Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Hi folks -- I spent the better part of New Years' Eve reading Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain. An unusual novel, the title is somewhat deceptive.  True, there is plenty of commentary of how to drive in the rain.  But more importantly, it is about life and how to deal with adverse circumstances.The novel's narrater is a dog!  Not any dog, mind you, but a Lab who lives with father Denny, mother Eve, and daughter Zoe in Seattle. Denny is an aspiring race driver. Eve is his wife, who will contract brain cancer and eventually die.  Zoe is their little girl, who grows up while her family goes through trauma that many of us will have to face in one form or another before we leave the earth.
The dog, named appropriately Enzo, has the wisdom of ten philosophy professors. If you read this book, you'll know what I mean. There are many choice lines in this book, but here is my favorite one:

"Consider the drivers who have been taken out of races by snapping their steering wheels, by overcorrecting to extremes and spinning their cars in front of their competitors. A terrible position to find oneself in--
A winner, a champion, will accept his fate.  He will continue with his wheels in the dirt. He will do his best to maintain his line and gradually get himself back on the track when it is safe to do so. Yes, he loses a few places in the race. Yes, he is at a disadvantage. But he is still racing. He is still alive.
The race is long. It is better to drive within oneself and finish the race behind the others than it is to drive too hard and crash.

A successful life is about balance, control, endurance, instinct, and relaxed hands at the wheel.

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