, a young American player new to the team. Hilton got a hit down the left field line. The crack of the back meeting ball right on the sweet spot echoed through the stadium. Hilton easily rounded first and pulled up to second. And it was that exact moment that a thought struck me: You know? I could try writing a novel. I still can remember the wide open sky, the feel of the new grass, the satisfying crack of the bat. Something flew down from the sky at the instant, and whatever it was I accepted it.
I am thinking after I read this, "Was Murakami just hit by a foul ball? Does this have something to do with April Fool's Day?"
Coincidentally Adam McKay who directed The Big Short also directed Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby starring Will Farrell. At the end of Talladega there is a out-take of the characters discussing the difference between the Old South and the New South. For some inexplicable reason, that link is one of the most visited pages on my blog via Google search. Go figure. But I must say the little clip from Talladega, like the Murakami's running book, gives one a glimpse into the creative mind of McKay.
Also, The Big Short book was written by Michael Lewis, who has the touch when it comes of having his books (which aren't huge publishing phenomena like Hunger Games or Harry Potter) being converted into films. Lewis also wrote, Moneyball about the geeky forerunners who used baseball statistics to a competitive advantage, which includes a shout out to one of my favorite baseball writers and statistical visionaries, Bill James. Lewis also wrote The Blind Side, which was made into a movie starring Sandra Bullock. Scenes were filmed on the campus at Agnes Scott College near where I live in Decatur, GA. The Blind Side is the story of Michael Oher who rose from being a homeless teenager to become a highly paid professional football player with the help of a Memphis family. Oher is playing in the upcoming Super Bowl for the Carolina Panthers.