Jogging The Mind

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 28 2012 @ 3:32pm

Claire Kelley describes the connection between running and epiphanies, especially for writers:

After talking about nutrition, the workout schedule, and other practical details, [the running group leader] concluded by telling the group that after each long run, she is going to encourage everyone to share epiphanies they have while running. Everyone looked quizzical. “I have an epiphany while running all the time,” she explained. “Like the time I realized I needed to get a new job, or came up with the perfect age to have a child. Maybe you’ll realize how to end the novel you’ve been working on.”

I knew exactly what she meant. James Joyce was fascinated by epiphanies—times when something would inspire a deep realization, a clear and dramatic moment of understanding.  He attempted to record and collect his own ephiphanies as fragments of writing, but he would also use them as literary devices. In The Dead, Gretta and Gabriel’s ephiphanies are inspired by sensory experiences—hearing a song,  a touch, feeling the cold in the room.